St. John Paul the Great – Pope John Paul II

Soon to be Feast Day – October 22

Patron Saint – World Youth Day

Karol Wojtyla was born on May 18, 1920 outside of Krakow, Poland.  His mother died when he was a child and john paul IIhe was raised by his father and older brother until they both passed away before he was 20.  He was affected by World War II when the university he was attending was closed by Nazi occupation forces.  He worked at a rock quarry and took acting classes until at the age of 22, he felt God calling him to be a priest.  He began secret classes at the underground seminary in Krakow and was ordained after the end of the war in 1946.  He was sent to Rome to complete his doctorate in theology and continue pastoral works to Polish immigrants displaced from the war.  He quickly rose through the Church hierarchy, becoming the bishop of Krakow only 12 years after his ordination and then a cardinal less than 10 years later.

When John Paul II became pope in 1978 at the age of 58, he strove to bring the message of the Church to the world.  Despite an assassination attempt on the feast of our Lady of Fatima, he survived and led the Church for 27 years, during which time he traveled the world, touching people’s lives and bridging gaps between faiths.  He was a dynamic and energetic pope who transformed the modern Church.

He was canonized on April 22, 1014 – Divine Mercy Sunday.

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