Pope John Paul II

  • Birth of Karol Józef Wojtyła

    Birth of Karol Józef Wojtyła
    Karol Józef Wojtyla, was born in the small Polish town of Wadowice, about 50 kilometers from Krakow.He lived with his parents and two older siblings.
  • Enrolled at Jagiellonian University in Poland

    Enrolled at Jagiellonian University in Poland
    He was 18 years old. He studied philosophy and learned 12 new languages, 9 of which he used extensively during his Papacy. He was also required to participate in compulsory miliatry training but he refused to fire a weapon.
  • Began courses in the clandestine underground seminary

     Began courses in the clandestine underground seminary
    While the war continued, he began to study at this seminary run by the Archbishop of Kraków. On "Black Sunday", he was able to hide from the Gestapo in the basement of his uncle's house and avoid deportation to Germany.
  • Ordained a Priest

    Ordained a Priest
    He was ordained a priest on All Saints Day by the Archbishop of Kraków, Cardinal Sapieha. Then he studied theology in Rome and earned his Doctorate.
  • First Pastoral Assignment

    First Pastoral Assignment
    He returned to Poland, to the village of Niegowić, fifteen miles from Kraków. The first thing he did when he got there was kneel and kiss the ground. This became a 'trademark' action during his Papacy.
  • Second Assignment

    Second Assignment
    Almost a year later, he was transferred to the parish of Saint Florian in Kraków. He taught ethics at Jagiellonian University. While teaching, he gathered a group of about 20 young people who met for prayer, philosophical discussion, and to help the blind and sick.
  • Second Doctorate

    Second Doctorate
    He earned his second Doctorate, in philosophy, but the communist authorities interferred and denied him his degree until 1957. He developed his own theological approach concerning traditional Catholic Thomism, the works and thoughts of St. Thomas Aquinas.
  • Appointed as the auxiliary bishop of Kraków

    Appointed as the auxiliary bishop of Kraków
    Pope Pius XII appointed him as the auxiliary bishop of Kraków. He was then summoned to Warsaw to meet the Primate of Poland, Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński, who informed him of his appointment.
  • Selected as Vicar Capitular

    Selected as Vicar Capitular
    When Archbishop Eugeniusz Baziak died, he was selected as Vicar Capitular, which means temporary administrator, of the Archdiocese until an Archbishop could be appointed
  • Became Archbishop of Kraków

     Became Archbishop of Kraków
    Pope Paul VI appointed him Archbishop of Kraków.
  • Became Cardinal-Priest

    Became Cardinal-Priest
    Paul VI announced his promotion to the Sacred College of Cardinals. He was named Cardinal-Priest of the titulus of San Cesareo in Palatio.
  • Voted in the Papal conclave

    Voted in the Papal conclave
    Following the death of Pope Paul VI, he voted in the Papal conclave which elected Pope John Paul I. John Paul I died after only 33 days as Pope, triggering another conclave
  • Elected as Pope

    Elected as Pope
    The conclave was split between two strong candidates for the papacy: Giuseppe Cardinal Siri, the conservative Archbishop of Genoa, and the liberal Archbishop of Florence, Giovanni Cardinal Benelli. However, neither were elected and the conclave compromised on the Polish Cardinal, Karol Józef Wojtyła.
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    After the death of Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul I was elected. He died 33 days after being elected. Then the Polish Cardinal, Karol Józef Wojtyła, was elected. He chose the name John Paul II in honor of his immediate predecessor.
  • Papal Inauguration

    Papal Inauguration
    During his inauguration, when the cardinals were to kneel before him to take their vows and kiss his ring, he stood up as the Polish prelate Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński knelt down, stopped him from kissing the ring, and simply hugged him.
  • First offical trip as Pope

    First offical trip as Pope
    His earliest official visits were to the Dominican Republic and Mexico. While in Mexico, he held Mass in Victory Square in Warsaw before 3 million of his countrymen.
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    Pastoral Trips

    Throughout his trips, he stressed his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary through visits to various shrines to the Virgin Mary. He also celebrated mass and met many people. Miraculously, he was able to remember most of those people.
  • Visited the USA

    Visited the USA
    He made his first visit to the United States in October 1979, where he became the first Pope to visit the White House. He also made a stop in Chicago, where he celebrated Mass in Grant Park. Chicago was home to the largest Polish community outside of Poland at that time.
  • Visited Lisieux, France

    Visited  Lisieux, France
    He made a pilgrimage to Lisieux in northern France, the home town of St. Therese of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face. Almost 17 years later, he declared St. Therese the third woman Doctor of the Church.
  • Assassination attempt

    Assassination attempt
    He entered St. Peter's Square to address the audience and was shot and critically wounded. He was shot in the abdomen and perforating his colon and small intestine multiple times. He briefly gained consciousness before being operated on, he instructed the doctors not to remove his Brown Scapular during the operation. He said that Our Lady of Fátima helped keep him alive throughout his ordeal.
  • First Pope to visit the UK

    First Pope to visit the UK
    This trip was in danger of being cancelled due to the then current Falklands War, which he spoke out against during the visit. In a dramatic symbolic gesture, he knelt in prayer next to the Archbishop of Canterbury and prayed. This was a show of friendship between the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches
  • Visited Puerto Rico

    Visited Puerto Rico
    He was the first Pope to visit Puerto Rico. Stands were specially bult for him at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan, where he met with governor Carlos Romero Barceló, and at Plaza Las Americas.
  • Visited Singapore

    Visited Singapore
    He made a pastoral trip to Singapore in 1986. He made speeches concerning the Catholic doctrines in the National Stadium of Singapore, which was viewed by a large audience, mainly Catholics.
  • Second assassination attempt

    Second assassination attempt
    There was a plot to assassinate the Pope during his visit to Manila in January 1995. A suicide bomber dressed as a priest and planned to use the disguise to get closer to the Pope's motorcade so that he could kill the Pope by detonating himself. However, an apartment fire brought investigators led to a laptop computer, which had terrorist plans on it, as well as clothes and items that suggested an assassination plot.
  • Visited Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre

    Visited Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre
    He made a trip to Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre in France to meditate and pray on the adjacent tombs of Saint Louis de Montfort and Blessed Marie Louise Trichet, whom he beatified himself.
  • Final trip to the USA

    Final trip to the USA
    He made a final trip to the United States, this time celebrating Mass in St. Louis in the Edward Jones Dome. Over 104,000 people attended the Mass, making it the biggest indoor gathering in United States history.
  • Visited Greece

    Visited Greece
    He took a pilgrimage that would trace the steps of his co-namesake, Saint Paul, across the Mediterranean, from Greece to Syria to Malta. John Paul II became the first Pope to visit Greece in 1291 years. The visit was controversialand he faced protests and snubbed by Eastern Orthodox leaders.
  • Visited Kazakhstan

    Visited Kazakhstan
    He travelled to Kazakhstan, amid post 9/11 concerns, with an audience of largely Muslims, to participate in the celebration of the 1700 years of Christianity in that nation.
  • Death of Pope John Paul II

    Death of Pope John Paul II
    Following a urinary tract infection, he developed septic shock. He knew he was nearing death and he wished to die in the Vatican; not to be hospitalized.