Pope St. John Paul II

Feast Day October 22nd

Patron Saint of World Youth Day, families, young Catholics

Pope Saint John Paul II was born Karol Jozef Wojtyla in Wadowice, Poland, on May 18, 1920, and was the third of three children born to Karol Wojtyła and Emilia Kaczorowska. He was nine years old when he received his First Communion and eighteen when he received the Sacrament of Confirmation. After completing high school in Wadowice, he enrolled in the Jagellonian University of Krakow in 1938.When the occupying Nazi forces closed the University in 1939, Karol worked (1940-1944) in a quarry and then in the Solvay chemical factory to earn a living and to avoid deportation to Germany.

Feeling called to the priesthood, he began his studies in 1942 in the clandestine major seminary of Krakow, directed by the Archbishop Adam Stefan Sapieha. During that time, he was one of the organizers of the “Rhapsodic Theatre”, which was also clandestine.

After the war, Karol continued his studies in the major seminary, newly reopened, and in the school of theology at the Jagellonian University, until his priestly ordination in Krakow on 1 November 1946. He became the bishop of Ombi in 1958 and the archbishop of Krakow in 1964. Father Wojtyła was then sent by Cardinal Sapieha to Rome, where he attained a doctorate in theology (1948). He wrote his dissertation on faith as understood in the works of Saint John of the Cross. While a student in Rome, he spent his vacations exercising pastoral ministry among Polish emigrants in France, Belgium and Holland.

One of the Catholic Church’s leading thinkers, he participated in the Second Vatican Council. He also took part in the five assemblies of the Synod of Bishops prior to the start of his Pontificate. In 1978 he became the first non-Italian pope in 400 years. He was an active advocate for human rights and the rights of the unborn. Saint John Paul II died in Italy in 2005, after a pontificate of nearly 27 years. Pope Benedict XVI beatified him in May of 2011 and Pope Francis canonized him on April 27, 2014.

Pope Saint John Paul II established the World Youth Days, which bring together millions of young people from around the globe. He founded the World Meeting of Families in Rome in 1994, and he was also the founder of the Theology of the Body, an integrated vision of the human person and human sexuality—body, soul and spirit. Pope John Paul II made 146 pastoral visits in Italy and, as the Bishop of Rome, he visited 317 Roman parishes. His international apostolic journeys numbered 104 and were expressions of the constant pastoral solicitude of the Successor of Peter for all the Churches. Pope John Paul II also celebrated 147 beatifications, during which he proclaimed 1,338 blesseds, and 51 canonizations, for a total of 482 saints. On 3 May 1981, an attempt was made on Pope John Paul II’s life in Saint Peter’s Square. Saved by the maternal hand of the Mother of God, following a lengthy stay in the hospital, he forgave the attempted assassin and, aware of having received a great gift, intensified his pastoral commitments with heroic generosity.

Saint Pope John Paul II was known for his ability and willingness to reach people around the world as one of the most traveled world leaders, visiting 129 countries during his papacy. He visited Philadelphia in 1979, where he said mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.



Intercessory Prayers to Pope St. John Paul II

Oh, St. John Paul, from the window of heaven, grant us your blessing! Bless the church that you loved and served and guided, courageously leading it along the paths of the world in order to bring Jesus to everyone and everyone to Jesus.

Bless the young, who were your great passion. Help them dream again, help them look up high again to find the light that illuminates the paths of life here on earth.

May you bless families, bless each family! You warned of Satan’s assault against this precious and indispensable divine spark that God lit on earth. St. John Paul, with your prayer, may you protect the family and every life that blossoms from the family.

Pray for the whole world, which is still marked by tensions, wars and injustice. You tackled war by invoking dialogue and planting the seeds of love: pray for us so that we may be tireless sowers of peace.
Oh St. John Paul, from heaven’s window, where we see you next to Mary, send God’s blessing down upon us all. Amen.

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O Holy Trinity,
we thank you for having given to the Church
Pope John Paul II,
and for having made him shine with your fatherly tenderness,
the glory of the Cross of Christ and the splendor of the Spirit of loveHe, trusting completely in your infinite mercy
and in the maternal intercession of Mary, has shown himself
in the likeness of Jesus the Good Shepherd
and has pointed out to us holiness
as the path to reach eternal communion with You.Grant us, through his intercession,
according to your will, the grace that we implore,
in the hope that he will soon be numbered among your saints.Amen.

Prayers by Pope St. John Paul II

Prayer for Hope the Peace is Possible

Jesus I trust in You! Spes contra spem! [Hope against hope!] With God nothing is impossible!
What is especially possible is conversion, which can change hatred into love and war into peace.
And so our prayer becomes all the more insistent and trusting: Jesus, I trust in You!

Prayer for Children

May the Blessed Virgin, who had the joy of bringing and holding in her arms the Son of God made a Child, of seeing Him grow in wisdom, age, and grace before God and man, help each one of us to endow his personal efforts on behalf of little children with active goodness, an attractive example, and self-giving love.

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Prayer to God for Guidance, by Pope Saint John Paul II

O God, You are our Creator.
You are good and Your mercy knows no bounds.
To You arises the praise of every creature.
O God, You have given us an inner law by which we must live.
To do Your will is our task.
To follow Your ways is to know peace of heart.
To You we offer our homage.
Guide us on all the paths we travel upon this earth.
Free us from all the evil tendencies which lead our hearts away from Your will.
Never allow us to stray from You.
O God, judge of all humankind, help us to be included among Your chosen ones on the last day.
O God, Author of peace and justice, give us true joy and authentic love, and a lasting solidarity among peoples.
Give us Your everlasting gifts. Amen!

May the God of mercy, the God of love, the God of peace bless each of you and all the members of your families!