Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II was born Karol Wojtyla on May 18, 1920, in Wadowice, in the region of Malopolska in Poland. It was there he was ordained into the priesthood on November 1, 1946. He spent some time studying in Rome, and later returned to his home country of Poland. Here Fr. Wojtyla became very popular and known for his personality and his ease in conversing with the youth of the region.
Fr. Wojtyla continued his studies in theology and was later nominated to Bishop in 1958. He participated actively in preparations for the Second Vatican Council and was involved in the actual Council, as well.
In 1963, Bishop Wojtyla was named the Metropolitan Bishop of Krakow, a position he held for only four years before being appointed Cardinal. Following the death of Pope John Paul I in September 1978, Cardinal Wojtyla was elected to Pope on October 16, 1978, and took the name of John Paul II.
Youth were very important to Pope John Paul II. Before he gave his first speech as Pope, he said to the young people:
”… my hope, because you are the promise of tomorrow. You are the hope of the Church and society.”
Pope John Paul II returned to his home country of Poland a total of nine times as Pope. During each visit, Pope John Paul II would meet and talk with the youth in Krakow from what is known as the “papal window.”
Pope John Paul II passed away on April 2, 2005. The spirit of Pope John Paul II lives on today, through his beatification in May of 2011. Pope Francis approved of a second miracle by John Paul II, who will be canonized into sainthood in April 2014.