Saint John Paul II

Feast Day: October 22nd

Saint John Paul II
Timeline
21st Century

LIFE

Saint John Paul II (Karol Józef Wojtyła) was born in Wadowice, Poland, on 18 May 1920. He was nine years old when he received his First Communion and eighteen when he received the Sacrament of Confirmation. After completing high school in Wadowice, he enrolled in the Jagellonian University of Krakow in 1938. His parents and brother all passed away before his 21st birthday.

When the occupying Nazi forces closed the University in 1939, Karol worked (1940-1944) in a quarry and then in the Solvay chemical factory to earn a living and to avoid deportation to Germany. Feeling called to the priesthood, he began his studies in 1942 in the clandestine major seminary of Krakow. After the war, Karol continued his studies in the major seminary, newly reopened, and in the school of theology at the Jagellonian University, until his priestly ordination in Krakow on 1 November 1946. Father Wojtyła was then sent by Cardinal Sapieha to Rome, where he attained a doctorate in theology (1948). He wrote his dissertation on faith as understood in the works of Saint John of the Cross. While a student in Rome, he spent his vacations exercising pastoral ministry among Polish emigrants in France, Belgium and Holland.

A few years after being appointed a Bishop, Wojtyła took part in the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and made a significant contribution to the drafting of the Constitution Gaudium et Spes. He also took part in the five assemblies of the Synod of Bishops prior to the start of his Pontificate.

On 16 October 1978, Cardinal Wojtyła was elected Pope and on 22 October he began his ministry as universal Pastor of the Church.

Pope John Paul II made 146 pastoral visits in Italy and, as the Bishop of Rome, he visited 317 of the current 322 Roman parishes. His international apostolic journeys numbered 104 and were expressions of the constant pastoral solicitude of the Successor of Peter for all the Churches.

His principal documents include 14 Encyclicals, 15 Apostolic Exhortations, 11 Apostolic Constitutions and 45 Apostolic Letters. He also wrote five books.

Pope John Paul II celebrated 147 beatifications, during which he proclaimed 1,338 blesseds, and 51 canonizations, for a total of 482 saints.

Pope John Paul II died in the Apostolic Palace at 9:37 p.m. on Saturday, 2 April 2005, the vigil of Sunday in albis or Divine Mercy Sunday, which he had instituted. On 8 April, his solemn funeral
was celebrated in Saint Peter’s Square and he was buried in the crypt of Saint Peter’s Basilica.

Patronage

World Youth Day

Source: Booklet for the Celebration of the Canonization of Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II, 27 April 2014 (vatican.va)

SETTING

Birthplace

Born

18 May 1920
Wadowice, Poland

Death

2 April 2005 (Age 84)
Apostolic Palace, Vatican City

Canonized

27 April 2014 (Pope Francis)

Shrine/Relics/Tomb

Saint Peter's Basilica, Vatican City

Info

Pope Saint John Paul II (Karol Jozef Wojtyla) encouraged the advancement of the causes of workers' rights and social change, and ultimately the collapse of communism. As a Bishop, Wojtyla attended all four sessions of Vatican II.