Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Beatification of John Paul II

"Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought..."
John Paul II

     John Paul II - Jan Paweł II (May 18, 1920 - April 2, 2005) made many Polish people proud during his almost 27 years of pontificate. In fact, Poland became known to many travellers as Pope's Country. Today, as I am writing this post, we have Blessed John Paul II.
     Beatification mass of John Paul II took place on May 1, 2011 in Rome, Italy. I watched it on TV and I have to admit that it was a remarkable moment for me. When John Paul's portrait was unveiled from the balcony accompanied by music and crowd's ovation, my eyes got wet. I saw a big sea of white and red flags waving all over St. Peter's Square, and I was amazed with the amount of Polish people who travelled to Vatican to participate in the beatification mass. I saw flags, banners and pictures with the image of The Holy Father, and I saw smiles and tears of joy on people's faces.  Approximately 1.5 million people from all over the world gathered together to celebrate his life and to be happy for him.
A little bit of Facts:
  • Karol Józef Wojtyła - birth name before he became a Pope and chose the name of John Paul II
  • Born in Wadowice, Poland
  • Lost both parents and siblings at an early age
  • Was enrolled at Jagiellonian University in Kraków closed by German occupation forces after invasion of Poland. Studied philology and had a great talent for languages - he knew twelve languages (!) and used nine of them as Pope. He spoke: Italian, French, German, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Croatian, Latin and native Polish. Impressive, isn't it?
  • 1942 - began studies for the priesthood in the underground seminary
  • 1946 - became a priest and after that, studied theology in Rome, and earned doctorate in sacred theology
  • 1954 - earned second doctorate in philosophy
  • Created poetry and plays, wrote books and articles
  • 1958 - was appointed to the position of Bishop of Kraków
  • 1964 - became an Archbishop
  • 1967 - became a Cardinal
  • 1978 - became a Pope of the Catholic Church - first non-Italian Pope since four centuries - and chose the name John Paul II
  • Karol Wojtyła and later Jan Paweł II was a big athlete, loved soccer and hiking. As Pope he would still exercise - jogging, weight training, mountain hiking were his favorite.
  • 1981 - Mehmet Ali Agca attempted to kill John Paul II and shot him in his stomach when Pope was reaching for a little girl from the crowd in St. Peter's Square (he aimed in Pope's head). John Paul went through a very long surgery and survived. He visited later Turkish gunman in prison and forgave him... Isn't it something big? Until this day, it is a mystery who stands behind that attack. The gunman changed his story over 120 times!!!
  • Pope had great relationship with Catholic Youth and was called "The Pope of Youth". In 1984 established World Youth Day in order to bring all young Catholics together to celebrate the faith. The celebrations brought millions of young people together and each time would take place in different country, including Pope's native Poland.
  • 1992 - John Paul II developed Parkinson's Disease which would progress over years.
  • He was a first Pope to visit White House.
  • Received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in June 2004, presented to him by George W. Bush - America's highest civilian honor.
  • John Paul II travelled all over the world and visited 129 countries during his pontificate. He would kiss ground of visited country upon his arrival to express his love and gratitude towards hosting country and mother earth.
  • After his death, crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square would call: "Santo Subito!" which means "Saint immediately!". His successor, Pope Benedict XVI began beatification process for John Paul II skipping five-year rule which says that beatification process can start five years after death.
  • Sister Marie Simone-Pierre, a French nun said that she recovered from Parkinson's Disease after praying to John Paul. Benedict XVI declared that cure miraculous.
  • Beatification Mass took place in St. Peter's Square in Rome on May 1, 2011 and as mentioned before, attracted over a million people.

Here is a song about Pope's home town Wadowice:
"I have a sweet tooth for song and music. This is my Polish sin."
John Paul II

Jan Paweł II will remain in hearts of many people and will be remembered as smiling, often joking Pope, who would sing with the crowd. He will be remembered for his love for world, and for wanting peace on earth. He will be remembered for his strength while he suffered, but never gave up his duties. Blessed John Paul II. (In Polish: Błogosławiony Jan Paweł II )  

One more song showing scenes from Pope's life.
It also shows John Paul II hiking in Polish mountains,
enjoying the beauty of Poland:

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