John Paul II served as Pope for almost 27 years. During this time, he continually reached out to young people, inspiring them to dedicate their lives to a higher cause. Sri Chinmoy had five audiences with the Pope. During his second audience, the Pope said to him, "God bless you and your divine activities."
Sri Chinmoy's fourth audience with the Pope took place on 31 May 1995 in St Peter's Square, just before the Pope's weekly mass for 15,000 people. This time Sri Chinmoy requested the Pope to bless the torch and he explained to the Holy Father that the torch would be carried by runners and schoolchildren in seventy countries. The Pope gave a special blessing and then, speaking in Italian, said to the assembled crowd, "I salute the runners of the Peace Run, who are carrying a torch as a testimony to peace through the streets of the world."