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Feast of St. Pope John Paul II

October 22 @ 12:00 am - 11:59 pm

“Christ is the center of the universe and of human history.” – St. Pope John Paul II

The impact St. Pope John Paul II had on the world was so great that the typical five-year waiting period before beginning the cause of beatification and canonization for him was waived. During his nearly 27-year papacy – one of the longest in the Church’s history – he played a crucial role in the fall of communism in Europe, left a lasting impact on the youth, and undertook more pastoral trips than all of his predecessors combined.

On May 18, 1920, Karol Józef Wojtyła was born in Wadowice, a small town outside Krakow. The youngest of three children, his entire family died before he reached the age of 21: his mother in 1929, his brother Edmund in 1932, his father in 1941, and a sister, Olga, had passed before Karol was born.

After graduating high school, in 1938,  he enrolled in Jagiellonian University located in Krakow. He also joined a school of drama at the same time. However, due to Nazi occupation, the University was forced to close in 1939. Karol began working at a quarry before working in the Solvay chemical factory, so as to avoid being deported to Germany. In 1942, he began courses in the underground seminary of Krakow, led by Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha. He also pioneered the “Rhapsodic Theater,” which was also clandestine because of Nazi occupation.

When WWII ended, Karol continued his studies at both the seminary of Krakow and Jagiellonian University. On November 1, 1946, he was ordained a priest. From there, he was sent to Rome. Two years later, he finished his Doctorate of Theology, his thesis being on the subject of faith in the works of St. John of the Cross.

He returned to Poland in 1948 and was made vicar of numerous parishes in Krakow, and chaplain to university students. He remained in this position until 1951 when he once again returned to his studies in philosophy and theology. Eventually, Karol became a professor of moral theology and social ethics in both the major seminary of Krakow and in the Department of Theology at Lublin Catholic University.

He was consecrated as bishop and auxiliary of Krakow on September 28, 1958. In January 1964, he was appointed archbishop of Krakow by pope Pius VI. He was made a cardinal on June 26. 1967.

He played a role in Vatican Council II (1962-1965) in contributing to drafting the Constitution Gaudium et spes. Cardinal Wojtyla also participated in all the assemblies of the Synod of Bishops.

He was elected pope by the cardinals on October 16, 1978. He took the name of John Paul II after his predecessor John Paul, who died after a brief thirty days into his pontificate. On Sunday, Oct. 22, he solemnly inaugurated his Petrine ministry as the 263rd successor to the Apostle Peter.

During his papacy, over 17.6 million pilgrims attended his General Audiences on Wednesdays (over 1160). This number fails to encompass his other special audiences and religious ceremonies (8+ million congregated during the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 alone and St. Pope John Paul encountered millions of other faithful people during his pastoral visits throughout the world). He also met with countless of government personnel around the world.

It has been forty years since the May 13, 1981 assassination attempt of St. Pope John Paul II. While the popemobile carried him into St. Peter’s Square for his weekly General Audience, Pope John Paul II was shot by Mehmet Ali Agca. He was struck in his abdomen, right elbow, and on the index finger of his left hand. At that moment, thousands of pilgrims present dropped to their knees and prayed the Rosary. Pope John Paul II later credited Our Lady of Fatima for saving his life. It was the 64th anniversary of the May 13 apparition of Our Lady of Fatima to the three Fatima seers. He requested and had the document containing the Third Secret sent to him, which was revealed to the world in 2000. A year after his assassination attempt, Pope John Paul II visited Fatima to thank Our Lady for saving his life. In the crown of the Mother of God, he placed a bullet meant to kill him. On Dec. 27, 1983, Pope John Paul II visited Mehmet Ali Agca in prison, cubically forgiving him.

In 1986, the first World Youth Day was founded by St. Pope John Paul II. A total of 19 were celebrated throughout his pontificate, which saw millions of young people from around the world together. In 1994, he established the World Meetings of Families.

St. Pope John Paul II played an integral role in creating dialogue between Catholics and Jews, as well as with representatives of other religions. On several occasions he invited these leaders to pray for peace in Assisi.

He guided the Church into the turn of the third millennium. The promotion of the spiritual renewal of the Church came with the Year of the Redemption, the Marian Year, and the Year of the Eucharist.

During his papacy, St. Pope John Paul II celebrated 147 beatification ceremonies in which he proclaimed 1,338 Blesseds as well as 51 canonizations for a total of 482 saints. He is also responsible for making St. Thérèse of Avila a Doctor of the Church.

St. Pope John Paul II departed this world for the Father on April 2, 2005. Over 3 million pilgrims traveled to see his mortal remains before the funeral on April 8, most people waiting over 24 hours to enter St. Peter’s Basilica.

Pope Benedict XVI declared on April 28 that the normal-five year wait to start the beatification process would be waived. On June 28, 2005, the cause for his beatification was officially opened and on May 1, 2011, he was beatified. Pope Francis canonized him on April 27, 2014.

Prayer for the intercession of St. Pope John Paul II

O Holy Trinity,
we thank you for having given to the Church
Pope John Paul II,
and for having made him shine with your fatherly tenderness,
the glory of the Cross of Christ and the splendour of the Spirit of love

He, trusting completely in your infinite mercy
and in the maternal intercession of Mary, has shown himself
in the likeness of Jesus the Good Shepherd
and has pointed out to us holiness
as the path to reach eternal communion with You.

Grant us, through his intercession,
according to your will, the grace that we implore,
in the hope that he will soon be numbered among your saints.


October 22
12:00 am - 11:59 pm
Event Category:

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