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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