St. John Paul II (October 22)
St. John Paul II was born Karol J. Wojtyla, was born in Wadowice, a small city from Cracow, on May 18, 1920. He was enrolled in Crocow's Jagiellonian University in 1938 and in a school for drama. When the Nazi occupation forces closed the university in 1939, young Karol worked in a quarry and then in the Solvay chemical factory to earn his living and to avoid being deported to Germany.
In 1942, aware of his call to the priesthood, he began courses in the clandestine seminary of Cracow, run by the archbishop of Cracow. At the same time, Karol Wojtyla was one of the pioneers of the "Rhapsodic Theatre," also clandestine. After the Second World War, he continued his studies in the major seminary of Cracow, once it had reopened, and in the faculty of theology of the Jagiellonian University, until his priestly ordination in Cracow on November 1, 1946. As time passed, Jagellonian University merged its theology program with the archdiocesan seminary. In effect, the entire faculty of the theology school was eliminated. So Fr. Karol Wojtyla accepted what was originally a non-tenured professorship at the Catholic University of Lublin. In 1956 he was appointed to a Chair in Ethics and the next year he was approved as a full lecturer. For the next 20 years he taught and developed his thought in the field of Ethics and moral Theology.
In 1958 He received his first Episcopal assignment as an auxiliary Bishop to assist Archbishop Eugeniusz Baziak of Krakow. On October 5, 1962, Bishop Karol Wojtyla joined Bishops from around the world as the Second Vatican Council was convened in Rome. He attended every one of the sessions, contributing significantly and being deeply formed as well as changed by the experience. When the archbishop of Krakow died, Wojtyla was called to the invitation of the Lord speaking through His Church, and elevated from auxiliary Bishop to Bishop of Krakow - appointed by Pope St. John XXII, and formally installed March 8, 1964 by Pope Paul VI. He would later be elevated to the office of Cardinal by Pope Paul VI on May 29, 1967.
The death of Pope Paul VI on August 6, 1978, the Feast of the Transfiguration, brought Cardinal Wojtyla to Rome where he participated in the Conclave which elected Cardinal Albino Luciani of Venice as Pope. John Paul I, sadly, died in office only 33 days later. It was at this next conclave that Wojtyla would be chosen as 263rd successor to the Chair of Peter - taking the name John Paul II.
During his pontificate, he travelled much, wrote extensively, was a promoter of peace, a champion of freedom, a healer of divisions, an apostle of life, a man of living faith, the lion becoming a lamb, an Evangelist. He went home to the Father having become a seed of the "New Springtime" he proclaimed. The Lord proclaimed that "unless a grain of wheat fall to the ground . . ." and when this Pope's prophetic mission on Earth was over, he joined the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and the Lamb Who was slain for our sins. On April 2, 2005, the Octave of Easter and the Vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday, he died.Almost immediately he was hailed as John Paul the Great by the ordinary laity. John Paul was Canonized on April 27, 2014.