EWTN News

Saint John Paul II
September 25, 2018
by staff
Saint John Paul II

Pope Saint John Paul II was born in Wadowice, Poland, in 1920. As a child, he enjoyed sports and played as a goalkeeper in football. Before he had turned 21, he had already gone through much suffering, both his parents and his only remaining sibling, an older brother, having died. After his father’s death he decided to become a priest. During WWII, as the University where he studied was closed by the Nazis, he enrolled in an underground seminary in Krakow. He would work during the day, in a limestone quarry, at a restaurant and for a chemical factory. Saint John Paul II was ordained in 1946 and then sent to Rome where he earned a doctorate in theology. Back in Poland, he first ministered as a rural parish priest and eventually became a chaplain for University students and a professor of philosophy. He was appointed archbishop of Krakow in 1964 and was elected pope in 1978, the first non-Italian pope since the XVI Century. As pope, he visited 124 countries, improved the relations with Orthodox Churches, gave us the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary, and published a Catechism of the Catholic Church. His famous visit to Poland, in June of 1979, where hundreds of thousands of people at Victory Square chanted “We want God”, in defiance of the communist regime, is believed to have greatly contributed to the fall of communism in that country. Saint John Paul II died in 2005 after suffering for several years from Parkinson’s disease.