Congratulations to His Holiness on the 22nd Anniversary of his formal installation to the throne of Peter|
part one: From Cradle to Conclave
No Pope in the history of the holy pontiffs has a more varied background,
or is more in-touch with the needs of all his flock than Karol Jozef
Wojtyla, the 263rd successor of Peter who took the name John Paul II on
October 16, 1978 and was elevated to the throne of Peter six days later on
October 22, 1978. Below is a capsule look by years of his life from the
cradle Catholic years of his ethnic background to the tumultuous time of
the Third Reich in his own backyard; to his involvement in preserving the
faith not only his own but those of other faiths; to being ordained a
priest of God and his further education after the war at the world renowned
Angelicum in Rome where he would return numerous times as an active
participant in the Second Vatican Council II, then as member of the College
of Cardinals where he would eventually find himself the chosen one by his
peers. Below, in honor of the 22nd Anniversary of his Pontificate, is a trip down memory lane with highlights of his life as young boy, a seminarian, priest, Bishop, Archbishop, Cardinal. In the second part we detail his years as Head of the Holy Roman Catholic
Church, found at THE PAPAL YEARS No Pope has traveled as extensively and reached out to so many
millions of people of all faiths as our present pontiff. He truly is the
"Pilgrim Pope". He truly is formed in the Immaculate Heart of Mary and
Totus Tuus - Totally Yours. He is the man God has carefully chosen to lead
us all in these troubled times.
FROM CRADLE TO CONCLAVE
THE EARLY YEARS OF FORMATION
May 18, 1920
Karol Jozef Wojtyla is born in Wadowice, Poland during the sixth year of
the reign of Pope Benedict XV, 258th Pontiff. Wadowice in southern Poland
is 20 pius miles southwest of Krakow and 20 miles from the Czech border.
He is born in a three room flat at 7 Church St. a block away from the
Parish Church of Our Lady on the square where he is baptized on June 20.
His father, Karol Sr., a retired officer in the Austro-Hungarian army, is a
Lieutenant in the Polish Army.
Karol's mother Emelia Kaczorowska Wojtyla dies during the 7th year of the
reign of Pius XI, 259th successor of Peter. Emelia is taken at the age of
45 during childbirth. She was a school teacher of Lithuanian descent.
Karol receives his First Holy Communion at the Parish of Our Lady and
begins serving as an Altar Boy. He had hoped his mother would have lived
to see this. Two years later his brother Edmond, 15 years older, would die
of Scarlet Fever contracted while a Medical School intern.
Karol enters the Boys High School in Wadowice where he excels as a talented
student and athlete. One of his teachers is quoted as saying: "He was the
nearest to genius that I ever had."
Karol graduates High School in the 15th year of the reign of Pope Pius XI,
259th Pontiff. He is anxious to pursue a career in drama and acting as he
is encouraged by his teachers.
Karol is confirmed in Krakow on May 3 during the 18th year of the reign of
Pius XI. Karol moves with his father to Krakow where he would reside for
the next 40 years. Here he enrolls in the department of philosophy at the
same university where Copernicus studied - Jagiellonian University, 2nd
oldest University in central Europe. He also joins the "Rhapsodic Theatre."
Nazis invade Poland in September six months after Pius XII is proclaimed
the 160th Pope in the succession of Peter. The University is closed and Karol is sent to a rock quarry and later to a chemical plant as a manual laborer. While reflecting on the evils of totalitarianism, Karol begins
writing plays which to this day are still being published and produced.
Karol is laid up in the hospital due to a trolley accident. During this
time he contemplates on the priesthood but opts for continuing as an actor.
A while later he is again struck, this time by a Nazi truck and while laid
up in recuperation, his vocation is fostered in part from reading Saint John
of the Cross' "Dark Night of the Soul".
Karol's father dies of a heart attack in February leaving him alone in a
war-torn country. He becomes active in underground movement with members
of the Christian Resistance (UNIA) in helping protect Jewish families.
Under the guidance of prayer group leader Jan Tyranowski, who, when Karol became Pope, would later refer as "a real master of the spiritual life", he fostered a vocation to Karol's priesthood.
Karol enters underground seminary organized by Archbishop Adam Stefan
Sapieha, who had been recruiting Karol for some time. Earlier, when
informed Karol wanted to be an actor first, the Archbishop had said: "What
a pity. We could use a man like that in the Church." As it would turn
out, Karol would lead the Church during her most difficult times.
Karol eludes the Nazis. Because of his participation with the underground
resistance he is now on the Nazi blacklist and becomes a hunted man. Along
with his fellow seminarians, Karol is hidden at the Archbishop's palace until the war is over.
THE PRIESTLY YEARS
Karol Wojtyla is ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Sapieha on the
Feast of All Saints in the 8th year of the reign of Pius XII. Karol is then sent to Rome to study advanced Theology at the Angelicum and there develops his long-standing interest in Christian mysticism, doing a
doctoral dissertation on St. John of the Cross.
Karol returns to Poland, assigned to Parish work as a deacon in Niegowic
and then at St. Florian's where, as pastor he pursues working with the
youth, a special interest and bond he would always have which ultimately
would lead to establishing World Youth Days in 1984.
Father Karol receives his second doctorate, this time in Philosophy,
centered on the work of Max Scheler, an early German proponent of
phenomenology. He is assigned to teach part time at the Catholic
University of Lublin behind iron curtain and where later he would be named
Chairman of the Philosophy Department.
Father Karol Wojtyla becomes the youngest bishop in Poland when, on
September 8th he is consecrated auxiliary bishop of Krakow in Warsaw. He
is elevated to the Episcopacy during the 20th and final year of the reign
of Pius XII. He's notified of this while on a backpacking and canoeing
trip with some youth from the university.
THE EPISCOPAL YEARS
Bishop Karol, in the inaugural year of the reign of Pope John XXIII, 261st
successor of Peter, is named to the Polish Academy of Sciences in recognition of his work in philosophy. He is a major force in the intellectual life o his country.
Bishop Wojtyla becomes an active participant of the Second Vatican Council
called by Pope John XXIII, 261st Pontiff in the 4th year of his reign. His
major contribution is his Dignitalis Humanae, the Declaration on Religious
Freedom. It proves the false humanistic tendencies of Marx and Lenin and
modernism in the west.
Bishop Karol Wojtyla is elevated to Archbishop of the See of Krakow on
January 13th during the 2nd year of the reign of Pope Paul VI, 262nd Supreme Pontiff. He
contributes to concilliar documents: Lumen Gentium and Gaudium et Spes to
name a few while emphasizing his Declaration which would have far-reaching
effects on human rights and for the persecuted Church in communist countries.
Archbishop Wojtyla is elevated to Cardinal on June 26th by Pope Paul VI
during the fifth year of his reign. He is instrumental in diplomacy with
the Polish government in allowing worship to continue in Poland and he
takes an active role in the International Synod of Bishops.
Cardinal Wojtyla publishes his book "Foundations of Renewal" during the 9th
year of the Paul VI's reign. The book reflects his efforts to educate the
people of his archdiocese on Vatican II.
Upon the death of Paul VI on August 6th, Cardinal Wojtyla is called to Rome
to elect John Paul I the 263rd Pontiff on August 26th. He interrupts a
camping trip with some youth to travel to Rome and returns to Poland to
resume his excursion with them.
October 22, 2000
volume 11, no. 208
22nd ANNIVERSARY OF POPE JOHN PAUL II's ENTHRONEMENT - Part One
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