Holy Mass for the Beatification of the Servant of God and previous Pontiff, John Paul II. The Mass is celebrated by the Holy Father Benedict XVI in St Peters Square.
Holy Mass for the Beatification of the Servant of God John Paul II. The Mass is celebrated by the Holy Father Benedict XVI. Saint Peter's Square, Vatican city.01/05/2011
Karol Józef WoJtyla, elected to the Papacy on October 16, 1978,
was born in Wadowice (Poland) on May 18, 1920.
He was the second of two children born to Karol Wojtyla and
Emilia Kaczorowska. His mother died in 1929. His older brother,
Edmund, a doctor, died in 1932 followed by his father, an under
official of the Armed Forces, who died in 1941.
At the age of nine Karol made his First Holy Communion, followed at the age of eighteen by the sacrament of Confirmation.
After having completed high school in Wadowice, he enrolled as a
student at the Jagiellonian University of Cracow in 1938.
Following the occupation by the Nazi forces and the University’s closure in 1939, the young Karol was forced to earn a living by
working in a mine and in the Solvay chemical factory in order to
avoid deportation to Germany.
Starting in 1942, after having felt the call to the priesthood,
Karol began secretly to frequent courses at the clandestine Major
Seminary in Cracow, directed by the Archbishop, Cardinal Adam
Stefan Sapieha. At the same time, he was also one of the promoters
of the clandestine “Rhapsodic Theater”.
After the war, Karol continued his studies at Cracow’s Major
Seminary which had been reopened, and then at the Faculty of
Theology of the Jagiellonian University until his priestly ordination in Cracow on November 1, 1946. He was then sent to Rome
by Cardinal Sapieha where he pursued a Doctorate in Theology
(1948), with a thesis on the topic of faith in the works of St. John
of the Cross. During that time, in vacation periods, he exercised his
pastoral ministry among Polish immigrants in France, Belgium
In 1948, he returned to Poland and was at first assistant priest
in the parish of Niegowic, near Cracow, and then in the Church of
Saint Florian in the same city. As University Chaplain until 1951, he
continued to study both Philosophy and Theology. In 1953, he presented a thesis at the Catholic University of Lublin on the “Evaluation of the Possibility of Constructing a Christian Ethic on the Ethical
System of Max Scheler”. Later, he would become Professor of Moral
Theology and Ethics at the Major Seminary of Cracow and at the
Theological Faculty of Lublin.
On July 4, 1958, he was nominated by Pope Pius XII as Auxiliary Bishop of Cracow and Titular Bishop of Ombi. He was ordained
Bishop on September 28, 1958 in the Cathedral of Wawel (Cracow)
by Archbishop Eugeniusz Baziak.
On January 13, 1964, he was nominated as Archbishop of Cracow by Pope Paul VI, who also later made him a Cardinal on June
Wojtyla also participated in the Second Vatican Council (1962-
65), at which he made an important contribution to the preparation of the Constitution Gaudium et Spes. Preceding his Pontificate, Wojtyla would also take part in five assemblies of the Synod of
He was elected to the Papacy on October 16, 1978. On October
22nd he began his ministry as Shepherd of the Universal Church.
Pope John Paul II made 146 pastoral visits in Italy and as Bishop
of Rome he visited 317 of the 332 parishes in Rome. The apostolic trips made throughout the world, an expression of his constant
pastoral solicitude as Successor of St. Peter for the whole Church,
added up to a total of 104.
Among the primary documents which he wrote are: 14 Encyclicals, 15 Apostolic Exhortations, 11 Apostolic Constitutions and 45
Apostolic Letters. He also wrote numerous other works including five books: “Crossing the Threshold of Hope” (October 1994), “Gift
and Mystery: on the Fiftieth Anniversary of My Priesthood” (November 1996), “Roman Triptych: Meditations” (March 2003), “Rise,
Let us be on our way!” (May 2004), and “Memory and Identity”
Pope John Paul II presided over 147 Beatifications, declaring
1,338 beatified and 51 Canonizations, proclaiming a total of 482
saints. He also officiated in nine Consistories thereby creating 231
(plus 1 “in pectore”) Cardinals and presided at six plenary reunions
of the College of Cardinals.
Beginning in 1978, he convoked 15 Assemblies of the Synod of
Bishops: six Ordinary General Assemblies (1980, 1983, 1987, 1990;
1994 and 2001), one Extraordinary General Assembly (1985) and
eight Special Assemblies (1980, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998 
On May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II was the victim of an attack
in St. Peter’s Square. Having been saved by the maternal hand of
the Mother of God, and following a long recovery, he forgave his
attacker. Grateful for the gift of new life, he intensified his pastoral
work with heroic generosity.
His solicitude as pastor was expressed, moreover, in the erection of numerous dioceses and ecclesiastical circumscriptions, as
well as by the promulgation of the Codes of Canon Law for the Latin Catholic and Eastern Catholic Churches. As an encouragement
to the People of God, he also inaugurated moments of particular
spiritual intensity such as the Year of the Redemption, the Marian
Year, and the Eucharistic Year as well as the Great Jubilee of the
Year 2000. He also attracted younger generations by the celebration
of World Youth Days.
No other Pope had ever encountered as many people as John
Paul II: the number of pilgrims at the Wednesday General Audien
ces alone (more than 1,160 audiences) came to over 17 million pilgrims, to say nothing of the special audiences and other religious
services (the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 alone saw the
arrival of 8 million pilgrims), and the other millions of faithful that
he met during apostolic visits in Italy or throughout the world.
Numerous government officials were also received in audience:
there were 38 official visits and a further 738 audiences or meetings
with Heads of State, along with 246 visits with Prime Ministers.
John Paul II died in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace on Saturday,
April 2, 2005 at 9:37 p.m., on the Vigil of the Sunday in Albis, also
commemorated as Divine Mercy Sunday, which he had instituted.
On April 8th, John Paul II was buried in the Vatican Grotto following the solemn funeral celebrated in St. Peter’s Square.