Contents

Dedication
Introduction

Introduction

Believe in miracles they really happen

God intervenes and works within us each day to guide us and fulfill His ultimate plan. Unseen through our eyes, God remains ever-present. The experiences and events shared in this book offer a first-hand account of how close God really is and how he can manifest His presence in our daily lives.

…While in Colorado in 1993, it was reported, that each evening he adjourned to a garden to pray. Looking back, I believe he prayed to God for help in caring for his flock. Finally, I have come to accept the possibility that my partner and I became part of God’s answer to the Pope’s prayers.

I also believe my thoughts and prayers to Pope John Paul and to God, for help and guidance as we answered the call to assist, were answered in a most astonishing way. The only term to adequately describe what took place is the word miracle. But, I’ll tell you what happened and let you decide for yourself…

The Story

Part I is an adventure story in and of itself. Beginning with the back story it provides you with an understanding of the characters involved by exposing the events and their activities leading up to the Pope’s arrival. Taking what had been submitted to the Vatican, I expanded the factual narration (film at 11 summary approach) into a descriptive story, including many of the individuals participating and the who, what, where, and how everything came about, without embellishment, and with a good dose of language sanitizer. Most of the names of the characters involved and still living have been changed.

Part II provides you with a ringside seat to the astounding events that take place, when the Call (from God) comes. For us to help take care of the Pope’s flock of 20,000 kids marching to meet their beloved Pope. Illustrating the beauty, the love, and mystery of how God intervenes and works with and among us each day to fulfill His ultimate plan. The story portrays what I believe is an incredible relationship between God and his humble servant, Pope John Paul II. Written originally as a factual description of events, and submitted to the Vatican in support of the efforts to canonize Pope John Paul II, I suddenly realized during the process, (and maybe touched by the hand of God Himself) the time had come to expand and share this story with the world.

My intent is to tell you my story, about my journey, and about how my involvement in Pope John Paul II’s WYD-8 impacted my life, and the lives of those participating around me...

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Preface

Preface

Drafted To Serve: Pope John Paul II - A Saint - Making Miracles Happen is a true story. Chronicling the actual actions and experiences of my partner and I as they took place in 1992 and 1993. It is about the Spirit of God, and His relationship with Pope John Paul II, and His love for that individual, as God journeyed with him on his travels to spread the word of God’s love of all.

At the time, my partner, TP, and I made a pact and agreed to tell no one our incredible story. Given what we experienced, we decided to keep silent. The events were unexplainable to the logical mind… So, we made the pact to tell no one but the Church of our experiences.

During 2011 and early 2012, several news stories reported that the Vatican was having difficulty finding sufficient miracles attributable to Pope John Paul II to meet the requirements to bestow sainthood. In time, I became motivated to help the Church by providing a written account of the miracles I had witnessed, and attribute to Pope John Paul II’s intercession, in answer to my prayers. The resulting document, an earlier draft of Part 2 of this story, was sent to the Vatican in February 2013. In May 2013, in an effort to expand and more completely clarify the unique nature of the events, and the characters involved, a second and expanded Part 2 document was sent to the Vatican, which included a draft of the first three chapters of Part 1 along with my sworn affidavit to the truth of the content.

About six weeks later on June 30, 2013 Pope Francis announced that Pope John Paul II would be canonized officially on April 27, 2014. Coincidence? After the announcement, I felt compelled to complete the story in Part 1 and share the entire story with the world…

…Instead of an engraved invitation, for over a year God helped me muddle through a series of activities and experiences leading me to exactly where He needed me to be. Ready, willing, and able to assist Pope John Paul II tend to his flock for a day, with no clue, at the time, He was involved or what He had in mind for me.

Join me, as the story unfolds, and the Pope makes miracles happen… to help thousands of Pilgrims complete their journey to see their beloved Pope…

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Part I:
The Pope is Coming!
Chapter 1: The Back Story:
Fifteen years after World Youth Day 8 (1993) we are called to tell our story
Chapter 2: And the Story Begins
… 30,000 people are expected to show up …
…And that’s how the idea …was born.
Chapter 3: Where to Start
“… I have a very good friend, Tommy Tomato.”
As …, he started to chuckle…

Chapter 3

Where To Start?

“…I have a very good friend, Tommy Tomato.” As …, he started to chuckle…

Weeks later, I was frustrated and feeling guilty. I’d called just about everyone I knew in LA and Vegas trying unsuccessfully to find a lead to a professional agent for Paula. My frustration was amplified by the fact that I hadn’t been able to begin formulating and creating a vision in my mind of a concert or how to do one. I sat there fuming. And then thinking, Hey Lord, I could use a little help here, I can’t seem to find the answers I’m seeking.

Then suddenly, surprise, I answered the phone to hear, “JD, how yah all doin’?”

I thought I recognized that very Texas Southern drawl, when he continued, “It’s Mark Barros from Las Vegas. Have you got a second?”

With a bit of laughter, I replied, “Mark, I’m doing great, how you all doin’?”…

…So I replied to Mark, “You bet, I’ll come. What does the schedule look like?”

He responded, “If you can come in early Thursday morning, I’ll pick you up at the airport and fill you in. We can meet my friends for lunch, and get acquainted before the meeting. Afterwards, we’ll head over to the MGM, play around for a while, and then go to dinner. I want you to stay at my house as my guest.”

I answered, “Done deal! Sounds like fun! See you Thursday.”

Good Thing I keep the Good Lord on speed dial. I thought, Amazing, the lead I needed.

After a late Friday night of casino hopping, we agreed to head over to our favorite breakfast spot on Tropicana Boulevard in the morning. Once our orders of eggs benedict arrived at the table, I opened the conversation with a new topic, the papal visit…

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Chapter 4: What's Next?
…“Holy smokes! You ain’t messing around are you.”…

Chapter 4

What’s Next?

…“Holy smokes! You ain’t messing around are you.”…

…The Governor’s office provided me with a host of names and phone numbers of state agencies and contact info to pursue, which consumed the remainder of the day, as I made call after call in pursuit of interest and help in finding a venue to hold the concert.

I had fast become accustomed to going out on the front steps of the building around 5 PM every evening after we shut down to just sit with a cold drink, in the shade of the building, and contemplate the day’s events, while enjoying the view of the sun setting behind the mountains to the south and west. It was just a nice opportunity to have some quiet time as I waited for rush-hour traffic to die down before heading home. It also gave me an opportunity to meet a couple of the other tenants as they left. Except for this one guy, who always seemed to be coming in rather than leaving at days end. He would pull up in his old pickup truck, parking next to the old school bus, and sometimes go inside the school bus, and then lock everything up as he headed into the building. A tall lanky gentleman about 45, my age I guessed, always dressed in jeans, western shirt, cowboy boots and hat. It seemed like the bigger and the shinier the belt-buckle, the nicer and fancier the cowboy hat became, as he came and went. We would nod and/or exchange greetings from time to time as he passed by.

One evening I was running late. Night had settled in and I decided to stay at the office to finish up. It was time to take a break, so I headed over to the convenience store behind the building to get a cold soda and munchies. There was a nice moon out and the streetlights made the short walk pleasant. Returning, walking on the shoulder of the road, after passing a small grove of trees that separated the building from the store, movement up on the second floor balcony on the back side of the building caught my eye. I hadn’t noticed before, but apparently each office on the second floor of the building had a small patio. There on the corner patio closest to the street stood a man, buck naked, holding a pail over his head, pouring water over himself as he stood in a larger steel pail about two foot deep. Mesmerized by the sight, I had to stop for a moment just to ensure my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me. Lo and behold, he apparently had a bar of soap in his hand and was washing himself down, then picking up one of two smaller pails to pour water over himself to rinse off. Just amazing, I thought. We must have some pretty crazy tenants in this building.

I decided to sit out on the steps and enjoy the cool evening as I ate my sandwich and downed the soda. It was about 9pm, the stars were out and the air was still, when I heard the building door open behind me. I turned to see the cowboy coming out with a gallon jug of wine and a large plastic cup.

“Mind if I join you?” He said, smiling.

“Sure, pull up a seat, make yourself at home.” I replied, wondering if this was the nutcase taking a shower in a bucket on the building patio. He unscrewed the cap on his jug of wine. Holding the plastic cup between his knees, and the jug with both hands, he began to fill his cup. Once the cap was screwed back on the jug, he extended his hand to me and said, “Hi there, my name’s TP,…

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Chapter 5: The Ace of Clubs is Lost and the Queen of Hearts Found
… I had imagined him as a partner, my Ace of Clubs,
to match up with my Ace of Spades,… With a pair of Aces like that,…
Chapter 6: A Good Plan - For a Busy Week
…the number of kids coming is going to be 40 to 50,000 and this number may grow larger.
Chapter 7: California Here We Come!
…there are a number of great entertainers that could be designated the headliner on the list. But,…
Chapter 8: Pope John Paul, I need Your Help
John Paul, it seems I’ve gotten myself in a bit of a pickle here,
I really need your help …

Chapter 8

Pope John Paul, I Need Your Help

…I don’t see how I’m going to find a 50 piece orchestra … and …

I leaned back in my chair, gazing out the window trying desperately to assemble, in some order, all the thoughts going through my mind. Thankfully, I hadn’t yet mentioned Sinatra’s name to anyone involved in the Folsom deal. Words began to form in my mind and I heard myself silently say, Lord, John Paul, it seems I’ve gotten myself in a bit of a pickle here. I really need your help to find an orchestra. I have to agree with Bill, I don’t see how I’m going to find a 50 piece orchestra and pull this off, please help. Thanks for listening. Amen!

Hmmm, I thought, did I just pray to the Pope? He’s still alive! Gee, I wonder, can you do that? Is there some kind of heavenly communication system that will deliver the message to him? Oh well, let’s see what happens. It’s a much larger conundrum than I have time for right now.

Strangely, I felt relieved and managed to put the chaos in my mind aside, and returned to the mountain of work on my desk when the intercom sounded. “JD, it’s Richard Markett. He would like to talk to you.”

“Fine, what line?”

“No, he’s standing here in front of my desk.” …

What is A Miracle?

“To me, seeing what happened, a miracle, right before your eyes is one thing,…

I think it’s an expression of God’s joy in participating in our lives….

…“Too many times, we all, everyone, asks for a miracle. When in fact it’s nothing more than a request for help to pound a square peg into a round hole, which I think – well, is akin to filling out the wrong form at the local government office…

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Chapter 9: Life: Can Be - Just Crazy Sometimes!
working for the Inspectors General’s Office undercover,
with the codename Archibald …
Chapter 10: Reaching for The Stars – Got a Couple!
…To reach the unreachable star
Chapter 11: Crises Abound…
...JD, we have a problem I don’t think we can overcome…
Chapter 12: Blindsided!
Them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye …

Part II:
The Pope Has Arrived and His 1993 Miracles are Revealed!
Chapter 13: Overcoming Failure!
…“TP, you still interested in trying to make a few bucks on the Pope’s visit? I have an idea!”

Chapter 13

Overcoming Failure!

…“TP, you still interested in trying to make a few bucks on the Pope’s visit? I have an idea!”

Walking out of the landlord’s office, August 10th Tuesday afternoon, I noticed TP sitting in the reception area. I walked down the stairs and through the lobby to the front doors, blocked open to let in the fresh air of a late summer afternoon. I sat down on the front steps to just think and contemplate my situation. After a while I heard footsteps come down the stairs. Turning, I saw TP coming through the doorway…

…Suddenly, in midsentence an idea started forming in my mind and the questions were; was the idea worth a shit and would TP partner up with me? So I blurted out, “TP, you still interested in trying to make a few bucks on the Pope’s visit? I have an idea!”

In a somewhat dejected voice, he responded, “Well, being flat broke at the moment, my answer would have to be yes. What have you got in mind?”

Lighting up a cigarette to buy some time to formulate my opening question, thinking, this is insane, I can’t believe I’m even thinking about this??

“TP, did you ever set up a lemonade stand when you were a kid?” Not waiting for his answer, I continued, “Here’s what I’m thinking. The last day of the Pope’s visit is Sunday, when he’s going to serve Mass and give his final message to the kids during his sermon at Cherry Creek Park out by the dam, not downtown. Now the problem is how do you get 30,000 people from downtown out to Cherry Creek Park?

“I don’t know, and apparently neither did the brains behind this deal. So finally, they decided to have a forced march and simply have everyone hike out to the park. Last night on the TV News, they said event officials had examined every possible mode of transport to get all the people from the stadium to the park and couldn’t find a better solution. There’s an estimated minimum of 20,000 people showing up at Bear’s Stadium Saturday morning. And now they’ll have to march all the way to Cherry Creek Park, hopefully before nightfall, to celebrate Mass Sunday morning and hear the Pope’s final sermon.

“They’re gonna have to march from the stadium to the park utilizing the Cherry Creek bicycle path. That’s like 20 plus miles on a hot August afternoon. They’re forecasting midday temperatures over 100°.

“Being an ex-marine, I’m sure you’ll agree with me, this is going to be an ordeal for all these people who have probably never walked or marched five continuous miles, let alone 20 miles. They’ve had no training for this, and in the heat they’re gonna get dehydrated and won’t be able to carry enough water.

“Anyway,” the old brain was cooking as my words rolled out one after another, “my idea is to find…

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Chapter 14: The Fools Mission
TP, you pony up to the bar, and tell him what great guys we are and we’ll see what happens.
Chapter 15: The Day of Miracles Begins
…with Police HQ set up right in the center of
the lemonade stand.
Chapter 16: The Day of Miracles Begins
…smack dab in the middle of police command headquarters, and still not in handcuffs.
Chapter 17: First-Aid
TP, For the want of a Band-Aid,
the First-Aid Station could be lost,…
Chapter 18: The Pilgrims Arrive!
More and more people followed suit,
grabbing a soda and stopping to take a break

Chapter 18

The Pilgrims Arrive!!

More and more people followed suit, grabbing a soda and stopping to take a break

TP and I jumped up in concern, and ran to the path as we heard the cry again. It was getting louder! “The Pilgrims Are Coming! The Pilgrims Are Coming!” As we stopped on the path at the tree, we could see it was Bobby, running up the path as fast as he could, arms flailing wildly. Shouting over and over, “The Pilgrims Are Coming! The Pilgrims Are Coming!” Around the big tree trunk he came right up to us, out of breath but grinning from ear to ear, thrilled he could be the one to announce their arrival.

I bellowed, “Great job, Bobby, great job!” Then said, “Now keep going, run right past the policemen over to where your mother’s sitting and keep hollering all the way! After you give your mom a big hug you can come back over here and we’ll get ready to go to work, okay?” Off he went nodding happily and hollering all the way.

Steve was already standing over at the edge of the path with a handful of his crosses in one hand and an orange soda in the other. TP had moved over to the second table as I was pulling out an array of different flavored sodas, setting them on the table so they would be close at hand, with a coffee can for contributions nearby. It was about high noon as the first pilgrim passed the tree…

…TP had been correct in his assessment early this morning, when he elaborated on his idea to turn the berm and the frame of the bus into an ice chest to preserve the ice. I found it really interesting how it turned out. The broken ice chunks slid easily across the plastic bags as the ice continued sliding out from under the bus. I could see Bobby’s small hands grab the chunks and heard it land in the bottom of the plastic pail. The plan was good. I began hammering away in front of the axle while at the same time, TP was using his crowbar to hammer and pry at the other end of the enormous ice cube we had created, sliding his successes, one after another, out from under the bus to Bobby. After a while I was actually getting quite chilled…

…Nodding my head and smiling, I replied, “Of course officer, no problem. Consider it done. In the meantime, would you like to take some cold sodas over to your crew?”

He answered, “Well, your offer, it’s very nice, but only if you’re sure you have enough… The heat has really been tough on us over there, with no shade or cold refreshments; it would be real nice - thank you.”

While he was talking I had turned around and grabbed the two ice pails and was extending them to him as he finished speaking. I then said, “Here, take these and fill’em up to carry ‘em. Please, take as many as you need.

TP and I settled into a couple of the folding lawn chairs to rest and chat while we waited for the onslaught we knew was yet to come. TP confirmed my estimate of about 4,000 pilgrims passing by so far. For some unknown reason I was no longer concerned or worried about the financial aspects of our adventure.

…so many people at one time who were unquestionably, totally focused and committed to their mission to reach the park, to see and hear their beloved Pope John Paul II. To a certain extent, I envied them, as I could not understand their motivation and extreme efforts just to see and hear this individual, John Paul. I wondered if I had actually missed out on something, something I did not know or understand, like they did, which seemed to fill them with such joy and happiness. I couldn’t make sense of it or figure it all out.

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Chapter 19: The Fourth Wave
and this was what it was all about.

Chapter 19

The Fourth Wave

It suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks, this is why we were REALLY here,
and this was what it was all about.

TP and I sat underneath the big tree resting in its shade, chatting aimlessly as we continued to wait for the next wave of pilgrims. It seemed like they were way past-due. They should’ve been here already. Yet they still had not arrived. We were ready for them…

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Chapter 20: Emergency...
… it was time to give God an Emergency call
with high hopes He would help…
Chapter 21: Pope John Paul II's Mass
"I came that they might have life,
and have it abundantly" (Jn 10: 10).
Chapter 22: TLC
…if you believe in God,
let’s just consider it some kind of small miracle…
Epilogue

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