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Pope Saint John Paul II - Papa Wojtyla

Karol Józef Wojtyła born on 18 May 1920 in Wadowice, Poland. Ordained on Feast of All Saints, 1 November 1946. Auxiliary Bishop (1958–1964) & Archbishop of Kraków (1964–1978). Cardinal-Priest of San Cesareo in Palatio (1967–1978)
Elected Pope 16 October, inaugurated 22 October 1978
Assassination attempt on Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, 13 May 1981. Died on vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday, 2 April 2005. Beatified by Benedict XVI on Divine Mercy Sunday, 1 May 2011. Canonized
(with John XXIII) by Pope Francis on Divine Mercy Sunday, 27 April 2014
Motto: Totus Tuus    Feast day: 22nd October

3 2us by Mgr Leo Maasburg  
"John Paul II was a very courageous man, not only during the Nazi occupation when he was studying for the priesthood himself secretly and was ordained priest. But also later on in his life he never shrank back from things which his heart told him to do."

Papa Saint John Paul II, We love you!

Sean, from the USA      
"John Paul II, being the great lover of Mary that he was, was able to learn from Mary how to love Christ in other people. This is something that I've gained and that I've learned to love about him, the man, and I think his entire pontificate was one of love. He said 'Open the doors to Christ. Throw open the doors to Christ.'  And that's what he did whenever he greeted somebody, he was opening the door to Christ within his own heart and bringing that person in."

Catechesis with Papa Woytyla

During his 26½ years as Bishop of Rome, JPII gave us great wisdom and teaching at his Wednesday General Audiences. The themes of JPII's catechesis were:
Theology of the Body (129 audiences: September 1979 - February 1983, pause during the Jubilee of the Redemption, May - November 1984)
Catechesis (7 audiences - December 1984 - early 1985)
God the Father and Creator (60 audiences: March 1985 & August 1986)
Jesus Christ, Son of God and Saviour (97 audiences:  August 1986 - April 1989)
The Spirit, Giver of Life and Love (82 audiences: April 1989 - July 1991)
The Church (137 audiences: July 1991 - August 1995)
Mary, Mother of God (70 audiences: September 1995 - November 1997)
The History of Salvation (119 audiences: November 1997 - March 2001)
The Divine Office, Bible Readings

John Paul II, the Pilgrim Pope

During the 26½ years of his pontificate, John Paul II was a pilgrim to 129 different countries on 104 apostolic voyages, traveling 1,247,613 km (approx 750,000 miles). Click here to see which countries JPII visited when, watch Vatican footage, link to the countries & read JPII's encouraging words.
JPII described: "These trips are visits to each local Church and demonstrate their place in making up the universality of the Church.. Each trip made by the Pope is 'an authentic pilgrimage to the living sanctuary of the People of God'... the Pilgrim-Pope feels at home everywhere, even "among strangers". The proof of this lies in the relationship that they have with him."

The Papa of Young People and the Founder of World Youth Days

"You are the hope of the Church and of the world. You are my hope." were the words of the new Pope to the young people in St Peter's Square on 22 October 1978.

Papa St John Paul II repeated these words many times, both at the gatherings of young people on his pilgrim journeys and in particular at World Youth Days, which had their beginnings in 1984 when JPII held an International Youth Meeting in St Peter's Square on Palm Sunday, and a week later on Easter Sunday entrusted young people with the Cross. This simple wooden Cross has been carried round the world by young people ever since while World Youth Day has been celebrated on Palm Sunday every year since on a diocesan level, with an annual message from our Holy Fathers.

There have also been 12 international World Youth Days - in Buenos Aires, Santiago de Compostela, Czestochowa, Denver, Manila, Paris, Rome, Toronto, Cologne, Sydney, Madrid &
Rio de Janiero. They've taken on a 5 day structure: 3 days of catechesis, prayer and celebration, Stations of the Cross on the Friday, a pilgrimage on the Saturday for a prayer vigil with the Pope and the final Mass on the Sunday. The next international WYD will be in 2016 in Krakow, Poland (where JPII was archbishop). WYD Manila 1995 is in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest gathering in the history of the world (estimates of 6 million) & GMG Rome 2000 in the Jubilee Year is the largest gathering in the history of Europe (over 2 million).

The Philosopher Pope's Writings - his Encyclicals

One of the great treasures that John Paul II gave to us, "to the Church and to all people of good will" were his encyclicals, profound writings full of beauty and truth. Within months of becoming Pope, John Paul II had written his first one and it was on Jesus, the Redeemer of Man. His second was on the Mercy of our Father. He went on to write about the Holy Spirit, Our Lady, the Eucharist.

The encyclicals reveal the depth of John Paul II"s thought on the identity of man, his search for truth and the crisis facing contemporary society. 3 encyclicals focused particularly on truth, life, and the need for both faith and intelligence. John Paul II wrote 14 encyclicals in total and many of them are now listenable to / downloadable on Totus2us .. as they're ACE and so worth a read / listen! Click here for more.

St John Paul II introduced Divine Mercy Sunday in the Jubilee year 2000, canonising the first saint of the new millennium, Sr Maria Faustina Kowalska, on the Sunday after Easter. JPII died on the vigil of Divine Mercy 2005, and was beatified & canonised on the feast day in 2011 & 2014.

The Divine Mercy chaplet is in 12 languages on Totus2us's Divine Mercy podcast.

Fr François-Marie Lethel OCD (who gave the Lenten retreat to Pope Benedict on 'The light of Christ in the heart of the Church: JPII & the theology of the saints') - has said: "I am convinced that JPII's beatification is an event of enormous significance for the Church & for the world. It calls for a profound spiritual preparation on the part of the whole people of God, & in an exemplary manner on the part of the Holy Father & his closest collaborators.. JPII's beatification is like the crowning of his extraordinary pontificate precisely under the sign of sanctity."

A Jubilee Year of Mercy has been proclaimed by Pope Francis, beginning on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, 8 December 2015.

Novena in thanksgiving for the life of JPII    

O Lord Jesus Christ, you are our future & our hope, in you we live & love & work.
Make us witnesses of your Word, mirrors of your goodness, friends for each other, light in the darkness, comfort for those suffering and a place of grace for all who seek your face, O Lord. (JPII prayer)

O Blessed Trinity, we thank You for having graced the Church with Pope John Paul II
and for allowing the tenderness of your Fatherly care, the glory of the Cross of Christ,
and the splendour of the Holy Spirit, to shine through him.
Trusting fully in Your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of Mary,
he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd,
and has shown us that holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life
and is the way of achieving eternal communion with you.
Grant us, by his intercession, and according to Your will, the graces we implore,
hoping that he will soon be numbered among your saints. Amen.

John Paul II's First General Audience
Wednesday, 25 October 1978 - in English, French, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"When the Holy Father John Paul I spoke to participants in the General Audience on Wednesday 27 September, no one could imagine that it was for the last time. His death — after 33 days of pontificate — surprised the whole world and filled it with a deep sense of loss. He who brought forth such great joy in the Church and inspired such hope in men's hearts, consummated and terminated his mission, in such a short time. In his death the words so often repeated in the Gospel came true: "... be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (Mt 24:44). John Paul I always kept watch. The Lord's call did not take him by surprise. He followed it with the same trembling joy with which he had accepted the election to St Peter's throne on 26 August.

Today John Paul II presents himself to you, for the first time. Four weeks after that General Audience, he wishes to greet you and speak to you. He wishes to carry on with the subjects already started by John Paul I. We remember that he spoke of the three theological virtues: faith, hope and charity. He ended with charity. As St Paul teaches (1 Cor 13: 13), charity — which constituted his last teaching — is the greatest virtue here on earth; it is the one that crosses the threshold of life and death. For when the time of faith and hope ends, love continues. John Paul I has already passed through the time of faith, hope and charity, charity which has been expressed so magnificently on this earth, and the fullness of which is revealed only in eternity.

Today we must speak of another virtue, since I have learned from the notes of the late Pontiff that it was his intention to speak not only of the three theological virtues, faith, hope and charity, but also of the four so-called cardinal virtues. John Paul I wished to speak of the "seven lamps" of the Christian life, as Pope John XXIII called them. Well, today I wish to continue this plan, which the late Pope had prepared, and to speak briefly of the virtue of prudence. The ancients spoke a great deal of this virtue. We owe them, for this reason, deep gratitude and thanks. In a certain dimension, they taught us that the value of man must be measured with the yardstick of the moral good which he accomplishes in his life. It is just this that ensures the virtue of prudence first place. The prudent man, who strives for everything that is really good, endeavours to measure every thing, every situation and his whole activity according to the yardstick of moral good. So a prudent man is not one who — as is often meant — is able to wangle things in life and draw the greatest profit from it; but one who is able to construct his whole life according to the voice of upright conscience and according to the requirements of sound morality.

So prudence is the key for the accomplishment of the fundamental task that each of us has received from God. This task is the perfection of man himself. God has given our humanity to each of us. We must meet this task by planning it accordingly.

But the Christian has the right and the duty to look at the virtue of prudence also in another perspective. It is, as it were, the image and likeness of the Providence of God himself in the dimensions of concrete man. For man —a s we know from the book of Genesis — was created in the image and likeness of God. And God carries out his plan in the history of creation, and above all in the history of mankind. The purpose of this plan is — as St Thomas teaches — the ultimate good of the universe. The same plan in the history of mankind becomes simply the plan of salvation, the plan that embraces us all. At the central point of its realization is Jesus Christ, in whom was expressed the eternal love and solicitude of God himself, the Father, for the salvation of man. This is at the same time the full expression of Divine Providence.

Well, man who is the image of God, must — as St Thomas again teaches — in some way be providence: but within the proportions of his life. He can take part in this great march of all creatures towards the purpose, which is the good of creation. He must — expressing ourselves even more in the language of faith — take part in the divine plan of salvation. He must march towards salvation, and help others to save themselves. By helping others, he saves himself.

I pray in order that, in this light, those who are listening to me will think now of their own lives. Am I prudent? Do I live consistently and responsibly? Does the programme I am realizing serve the real good? Does it serve the salvation that Christ and the Church want for us? If a boy or girl student, a son or a daughter, is listening to me today, let such a person look in this light at the homework, reading, interests, pastimes, the circle of friends, boys and girls. If a father or a mother of a family is listening to me, let such a person think a little of the conjugal and parental commitments. If a minister or statesman is listening to me, let him look at the range of his duties and responsibilities. Is he pursuing the real good of society, of the nation, of mankind? Or only particular and partial interests? If a journalist or publicist is listening to me, one who exercises an influence on public opinion, let such a person reflect on the value and purpose of this influence.

I, too, who am speaking to you, I the Pope, what must I do to act prudently? There come into my mind the letters to St Bernard' of Albino Luciani, then Patriarch of Venice. In his answer to Cardinal Luciani, the Abbot of Chiaravalle — a Doctor of the Church — recalls emphatically that he who governs must be "prudent". What, then, must the new Pope do in order to operate prudently? Certainly he must do a great deal in this direction. He must always learn and always meditate on these problems. But in addition to this, what can he do? He must pray and endeavour to have that gift of the Holy Spirit which is called the gift of counsel. And let all those who wish the new Pope to be a prudent Pastor of the Church, implore for him the gift of counsel. And for themselves, let them also ask for this gift through the special intercession of the Mother of Good Counsel. For it ought to be very greatly desired that all men will behave prudently and that those who wield power will act with true prudence. So may the Church — prudently strengthening herself with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and, in particular, with the gift of counsel — take part effectively in this great march towards the good of all, and so may she show to everyone the way to eternal salvation."

 © Copyright 1978 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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John Paul II: "I would have liked to stay with you longer, but I find consolation in the words of Jesus. He tells us the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you. The Father sends his Spirit of truth and love into the world, and the Spirit guides us in the ways of peace. Therefore do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. Dear brothers and sisters, the Holy Spirit is with you."

Totus Tuus - 'All Yours' - was Pope John Paul II's motto, having entrusted his life, his priesthood, his 'all' to Mary. 

"This phrase is not only an expression of piety, or simply an expression of  devotion.  It is more.  During the Second World War, while I was employed as a factory worker, I came to be attracted to Marian devotion.  At first, it had seemed to me that I should distance myself a bit from the Marian devotion of my childhood, in order to focus more on Christ. Thanks to Saint Louis de Montfort, I came to understand that true devotion to the Mother of God is actually Christocentric, indeed, it is very profoundly rooted in the Mystery of the Blessed Trinity, and the mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption." JPII 

Pope Saint John Paul II's Homily at Mass
in St Peter's Square at the beginning of his Pontificate
Sunday, 22 October 1978 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"1. "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Mt 16, 16).

These words were spoken by Simon, son of Jonah, in the district of Caesarea Philippi. Yes, he spoke them with his own tongue, with a deeply lived and experienced conviction — but it is not in him that they find their source, their origin: "...because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven" (Mt 16:17). They were the words of Faith.

These words mark the beginning of Peter's mission in the history of salvation, in the history of the People of God. From that moment, from that confession of Faith, the sacred history of salvation and of the People of God was bound to take on a new dimension: to express itself in the historical dimension of the Church. This ecclesial dimension of the history of the People of God takes its origin, in fact is born, from these words of faith, and is linked to the man who uttered them: "You are Peter — the rock — and on you, as on a rock, I will build my Church."

2. On this day and in this place these same words must again be uttered and listened to: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Yes, Brothers and Children, these words first of all.

Their content reveals to our eyes the mystery of the living God, the mystery to which the Son has brought us close. Nobody, in fact, has brought the living God as close to men and revealed Him as He alone did. In our knowledge of God, in our journey towards God, we are totally linked to the power of these words: "He who sees me sees the Father."  He who is infinite, inscrutable, ineffable, has come close to us in Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary in the stable at Bethlehem.

- All you who already have the inestimable good fortune to believe
- all
you who are still seeking God,
and also you who are tormented by doubt:
please accept/listen to once again - today in this sacred place - the words uttered by Simon Peter. In these words is the faith of the Church. In these same words is the new truth, indeed, the ultimate and definitive truth about man: the son of the living God. "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

3. Today the new Bishop of Rome solemnly begins his ministry and the mission of Peter. In this city, in fact, Peter completed and fulfilled the mission entrusted to him by the Lord.

The Lord addressed him saying: ".. when you were young you put on your own belt and walked where you liked; but when you grow old you will stretch out your hands and somebody else will put a belt round you and take you where you would rather not go" (Jn 21, 18).

Peter came to Rome!

What else but obedience to the inspiration received from the Lord guided him and brought him to this city, the heart of the Empire? Perhaps the fisherman of Galilee did not want to come here. Perhaps he would have preferred to stay there, on the shores of the Lake of Genesareth, with his boat and his nets. But guided by the Lord, obedient to his inspiration, he came here!

According to an ancient tradition (given magnificent literary expression in a novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz), during Nero's persecution,
Peter wanted to abandon Rome. But the Lord intervened: he went to meet him. Peter addressed him, asking. "Quo vadis, Domine?" ("Where are you going, Lord?") And the Lord answered him at once: "I am going to Rome to be crucified a second time." Peter went back to Rome and stayed here until his crucifixion.

Yes, Brothers and Children, Rome is the See of Peter. Down the centuries new Bishops continually succeeded him in this See. Today a new Bishop comes to the Roman Cathedra of Peter, a Bishop full of trepidation, conscious of his unworthiness. And how could one not tremble before the greatness of this call and before the universal mission of this See of Rome!

To the See of Peter in Rome there succeeds today a Bishop who is not a Roman. A Bishop who is a son of Poland. But from this moment he too becomes a Roman. Ye, a Roman. He is also a Roman because he is the son of a nation whose history, from its first dawning, and whose thousand year old traditions are marked by a living, strong, unbroken and deeply felt link with the See of Peter, a nation which has ever remained faithful to this See of Rome. O, inscrutable is the design of Divine Providence!

4. In past centuries, when the Successor of Peter took possession of his See, the triregnum, tiara, was placed on his head. The last Pope to be crowned was Paul VI in 1963, but after the solemn coronation ceremony he never used the tiara again and left his Successors free to decide in this regard.

Pope John Paul I, whose memory is so vivid in our hearts, did not wish to have the tiara and today nor does his Successor wish it. This is not the time to return to a ceremony and an object which, perhaps unfairly, has been considered as a symbol of the temporal power of the Popes.

Our time invites us, urges us, obliges us to gaze on the Lord and immerse ourselves in a humble and devout meditation on the mystery of the supreme power of Christ himself.

He who was born of the Virgin Mary, the Son of a carpenter - as he was believed to be -, the Son of the living God, as Peter confessed, came to make us all "a kingdom of priests".

The Second Vatican Council has reminded us of the mystery of this power and of the fact that the mission of Christ - Priest, Prophet-Teacher, King - continues in the Church. Everyone, the whole People of God, shares in this threefold mission. Perhaps in the past, the tiara, this triple crown, was placed on the Pope's head in order to express by that symbol the Lord's plan for his Church, namely that all the hierarchical order of Christ's Church, all "sacred power" exercised in the Church, is nothing other than service, service with a single purpose: to ensure that the whole People of God shares in this threefold mission of Christ and always remains under the power of the Lord; a power that has its source not in the powers of this world but in the mystery of the Cross and Resurrection.

The absolute and yet sweet and gentle power of the Lord responds to the whole depths of man, to his loftiest aspirations of intellect, will and heart. It does not speak the language of force, but expresses itself in charity and truth.

The new Successor of Peter in the See of Rome today offers up a fervent, humble, trusting prayer: "O Christ! Make me become and remain the servant of your unique power! The servant of your sweet power! The servant of your power that knows no eventide. Make me be a servant! Indeed, the servant of your servants!"

5. Brothers and Sisters! Do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power!

Help the Pope and all those who wish to serve Christ and, with Christ's power, to serve man and the whole of humanity!

Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors for Christ!

To his saving power open the boundaries of States, the economic as well as political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development. Do not be afraid! Christ knows "what is in man". He alone knows.

So often today man does not know what is within him, in the depths of his mind, of his heart. So often he is uncertain about the meaning of his life on this earth. He is assailed by doubt which turns into despair. Therefore - I beg you, I implore you with humility and trust - let Christ speak to man. He alone has words of life, yes, of eternal life.

Precisely today the whole Church is celebrating "World Mission Day", that is, she is praying, meditating and acting in order that Christ's words of life may reach all people and be received by them as a message of hope, salvation, and total liberation.

6. I thank all of you here present who have wished to participate in this solemn inauguration of the ministry of the new Successor of Peter.

I sincerely thank the Heads of State, the Representatives of the Authorities, and the Government Delegations for their presence which honours me so much.

Thank you, Eminent Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church!
I thank you, my beloved Brothers in the Episcopate!
Thank you, Priests!
To you, Sisters and Brothers, Religious of the Orders and Congregations! Thank you!
Thank you, Romans!
Thank you to the pilgrims who have come here from all over the world.
Thank you to all of you who are linked with this Sacred Ceremony by radio and television.

7. I speak to you, my dear fellow-countrymen, pilgrims from Poland, Brother Bishops with your magnificent Primate at your head, Priests, Sisters and Brothers of the Polish Religious Congregations — to you representatives of Poland from all over the world.

What shall I say to you who have come from my Krakow, from the See of Saint Stanislaus of whom I was the unworthy successor for fourteen years? What shall I say? Everything that I could say would fade into insignificance compared with what my heart feels, and your hearts feel, at this moment.

So let us leave aside words. Let there remain just great silence before God, the silence that becomes prayer.

I ask you: be with me! At Jasna Gora and everywhere. Do not cease to be with the Pope who today prays with the words of the poet: "Mother of God, you who defend Bright Czestochowa and shine at Ostrabrama". And these same words I address to you at this particular moment.

8. That was an appeal and a call to prayer for the new Pope,  an appeal expressed in the Polish language. I make the same appeal to all the sons and daughters of the Catholic Church. Remember me today and always in your prayers!

To the Catholics of French-speaking lands, I express my complete affection and devotedness. I presume to count upon your unreserved filial assistance. May you advance in the faith! To those who do not share this faith, I also address my respectful and cordial greetings. I trust that their sentiments of goodwill may facilitate the spiritual mission that lies upon me, and which does not lack repercussions for the happiness and peace of the world.

To all of you who speak English I offer in the name of Christ a cordial greeting. I count on the support of your prayers and your goodwill in carrying out my mission of service to the Church and mankind. May Christ give you his grace and his peace, overturning the barriers of division and making all things one in him.

[The Holy Father spoke in similar terms in German, Spanish, Portuguese, Czechoslovakian, Russian, Ukranian and Lithuanian].

I open my heart to all my Brothers of the Christian Churches and Communities, and I greet in particular you who are here present, in anticipation of our coming personal meeting; but for the moment I express to you my sincere appreciation for your having wished to attend this solemn ceremony.

And I also appeal to all men—to every man (and with what veneration the apostle of Christ must utter this word: man!)
Pray for me!
Help me so that I may be able to serve you! Amen."