Canonization of the first Polish Pope, John Paul II, April 27th, 2014

"Pope John Paul II (Jan Paweł II), born Karol Józef Wojtyła (18 May 1920 – 2 April 2005) was Pope from 16 October 1978 to his death in 2005. He was the second longest-serving pope in history and, as a Pole, the first non-Italian since Pope Adrian VI, who died in 1523. John Paul II was one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century. He is recognized as helping to end Communist rule in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe. 

John Paul II significantly improved the Catholic Church’s relations with Judaism, Islam, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion. He upheld the Church’s teachings against artificial contraception and the ordination of women, he supported the Church’s Second Vatican Council and its reform, and he held firm orthodox Catholic stances. He is known for his implementation of several papal documents pertaining to the role of the Church in the modern world.

He was one of the most traveled world leaders in history, visiting 129 countries during his pontificate. As part of his special emphasis on the universal call to holiness, he beatified 1,340 people and canonized 483 saints, more than the combined tally of his predecessors during the preceding five centuries. By the time of his death, he had named most of the College of Cardinals, consecrated or co-consecrated a large number of the world’s bishops, and ordained many priests.  A key goal of his papacy was to transform and reposition the Catholic Church. His wish was ‘to place his Church at the heart of a new religious alliance that would bring together Jews, Muslims and Christians in a great [religious] armada’.

John Paul II’s cause for canonization commenced in 2005 shortly after his death with the traditional five year waiting period waived. On 19 December 2009, John Paul II was proclaimed Venerable by his successor Pope Benedict XVI and was beatified on 1 May 2011 after the Congregation for the Causes of Saints attributed one miracle to him, the healing of a French nun from Parkinson’s disease. A second miracle, attributed to the late pope, was approved on 2 July 2013 and confirmed by Pope Francis two days later. John Paul II will be canonized [today] on 27 April 2014, alongside Pope John XXIII.” Read More


Slovenia, Maribor, September 19, 1999: Pope John Paul II during the beatification mass of Anton Martin Slomšek.

Karol Wojtyła in a candid photograph, shaving outdoors, c. 1960.

Archbishop Karol Wojtyła’s promotion to the Sacred College of Cardinals by Pope Paul VI, June 26th, 1967.

Pope John Paul II and Lech Wałęsa, June 11th, 1987.

First attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II May 13th, 1981, in St. Peter’s Square at Vatican City.

Pope John Paul II and Mehmet Ali Ağca meeting together in an Italian prison cell following Ağca’s attempt to assassinate the Pope.  

Pope John Paul II celebrates a mass in the Chapel of the Apparition in front of the statue of Virgin of Fatima, May 12, 1991.

Israel, Jerusalem, March 26, 2000: Pope John Paul II in front of the Wailing Wall.

Palestinian Authority, Bethlehem, March 22, 2000: Pope John Paul II during prays in the Grotto of the Nativity.

Pope John Paul II at St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, April 2003.