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John Paul II was unquestionably Pope, who made the most pilgrimages in the entire history. During his pontificate he went on 104 international pilgrimages. He visited 129 countries on all continents. Furthermore, he took more than 140 pastoral visits within Italy. He travelled over 1, 5 million km around the world spreading the teachings of Jesus Christ.
He spoke to millions of people, visited places never visited by any of the previous Popes before. He was famous for knowledge of many languages, through which he had even better contact with people of different nationalities.
Meetings with Him were great events for the faithful; they were of almost mystical nature, very often changing people for their whole future life.
John Paul visited his homeland eight times.
JOHN PAUL II PILGRIMAGES TO POLAND
Ist Pilgrimage to Poland: 2-10 June 1979
The first apostolic trip of John Paul II to his homeland ran under the motto “Gaude Mater Polonia”. Then we could hear memorable words of the Holy Father “Let your Spirit descent and renew the face of the Earth, the face of this land”. These words were of special significance for the Polish society, in which the idea of change of the political system was crystallizing. It is said, that without this pilgrimage ”Solidarność” would not exist and the subsequent overthrow of the communist system wouldn’t take place. During this pilgrimage John Paul II, for the first time as Pope, visited his hometown – Wadowice (See gallery)
IInd Pilgrimage to Poland: 16-23 June 1983
John Paul II’s visit under the motto: “Poland, my Fatherland”. Referring to the period of martial law, the Pope tried to give the Poles faith and hope. He argued that it is not about military victory, but moral victory and that evil must be conquered by good and that “love is stronger than death”.
IIIrd Pilgrimage to Poland: 8-14 June 1987
Motto: “To the end He loved them”.
John Paul II defended the dignity of the Poles against the then government, stressing that every man has his personal dignity, deserves to be treated subjectively and the citizens should have an influence on the fate of their country.
IVth Pilgrimage to Poland: 1-9 June, 13-20 August 1991
Visit under the motto: “Give thanks to God, do not quench the spirit”.
When visiting free Poland, Holy Father tried to make his compatriots aware that freedom is not everything, that realistic freedom must be based on truth and Christian values. Pope also devoted much attention to the role of the Church in the new Republic of Poland. During the second stage of the pilgrimage connected with the VI World Youth Day which was held on Jasna Gora, Holy Father visited Wadowice for the second time (See gallery)
Vth Pilgrimage to Poland: 22 May 1995
“The time of trial for Polish consciences continues”- these words John Paul II said during a few-hour visit to some Polish cities: Skoczow, Bielsko- Biala, Zywiec, organized on the occasion of pilgrimage to Czech Republic. The Pope warned against misleading, too broad understanding of tolerance, which, in fact, may become intolerance towards the people believing in God
VIth Pilgrimage to Poland: 31 May- 10 June 1997
Pilgrimage under the theme: “Christ yesterday, today and forever”.
Pope appealed to the ecclesiastical hierarchs for a greater opening towards Europe, underlying possible contribution of the Polish Church in the spiritual life of the old continent. He also warned against interpreting freedom as an absolute freedom – world without any true values, in which man becomes a slave of his own instincts and desires.
VIIth Pilgrimage to Poland: 5-7 June 1999
Trip under the motto: “God is love”. Holy Father visited as many as 21 places and beatified 108 Polish martyrs of World War II. He emphasized the role of the Church in political changes taking place in Poland and the importance of ethical values in the democratic system. He strongly supported the idea of Polish integration with the European Union. He also visited Wadowice for the third time, where he said: “Here, in this town, everything started. My life started, the school started and the studies started, the theatre started, and the priesthood started”. ( See gallery)
VIIIth Pilgrimage to Poland: 16- 19 August 2002
The last Pilgrimage of Holy Father to Poland was held under the motto “God is full of mercy”. During this visit John Paul II consecrated Krakow’s Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Lagiewniki and he also visited Kalwaria Zabrzydowska