Unique medal honoring St. John Paul ll.
Pope John Paul ll was born Karol Josef Woytyla on May 18, 1920 in Wadowice, Poland. He was ordained a priest in 1946. He became cardinal in 1967 and the pope in 1978. He made history by becoming the first non-Italian pope in more than 400 years. As the Vicar of Christ and the successor of St. Peter, he has revolutionized the office of the modern pope. He has taken his mission out of the Vatican and traveled to more than 100 countries spreading his message of faith and peace. He had a great love of prayer, especially Eucharistic prayer. He has written an extraordinary number of encyclicals, letters and homilies. He canonized 482 saints and beatified 1,338 people. He was also a vocal advocate for human rights who was credited with the fall of communism in his native Poland.
Pope John Paul ll was a great influence on the youth. He always had a wonderful relationship from his early days as a priest by inviting them to mass, conferences, hiking and spending time outdoors until his last days as the pope always inspiring them with his strong faith and love for them. He reached out to them when he became pope and gathered with millions of youth around the world throughout his pontificate and during World Youth Day. Pope John Paul ll was blessed with charisma and a youthful spirit and it showered through the love that the youth had for him.
"Do not be afraid to be the saints of the new millennium, if you become what you are, you will set the whole world on fire."
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Pope John Paul ll died on April 2, 2005. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Bendict XVI, presided at the funeral Mass and concluded his homily by saying: "None of us can ever forget how, on the last Easter Sunday of his llife, the Holy Father, marked by suffering, came once more to the window of the Apostolic Palace and one last time gave his blessing urbi et orbi ('to the city and to the world').
St. John Paul ll is the patron of World Youth Day. His feast day is celebrated on October 22nd.