Pope John Paul became pope in 1978. He was the first non-Italian pope in over 400 years.
Ordained in 1946, Karol Jozef Wojtyla became the bishop of Ombi in 1958 and archbishop of Krakow in 1964. In 1967, he was made a cardinal by Pope Paul VI.
Karol Jozef Wojtyla was born in Wadowice in Poland. His promising academic career at Karokow’s Jagiellonian University was cut short by World War II, when Nazi troops closed the university. He ended up working in a quarry and at this time, attended an ‘underground’ seminary.
After his ordination, he gained a doctorate in theology in Rome. After this, he returned to Poland and served in several parishes around Krakow. He came to be known as one of the Church’s leading thinkers and participated in the Second Vatican Council.
After becoming pope in 1978, he travelled the world to spread his message of peace and faith. He promoted ecumenical faith, establishing the 1986 Day of Prayer for World Peace in Assisi. He also improved Catholic-Muslims relations. He began World Youth Day and travelled to several countries for those celebrations.
In 1981, an assassin shot John Paul twice at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. Thankfully he recovered and later forgave his attacker.
John Paul II spent 27 years as a pope. He wrote 14 encyclicals and 5 books, canonised 482 saints and beatified 1,338 people.
John Paul II in 2011 was beatified in 2011 and canonised in 2014.
“Open wide the doors to Christ,”