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St. John Paul II

St. John Paul II

The future Pope John Paul II, Karol Wojtyła (1920–2005) the Servant of God, is known as the Great and was born in Wadowice on 18th May. He attended secondary school in the same town and moved to Krakow in 1938 together with his father. There he started studies in Polish Philology at the Jagiellonian University. The outbreak of the second world war, the death of his father, and his deep piety brought about his decision to become a priest. In 1942, the young Wojtyła joined the Clandestine Theological Seminary in Krakow and was ordained priest on 1st November 1946. Subsequently, he went to Rome where he continued his studies until 1948. Returning to Poland in the same year, he was sent for seven months to Niegowić, a small parish in the Pogorze Wielickie hills. Soon he became one of the pioneers of the “tourist” pastorship for youth at St Florian’s Parish in Krakow. In the years that followed he went walking and canoeing in the mountains with young people, continuing his theological studies at the same time. Consecrated a bishop in 1958, Karol Wojtyła actively participated in the preparation work preceding the Second Vatican Council and in the Council itself. After the death of Archbishop Eugeniusz Baziak (1963), Wojtyła assumed his place as the Metropolitan Bishop of Krakow, and four years later was promoted by Pope Paul VI to become Cardinal of Krakow. He quickly became an authority in the church, known in Poland and beyond its borders: a philosopher, thinker, theologian, and an excellent administrator of his diocese. Elected Pope on 16th October 1978, Karol Wojtyła assumed the name of John Paul II. His pontifi cate, which lasted until his death on 2 April 2005, is considered the longest after those of St Peter and Blessed Pius IX. Having made 104 pastoral trips to all the inhabited continents, including eight pilgrimages to his homeland, Wojtyła was the fi rst pilgrim pope. As John Paul II, he frequently emphasised the importance of ecumenism, and was the fi rst pope to visit a Jewish synagogue and a Moslem mosque. Besides plenty of other documents, he published as many as 14 encyclicals, many of which were turning points for the Roman Catholic Church. Moreover, he was a poet and playwright, his best known literary work being The Roman Triptych, published in 2003, and his best known theatrical play Our God’s Brother (Brat naszego Boga) was based on the life of St Adam Chmielowski – Brother Albert. The process of beatifi cation began immediately after Karol Wojtyła, Pope John Paul II, died, and he is rapidly becoming an object of devotion in many countries of the world. Naturally, this is most widespread in Poland. The beatification of John Paul II took place during a Solemn Mass on 1 May 2011 at Saint Peter’s Square in Rome. The canonisation was held on 27 April 2014 in Rome.

 

 

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