Pope St. John Paul II
Feast day: October 22
Karol Wojtyla was born in Wadowice, Poland, the son of a retired army lieutenant; his mother died when he was still young. Karol studied literature and was a gifted sportsman, poet, and performer in amateur theater. After his father’s death, he chose to enter the priesthood and was ordained in 1946. In 1964, he was named Archbishop of Krakow, and three years later, he was created a cardinal. He attended all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council and participated in the postconciliar commissions. On October 16, 1978, he was elected pope and took the name John Paul II, becoming the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. During his pontificate, he evangelized on trips to 129 countries, upholding traditional Church doctrine against dissent, and establishing World Youth Days to connect with the world’s youth. He was also the most prolific pope in terms of literary output and canonized more saints than his predecessors. In his later years, he used his suffering as a means of conforming himself to Christ. John Paul II died in 2005 and was canonized in 2014 by Pope Francis.
O God, rich in mercy,
who willed that Pope Saint John Paul the Second
should preside over your universal Church,
grant, we pray, that instructed by his teaching,
we may confidently open our hearts to the saving grace of Christ,
the sole Redeemer of the human race.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.