The feast day of St. John Paul II is celebrated on October 22. He is the patron saint of youth.
Karol Jozef Wajtyla (pronounced Voy-tee-ya) was born to Karol and Emilia Wojtyla in Wodowice, Poland on May18, 1920. His mother died when he was nine years old. His sister Olga died before he was born. His brother Edmond, a doctor, died when he was twelve. He was very close to his father, who raised him. When he was 21, his father died, leaving him alone, with no family.
Young Karol studied drama in Krakow’s Jagiellonian University. The university closed due to the Nazi occupation in 1939. In 1942, he had a call to the priesthood. He studied in an underground seminary in Krakow. At the same time he also was a member of the underground “Rhapsodic Theater”.
Karol was ordained on November 1, 1946. He was sent to Rome where he finished his doctorate in theology with a thesis on the works of St. John of the Cross, a Carmelite saint
He wished to become a Carmelite priest himself. However, he was turned down twice. The first time, he was denied entry due to the war. The second time he applied, his bishop told him, he was not meant to be a contemplative (private prayer) priest, his charismatic (public prayer) talent was needed working with the public. During his early priesthood he worked as a chaplain to university students as well as vicar to several parishes.
On Jan 13, 1964 he became a Cardinal. He was a participant in the Vatican Council II (1962-1965).
On October 16, 1978, he was elected Pope. As Pope he chose the name of John Paul II. As Pope of the Catholic Church he will be remembered for many things. He established the World Youth Day Celebration. This event brought millions of young people together in a different country to celebrate their faith. In 1993, Youth Day was held in Denver, USA. In 2000 he led the celebration in Rome for the Great Jubilee year. Although unofficial, this is why he is considered the patron of youth.
As Pope he canonized many saints, including his fellow citizen Sister Faustina from Poland. John Paul II gave her Divine Mercy Devotion an official feast day, the Sunday following Easter. This devotion focuses on the mercy and forgiveness Jesus offers us.
Another Devotion John Paul II encouraged was the Rosary. The Rosary focuses on the life of Jesus. In 2002 he added a fourth set of mysteries to be meditated on which is called the Luminous Mysteries. This includes the Baptism of Jesus, The Wedding at Cana, The Institution of the Word, The Transfiguration, and The Eucharist.
In 1981 he survived an attempted assassination. He credited his devotion to Our Lady of Fatima for his survival. He publicly forgave his attacker.
John Paul II is remembered for his successful efforts to end communism, and for bringing together people of all faiths.
John Paul II died Parkinson’s disease on April 2, 2005.
John Paul II was Pope for 27 years. Many Catholics give him the title John Paul the Great, and Patron of Youth. His message of hope often included the message of Jesus when he stilled the water: “Be Not Afraid” (Mat: 14).
He received the title of Blessed in 2000. His first miracle was the cure of Sister Marie Perre Simon who was a French nun suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is the illness John Paul II died from on April 2, 2005. The second miracle of Pope John Paul II was the curing of a brain aneurysim of Floribeth Mora Diaz of Costa Rica.
On Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27, 2014, Pope Francis canonized Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI concelebrated the Mass.
Place your talents and enthusiasm at the service of life.
Quote of St. John Paul II
St. John Paul II in Art
October is the Month of the Most Holy Rosary.