紀念日 / Memorial date
Saint John Paul II, Pope
“Open wide the doors to Christ,” urged John Paul II during the homily at the Mass where he was installed as pope in 1978.
Born in Wadowice on May 18, 1920, Poland, Karol Jozef Wojtyla had lost his mother, father, and older brother before his 21st birthday. Karol’s promising academic career at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University was cut short by the outbreak of World War II. While working in a quarry and a chemical factory, he studied in an “underground” seminary in Kraków. Ordained as a priest in 1946, he was sent to Rome where he earned a doctorate in theology.
On 4 July 1958, Pope Pius XII appointed Father Wojtyła auxiliary bishop of Krakow, with the titular see of Ombi. Archbishop Eugeniusz Baziak ordained him in Wawel Cathedral (Krakow) on 28 September 1958.
On 13 January 1964, Pope Paul VI appointed Bishop Wojtyła as Archbishop of Krakow and subsequently, on 26 June 1967, created him a Cardinal. Bishop Wojtyła took part in the Second Vatican Council (1962- 1965) and made a significant contribution to the drafting of the Constitution Gaudium et Spes.
On 16 October 1978, Cardinal Wojtyła was elected Pope and on 22 October he began his ministry as universal Pastor of the Church. In time, he made pastoral visits to 124 countries, including several with small Christian populations.
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.
John Paul II promoted ecumenical and interfaith initiatives, especially the 1986 Day of Prayer for World Peace in Assisi. He visited Rome’s main synagogue and the Western Wall in Jerusalem; he also established diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel. He improved Catholic-Muslim relations, and in 2001 visited a mosque in Damascus, Syria.
Pope John Paul II died on Saturday, 2 April 2005, the vigil of Sunday in albis or Divine Mercy Sunday, which he had instituted.
Pope Benedict XVI beatified John Paul II in 2011, and Pope Francis canonized him in 2014.
O God, who are rich in mercy and who willed that St. John Paul the Second should preside as Pope over your universal Church, grant, we pray, that instructed by his teaching, we may open our hearts to the saving grace of Christ, the sole Redeemer of mankind. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.