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Saint Pope John Paul II - a personal tribute

Updated on July 23, 2014

Saint John Paul II in 1993

Who was this polish Pope?

Born Karol Józef Wojtyła on 18 May 1920, in Wadowice, Poland

Papacy began 16 October 1978 - the first non-Italian pope in 455 years

Papacy ended with his death on 2 April 2005, aged 84

Beatified 1 May 2011

Canonised on 27 April 2014,

Predecessor John Paul I

Successor Benedict XVI

I’m not going to write much here about the man, the pope, or the church he led. So much has already been written about him - follow that - as they say on stage and in theatre. He is one of my great heroes, his reign spanned 26 years of my life.

Nobody is perfect – and I’m sure he wasn’t. But as an inspiration to many, Saint John Paul II will live in the hearts of millions of people – Catholics or not – for ever.

This hub is simply to raise his profile, to bring some of his wisdom and love to others through his writings, quotes and example.

His death was a moment of both great sadness and great joy. Sadness in that we had lost our father 'Il Papa', and great joy in that he was now with God and his earthly life was then joined with heaven.

Cardinal Ratzinger (as he then was) said at the funeral mass

‘"We can be sure that our beloved Pope is standing today at the window of the Father's house, that he sees us and blesses us,"

I'm sure that he is doing just that.

Word pictures of the way he lived and worked

I have found some stories, quotes and pictures which tell us something about the man.

From an interview for Frontline by Eamon Duffy which can be found in full here:

‘He would tramp into the meetings, always just before they started, and on one occasion, he marched in (he walked all the way from wherever it was in Rome he was staying), and his cassock and his feet and his socks were sopping wet, skirted up his sock, took his shoes and socks off, squeezed the water from the socks and hung them on the radiator and he said, "Gentlemen, should we get down to business?"

And they were just so entranced by a bishop with balls. You know, a man who was rugged and the energy and the lack of self importance. And so people suddenly felt here was somebody who wasn't tired, somebody who had vigor who was absolutely sure of himself.

He could take his socks off in public.'

Quotes from a piece by Jane Barnes and Helen Whitney found on Frontline, the rest of this long article can be found here:

"To understand this Pope, you must go back to his Polish roots."

‘All of the major themes of John Paul II's papacy can be traced to the shaping events of his life--a life whose roots are sunk in Polish soil. His Christian vision, his vocation, his very emotions draw their depth and intensity from the country he left to become Holy Father of the Catholic Church in Rome. ‘

‘As the Vicar of Jesus Christ and successor of St. Peter, he has revolutionized the office of the modern pope.’

‘He has been the skiing pope, the poet pope, the best-selling CD pope, the designer robes pope, the intellectual pope.’

‘He is the pope who brought down Communism; the pope who worked ceaselessly towards Christian reconciliation with the Jews; the pope who raised his voice against the contemporary evil in our "culture of death." He has never consulted pollsters, but marched to a stern, unyielding drummer.'

‘So John Paul II has also been the infuriating pope, the retrograde pope, the silencing pope, the pope who has ignored the revolutionary changes in the status of women. His uncompromising limitations--as well as his extraordinary accomplishments-- all reflect the impress of a vanished world: the Poland where Karol Wojtyla came of age.'

Banner on St Peters Basilica for the canonisation Mass


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    • Mary Contrary profile image

      Mary Contrary 7 years ago from Columbus, OH

      with his beatification we are now officially recognizing what a gift he was to us. I'm happy to have lived when he did.

    • supercibor profile image

      Hector Herrera 7 years ago from Dominican Republic

      Very charismatic and unique

    • dragonbear profile image

      dragonbear 8 years ago from Essex UK

      Dolores, you're right. He was an extraordinary man, whatever one's politics or religion, he was quite something indeed and made an incredible impression on the world.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 8 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Whatever one thinks of Pope John Paul, he was quite something. You don't always have to agree with someone's politics to understand that they are a truely holy person. I love the stories of how he went trampling through the mountains and let those political theatre troups in his anti-Nazi youth. Also like how he came out against rampant capitalism.

    • dragonbear profile image

      dragonbear 8 years ago from Essex UK

      Yes itakins, you're right. The last years of his life were an inspiration. He shared his suffering with great love and showed us all the way.

    • itakins profile image

      itakins 8 years ago from Irl

      Truly a great man-who suffered much,like many holy people.