In Remembrance of Pope John Paul II In Remembrance of Pope John Paul II On October 16th, 1978 white smoke rose from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel; a new pope had been elected! Karol Wojtyla took the name John Paul II; he was the first non-Italian pope since Adrian VI, of Utrecht in Holland, was elected in 1522. In memory of Pope John Paul II’s installation on October 22nd of 1978, we reflect on the remarkable works and events throughout his 25+ year papacy. A Brief Biography of Pope John Paul II and His Papacy Pope John Paul II was born Karol Wojtyla in the Polish town of Wadowice in 1920 and was a young man in Poland through the years of the Nazi Occupancy. In 1942 he began to attend an “underground seminary.” During the war, all higher education institutions were closed; just attending these secret classes meant risking deportation or death if caught. He was ordained a priest in 1946; by this point the young man of 26 had lost a sister, his brother, and both his mother and father. Karol was made a bishop in 1958, elevated to Archbishop in 1962 and promoted to Cardinal in 1967. In 1978 he was elected Pope, as the 246th successot to St. Peter, and at the age of 58, the youngest since Pope Pius IX who had been elected in 1846. As pope, he took the name John Paul II and would write 14 encyclicals, promote ecumenical dialogue, develop the Theology of the Body teachings, establish the World Youth Days to foster love for the Catholic Faith among the young, and promoted spiritual renewal of the Church with the Year of Redemption, the Marian Year and the Year of the Eucharist, among so many other things. His papacy would last over 25 years, until his death in 2005. Let the work and teachings of the late Pope John Paul II continue to guide and inspire us as we continue to combat the “Culture of Death” as he did, in favor of promoting the “Culture of Life” as witness to Our Lord in the modern world. To learn all about the life of this beloved pope, read Meet John Paul II or John Paul the Great: Remembering a Father, or take a look at the high quality, epic film of his life story, Pope John Paul II. To find all of Pope John Paul II’s encyclicals and other works, click here. Some words of Pope Benedict XVI on the First Anniversary of the Death of Pope John Paul II: “[Pope John Paul II] continues to be present in our minds and hearts; he continues to communicate to us his love for God and his love for man; he continues to inspire in one and all, and especially in the young, enthusiasm for good and the courage to follow Jesus and his teachings. How can we sum up the life and evangelical witness of this great Pontiff? I will attempt to do so by using two words: "fidelity" and "dedication", total fidelity to God and unreserved dedication to his mission as Pastor of the universal Church. Fidelity and dedication appeared even more convincing and moving in his final months, when he embodied in himself what he wrote in 1984 in the Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris: "Suffering is present in the world in order to release love, in order to give birth to works of love towards neighbor, in order to transform the whole of human civilization into a "civilization of love'" - Spoken during the public rosary in Saint Peter's Square, Sunday, April 2, 2006 A Prayer of Thanksgiving for Pope John Paul II Almighty God, through Your Heavenly guidance Pope John Paul II brought joy to so many of Your people. Joy to the children – Joy to the elderly - Joy to those in need of comfort and mercy. His message of peace and his extraordinary efforts have had a profound affect on the world we live in. We thank You for his life and inspiration, and rejoice in the legacy of Pope John Paul II. Amen.