As shepherd of the universal Church his concerns extended to every aspect of pastoral life and mission. Putting a unique stamp on the papacy, he used his immense gifts and tireless energy to bring the person and message of Christ to every human heart, to advance the dignity and rights of every human person and culture, and to further the renewal of the Church called for by the Second Vatican Council.
His efforts on behalf of lay ministry affirmed and carried forward the ground-breaking teaching of the Council. Provisions in the 1983 Code of Canon Law, for example, gave new attention to the rights and obligations of the lay faithful, and opened new doors for lay involvement in Church ministry. His 1988 post-synodal apostolic exhortation stands as a major statement on the distinct vocation and mission of the laity. He welcomed the development of new lay movements and associations. And his many addresses, both in Rome during ad limina visits and on his travels, frequently encouraged the full and active participation of the lay faithful in the Church's mission and ministry, above all in secular society as well as in the life and activities of the local Church.
With clergy-laity relations in this post-conciliar era developing in a context of new pastoral realities, emerging forms of collaboration, ongoing theological reflection and continuing ambiguities, John Paul II continually sought to clarify and strengthen the distinct and complementary roles of each while affirming the dignity of both.
A tireless advocate for the dignity of all human life from conception until natural death, he gave especially eloquent witness to that fundamental truth during his last years, through his own personal illness and suffering endured with great dignity. He left us in this a powerful example of firm faith and confident hope. We are deeply grateful for this, and for his entire life in ministry - a life of self-giving dedication and unwavering service to the Lord, the Church, and the people of the world.
May all who serve in lay ministry find in his example new encouragement to grow in holiness, to be open and responsive to the needs of all, and to promote with conviction the dignity, apostolate and ministry of the laity in all its forms.
Let us pray for our Holy Father. May he rest in peace. May the Lord show him mercy. May he now hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant," and enter into the joy of the Lord.