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John Paul II

Karol Józef Wojtyła (18/05/1920 – 02/04/2005)

- first ever Polish Pope; he took the name of John Paul II,
- born in Wadowice/Krakow in Poland; he was one of the three children of Karol Wojtyła and Emilia Kaczorowska,
- Karol Józef Wojtyła was elected a Pope by Cardinals at the Conclave of 16 October 1978 and his pontificate continued for nearly 27 years being one of the longest once; he was the 263rd successor to the Apostle,

- during a public presence in Rome in May 1981, John Paul was nearly killed by a Turkish Muslim named Mehmet Ali Acga; the Pope forgave Acga from his hospital bed,

- he dedicated all his life to the Church trying to stay open to other religions, their believers and human beings in general,

- John Paul II enjoyed talking to people till the very last moment of his life; he held meetings with many leaders of many nations, Heads of State, Prime Ministers and general audience; people were always enthusiastic about seeing him and shaking his hand or even touching his soutane,

- the Pope loved young people more than anything else and it was John Pail II who created the World Youth Days along with the World Meetings of Families,
- under his leadership the Church celebrated the Great Jubilee of the year 2000 and followed his instructions to challenge the new era,
- most important documents of Pope John Paul II are: 14 Encyclicals, 15 Apostolic Exhortations, 11 Apostolic Constitutions, 45 Apostolic Letters.
- he published five books: “Crossing the Threshold of Hope” (October 1994), “Gift and Mystery, on the fiftieth anniversary of my ordination as priest” (November 1996), “Roman Triptych” poetic meditations (March 2003), “Arise, Let us Be Going” (May 2004) and “Memory and Identity” (February 2005),
- Pope John Paul II (Karol Józef Wojtyła) died on 2 April 2005; over 3 million people came to Rome to say goodbye and pay homage to him;

- Polish Pope`s beatification and canonization is in progress.


Pope John Paul II is one step closer to sainthood following beatification by his successor on May 1, 2011.

The crowd in Rome welcomed Pope`s beatification with cheers, tears and applause especially that an enormous photo of a smiling John Paul II was unveiled at the front of St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Vatican have not seen that many praying people for six years since John Paul II died in 2005. Prayers arrived to take part in a ceremony and to watch his coffin being exhumed.

A protocol required that the coffin had to be placed in front of an altar for cardinals to pay respects during Mass. The whole ceremony was thought to be the last stage before the Polish pope is declared a saint.