Pope Saint John Paul II

[Pope John Paul II]Also known as

  • Karol Wojtyla
  • Juan Pablo II
  • John Paul the Great

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For many years Karol believed God was calling him to the priesthood, and after surviving two nearly fatal accidents, he responded to the call. He studied secretly during the German occupation of Poland, and was ordained on 1 November 1946. In these years he came to know and practice the teachings of Saint Louis Marie Montfort and Saint John of the Cross. Earned his Doctorate in theology in 1948 at the Angelicum in Rome, Italy.

Parish priest in the Krakow diocese from 1948 to 1951. Studied philosophy at the Jagiellonian University at Krakow. Taught social ethics at the Krakow Seminary from 1952 to 1958. In 1956 he became a professor at the University of Lublin. Venerable Pope Pius XII appointed Wojtyla an auxiliary bishop in Krakow on 4 July 1958. Servant of God, Pope Paul VI appointed him Archbishop of Krakow on 30 December 1963.

Wojtyla proved himself a noble and trustworthy pastor in the face of Communist persecution. A member of the prepatory commission, he attended all four sessions of Vatican II; is said to have written Gaudium et spes, the document on the Church in the Modern World. He also played a prominent role in the formulation of the Declaration on Religious Freedom. Following the Council, Pope Paul VI, appointed Karol Wojtyla cardinal on 26 June 1967.

In 1960 he published Love and Responsibility. Pope Paul VI, delighted with its apologetical defense of the traditional Catholic teaching of marriage, relied extensively on Archbishop Wojytla’s counsel in writing Humanae Vitae. In 1976 he was invited by Pope Paul VI to preach the lenten sermons to the members of the Papal Household.

In 1978, Archbishop Wojtyla became the first non-Italian pope since Adrian VI. He took the name of his predecessors (John, Paul, John Paul) to emphasize his desire to continue the reforms of Vatican II.

John Paul II is the most traveled pope in history, having visited nearly every country in the world which would receive him. As the Vicar of Christ he has consecrated each place that he has visited to the Blessed Virgin Mary. On 13 May 1983 he went to Fatima to consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He later repeated the consecration of the world to Mary in union with all the Bishops of the Catholic Church, in fulfillment of Our Lady‘s promises at Fatima.

In 1995, Pope John Paul II began a lengthy catechisis on the Blessed Virgin Mary during his weekly Angelus addresses, culminating with his instruction on Our Lady’s active participation in the Sacrifice of Calvary. This active participation of Our Lady at Calvary is called the co-redemption. Already in 1982 and 1985 he had used the term “corredemptrix” in reference to Our Lady in public addresses. This is significant, for he is the first Pope to do so since Pope Benedict XV at whose prayer Our Lady came to Fatima to reveal Her Immaculate Heart. Since the time of Pope Benedict XV, this terminology was under review by the Holy See; the present Pope’s usage is a confirmation of this traditional view of Mary’s role in salvation history.

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                O Blessed Trinity, we thank you for having graced the church with Pope John Paul II and for allowing the tenderness of your fatherly care, the glory of the cross of Christ, and the splendor of the Holy Spirit, to shine through him. Trusting fully in your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of Mary, he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd, and has shown us that holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life and is the way of achieving eternal communion with you. Grant us, by his intercession, and according to your will, the graces we implore, hoping that he will soon be numbered among your saints. Amen. - official prayer to ask favors through the intercession Pope John Paul II

                God is always on the side of the suffering. His omnipotence is manifested precisely in the fact that he freely accepted suffering. He could have chosen not to do so. He could have chosen to demonstrate his omnipotence even at the moment of the Crucifixion. In fact, it was proposed to him:

                “Let the Messiah, the King of Israel come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” (Mark 15.32)

                But he did not accept that challenge. The fact that he stayed on the Cross until the end, the fact that on the Cross he could say, as do all who suffer,

                “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15.34)

                If the agony on the Cross had not happened, the truth that God is Love would have been unfounded. Yes! God is Love and precisely for this he gave his Son, to reveal himself completely as Love. Christ is the One who “loved…to the end.” (John 13.1) “To the end” means to the last breath. - Pope John Paul II from Crossing The Threshold of Hope

                To save means to liberate from evil. This does not refer only to social evils, such as injustice, coercion, exploitation. Nor does it refer only to disease, catasrophes, natural cataclysms, and everything that has been considered disaster in the history of humanity. To save means to liberate from radical, ultimate evil. Death itself is no longer that kind of evil, if followed by the Resurrection. And the Resurrection comes about through the work of Christ. Through the work of the Reddemer death ceases to be an ultimate evil; it becomes subject to the power of life. The world does no have such power. The world, which is capable of perfecting therapeutic techniques in various fields, does not have the power to liberate man from death. And therefore the world cannot be a source of salvation for man. Only God saves, and He saves the whole of humanity in Christ. - Pope John Paul II, from Cross the Threshold of Hope

                The essential usefulness of faith consists in the fact that, through faith, man achieves the good of his rational nature. And he achieves it by giving his response to God, as is his duty – a duty not only to God, but to himself. Christ did everything in order to convince us of the importance of this response. Man is called upon to give this response with inner freedom so that it will radiate that veritatis splendor (splendor of truth) so essential to human dignity. Christ wants to awaken faith in human hearts. He wants them to respond to the word of the Father, but he wants this in full respect for human dignity. In the very search for faith an implicit faith is already present, and therefore the necessary condition for salvation is already satisfied. - Pope John Paul II, from Crossing the Threshold of Hope

                What emanates from the figure of Saint Joseph is faith…Joseph of Nazareth is a “just man” because he totally “lives by faith.” He is holy because his faith is truly heroic. Sacred Scripture says little of him. It does not record even one word spoken by Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth. And yet, even without words, he shows the depth of his faith, his greatness. Saint Joseph is a man of great spirit. He is great in faith, not because he speaks his own words, but above all because he listens to the words of the Living God. He listens in silence. And his heart ceaselessly perseveres in the readiness to accept the Truth contained in the word of the Living God. We see how the word of the Living God penetrates deeply into the sould of that man, that just man. And we, do we know how to listen to the word of God? Do we know how to absorb it into the depths of our human personalities? Do we open our conscience in the presend of this word? - Pope John Paul II from Daily Meditations

                On my pastoral journeys around the world I always try to meet representatives of the Jewish community. But a truly exceptional experience for me was cartainly my visit to the synagogue of Rome. The history of the Jews in Rome is a unique chapter in the history of the Jewish people, a chapter closely linked for that matter to The Acts of the Apostles. During that memorable visit, I spoke of the Jews as our elder brothers in the faith. These words were an expression both of the Vatican Council’s teaching and a profound conviction of the part of the Church…. The New Convent has its roots in the old. The time when the people of the Old Covenant will be able to see themselves as part of the New is a question to be left to the Holy Spirit. We, as human beings, try only not to put obstacles in the way. Forgive us, Lord, when we fail to foster genuine understanding between Christians and Jews. - Pope John Paul II from Crossing the Threshold of Hope

                Many people today are disoriented and lost in search of genuine fellowship. Often their lives are either too superficial or shattered by brokenness. Their work often is dehumanizing. They long for an experience of genuine encounter with others, for true fellowship. Well, is this not precisely the vocation of a parish? Are we not called to be a warm, brotherly family together? Are we not people united together in the household of God through our common life? Your parish is not mainly a structure, a geographical area or a building. The parish is first and foremost a community of the faithful. This is the task of a parish today: to be a community, to rediscover its identity as a community. You are not a Christian all by yourself. To be a Christian means to believe and to live one’s faith together with others. For we are all members of the body of Christ…. For fellowship to grow, the priest’s role is not enough, even though he plays an essential role. The commitment of all parishioners is needed. Each of their contributions is vital. - Pope John Paul II from Draw Near to God

                MLA Citation

                • “Pope Saint John Paul II“. Saints.SQPN.com. 26 May 2014. Web. 17 September 2014. <>