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Maly_KarolWe invite you to discover the history of an exceptional man whose pontificate has a unique place in the recent history of the world, Karol Wojtyla, more commonly known as Pope John Paul II. His timeless message sent to people all over the globe is an expression of incredible wisdom and understanding of contemporary issues. Stressing the role of true values – common to different cultures, religions and beliefs and calling up to reconciliation, cooperation and solidarity, Pope John Paul II gained a widespread respect and became a moral authority for millions of people.

At the same time, John Paul II and his pontificate have a special place in the history of the Catholic Church in Poland and abroad. His whole life was an unceasing discovering and loving God and staying faithful to his words, with simultaneous fascination with every human being, their values and dignity. Therefore, as a blessed person he is now designated as a guiding light to the faithful. It is worth knowing him better.


Early life

Karol Jozef Wojtyla (John Paul II) was born on 18 May 1920, in Wadowice, as a son of Karol Wojtyla and his wife Emilia Kaczorowska. The atmosphere in his family home, the people around him and his close friends strongly influenced the spiritual and intellectual development of the future Pope.


Karol Wojtyla Senior was born on 18 July 1879 in Lipnik near the city of Bielsko- Biala, as a son of Maciej and Anna. There he completed primary school and three classes of gymnasium. From 1900 he served in the Austrian Army, among other places, in Wadowice, Lwow and Krakow. In 1904 he married Emilia Kaczorowska. Three children were born out of this marriage, Edmund, Olga and Karol. When Poland gained independence Karol Wojtyla Senior joined the Polish army as a lieutenant and served there until his retirement about 1927, which was due to his poor health condition.  After his wife’s death in 1929, Karol Senior, who was a hardworking, diligent and intensely religious man, took special care of his youngest son Karol and accompanied him during his school years. From 1938 they lived together in Krakow. He died on 18 February 1942 and four days later was buried at the Rakowicki Cemetery in Krakow.

“Day after day I was able to observe the austere way in which he lived. By profession he was a soldier and, after my mother’s death, his life became one of constant prayer. Sometimes I would wake up during the night and find my father on his knees, just as I would always see him kneeling in the parish church” (John Paul II, “Gift and Mystery”, published by St. Stanislaw BM, Krakow, 1996)

Emilia Wojtyla, nee Kaczorowski, was born on 26 March 1884 in Krakow as the fifth child of the family of Feliks, a saddler, and Maria. Emilia had eight siblings. She graduated from the monastic school of the Sisters of Divine Love. In 1904 she married Karol Wojtyla. She was running the household and taking care of Edmund and Karol; her only daughter, Olga, died shortly after birth. Emilia had poor health and died on 13 April 1929 of inflammation of the heart muscle and kidney.  She was buried in the parish cemetery in Wadowice, and her ashes were later transferred to the Rakowicki Cemetery in Krakow.

“I had not yet made my First Holy Communion when I lost my mother: I was barely nine years old.  So I do not have a clear awareness of her contribution which must have been great to my religious training…”  (John Paul II “Gift and Mystery”, St. Stanislaw BM Publishing House, Krakow 1996)


Edmund Antoni Wojtyla was born on 28 August 1906 as a first child of Karol and Emilia. He was educated in the Austrian Cadet School in Morawy and from 1918 at Wadowice Gymnasium, where he passed matriculation exam in 1924. Within 1924-1925 he studied at the faculty of medicine at the Jagiellonian University. His graduate celebration was held on 29 March 1930 at the Jagiellonian University, in which his brother and father also attended. He worked in the children’s hospital in Krakow and from 1 April 1931 in the City General Hospital in Bielsko- Biala, where he died on 4 December 1932, after a scarlet fever infection.

“It was not given to Edward to work long in this hospital. I do know that he was deeply connected with it, and he treated his work among patients very seriously. I had this feeling when I visited him in the hospital and when we talked about it. In the spirit of medical duties he accompanied in suffering, even when the state of medicine was no longer able to give effective assistance.  And then he experienced the deadly disease. His premature departure cached deep in my heart, but not only mine, since the memory of his Samaritan attitude has survived until now. Seventy years from his death, I still remember him with brotherly love and I recommend his soul to the merciful God “. (From the letter to Bishop Tadeusz Rakoczy on the occasion of giving the hospital in Bielsko- Biala the name of Edmund Wojtyla, Vatican 18/ 06/03).


On 20 June 1920 Karol’s parents carried  their one month’ old son to  the church dedicated to the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, where he was baptized and received the name of Karol Jozef. In the Baptismal Register from the year 1920 there is an entry in Latin: “Karol Jozef Wojtyla, the son of Karol Wojtyla and Emilia Kaczorowska, born on 18 May 1920, baptized on 20 June 1920, Godparents: Jozef Kuczmierczyk and Maria Wiadrowska, Baptised by Franciszek Zak, military chaplain” (Vol. IV, p. 149 item 671).

“When in thought I look back over the long path of my life, I reflect on how the surroundings, the parish and my family brought me to the baptismal font of the church of Wadowice, where I was, given on 20 June 1920 the grace to become a son of God, together with faith in my Redeemer. I have already solemnly kissed this font in the year of the Millennium of the Baptism of Poland, when I was Archbishop of Krakow. Today I wish to kiss it again as Pope, successor of Saint Peter”.

John Paul II, Wadowice, 7 June 1979

Little Karol was called Lolek by his family and close friends and from childhood he experienced great care and love from his family. His friends kept in their memory a picture of Emilia Wojtyla who often spoke with conviction “You’ll see my Lolek will once make a great man”. Karol’s most reliable childhood friend was his elder brother, Edmund. He was an excellent student of medicine. Later he became a doctor, however, he could always find time to make trips with Lolek, play football and talk. At the age of twelve, from the time of his brother’s death, Karol lived alone with his father, who tried to bring him up to be a good person. Three places had a significant impact on shaping Karol’s character: the church, the school and the theatre.

“With filial devotion I kiss the threshold of the family home, expressing gratitude to Divine Providence for the gift of life handed to me by my parents, a warm family nest, for the love of my family, which gave a sense of security and power, even when they had to experience death and the difficulties of everyday life in troubled times” John Paul II, Wadowice, 16 June 1999.


“With profound veneration I also embrace the threshold of the house of God, the parish church of Wadowice, and in it the Baptistery, in which I was joined to Christ and received into the community of his Church. In this church I made my first Confession and received my First Holy Communion. Here I was an altar boy. Here I gave thanks to God for the gift of the priesthood and, as Archbishop of Kraków, I celebrated the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of my Ordination to the Priesthood. God alone, the giver of every grace, knows what goodness and what manifold graces I received from this church and from this parish community. To him, the Triune God, I give glory today at the doors of this church.

John Paul II, Wadowice, 16 June 1999

The parish church in Wadowice, which can be found in the neighbourhood where Karol Wojtyla was born and lived, was an important place in his life. From an early age Lolek willingly took part in the Holy Mass and service. He was encouraged to serve at the altar by priests and his parents, but especially by his father.

“At the age of ten, twelve, I was an altar boy, but I must confess that not to zealous. My mother was already dead…My father seeing my indiscipline said one day: “You are not a good altar boy. You don’t pray enough to the Holy Spirit. You should pray to Him”. And he showed me a prayer (….) I did not forget it. That was an important spiritual lesson, long-lasting and stronger than all that I could pull out from reading or teaching that I received. For this day I hear the conviction with which my Father spoke to me” (Andre Frossard “Portrait of Pope John Paul II).

He was shaped by priests, which were his catechists, carers of the altar boys and ministers involved in the Marian Sodality, including Rev. Kazimierz Figlewicz and Rev. Edward Zacher.

“On the human level, I want to express my feelings of deep gratitude to Rev. Prelate Edward Zacher, who was my religion teacher in the Wadowice Gymnasium, who later gave the talk at my first celebrations as Bishop, Archbishop and Cardinal here in the Church of Wadowice, and who finally has spoken again today on the occasion of this new stage in my life, which cannot be explained except by the boundless mercy of God and the exceptional protection of the Mother of God” (John Paul II, Wadowice, 7June 1979).

He owes his veneration of Our Lady of Mount Carmel to the Carmelites from Górka.

“As for the teenage years I return in spirit to that place of special devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which exerted such great influence on the spirituality of the land of Wadowice. I myself utilize from this place many graces for which I thank God today”.

“As to this day I wear a scapular, as I received it at the Carmelites on Górka as a teenager” (John Paul II, Wadowice, 16 June 1999.)

His early years were also marked by the Sisters of Nazareth, leading orphanage for children in Wadowice, which Lolek also attended.

“In my days there were only the Sisters of Nazareth and I was even going there at age, when a person is called a ‘baby’” (John Paul II, Wadowice, June 16, 1999).

However, it was his father who instilled in Karol the love for the Calvary Sanctuary in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska and the Kalwaria Paths. It all gave shape of his future


Karol Wojtyla began his education in the four-class elementary school in 1926. His class was very large, since there were over sixty students. The boys learned Polish language, religion, arithmetic, singing and drawing, handwork and gymnastics. His colleagues remembered Lolek as a talented student and a good friend. He was happy to assist them in learning.  He finished elementary school with honours.szkola

In 1930, Karol began to attend the Marcin Wadowita eight-class Gymnasium, which was located at 16 Mickiewicz Street (formerly Wiedeńska Street). There, on the wall, there was a meaningful old motto of the Roman poet Albiusa Tibullusa: “Casta placent superis, pura cum veste venite, et minibus puris sumite fontis aquam” (God likes everything that is pure, so come in a clean robe and with clean hands draw water from the source). Karol was developing his humanistic interests; his favourite subjects in addition to Polish language were Latin, Greek and religion…. He was a diligent student, always trying to help the weaker academic colleagues.  On 27 May 1938 after passing his matriculation exam he graduated from the gymnasium.

“Thanks Wadowice for these schools, of which so much I took a light: first elementary school then this excellent Wadowice Gymnasium dedicated to Marcin Wadowity” (John Paul II, Wadowice, 14 August 1991). “In mind and heart I go back to my peer colleagues, the boys and the girls, both from primary school years, and perhaps even more from the years of secondary school, because they lasted longer. I belonged to that generation that went to eight- class Gymnasium. I also go back, together with my peers, to our parents, our teachers and professors. Not many of them are still alive. Some of my peers, especially those with whom we graduated together in 1938 (…)” (John Paul II, 7 June 1979)

“Thanks Wadowice for these schools, of which so much I took a light: first elementary school then this excellent Wadowice Gymnasium dedicated to Marcin Wadowity”

John Paul II, Wadowice, 14 August 1991.

“In mind and heart I go back to my peer colleagues, the boys and the girls, both from primary school years, and perhaps even more from the years of secondary school, because they lasted longer. I belonged to that generation that went to eight- class Gymnasium. I also go back, together with my peers, to our parents, our teachers and professors. Not many of them are still alive. Some of my peers, especially those with whom we graduated together in 1938 (…)”

John Paul II, 7 June 1979


Since his childhood, he was taught Polish literature by his father. School education enabled him to know and acquire a taste for national, classic and world literature. As a student of gymnasium Karol played in Antigone, Balladyna and the Undivine Comedy. But the unique way of declamation of poetry or other texts he learned from Mieczyslaw Kotlarski. wadowice-sokol

“At it (Mickiewicz Street) is a Gymnasium dedicated to Marcin Wadowity, where I was a student for eight years. At first I was a student of primary education here in this building, where the office of the city municipality is now. Then I went to Gymnasium and from Gymnasium to “Sokół” for physical classes. We were also going to “Sokół” to see plays. I also remember Mieczyslaw Kotlarski, the great founder of the speech theatre, I remember my colleagues – Halina Krolikiewiczowna – Kwiatkowska. I recollect also already dead Zbyszek Silkowski, in the house which belonged to the Homme family. In any case, here, in this town, in Wadowice, everything started. My life started, the school started and the studies started, the theatre started and the priesthood started”

John Paul II, Wadowice, 16 June 1999.

“When we were in the fifth class in the secondary school we played Antigone by Sophocles. [Antigone – Halina, Ismene – Kazia, My God] And I played Haemon. “Oh my dear sister, Ismene, do you not see that from Edyps’ disasters no fate will save us?” I remember to this day. [Do you still play now; do you have an amateur theatre in “Sokół”?]. That one was a great one”.

John Paul II, Wadowice, 16 June 1999

Karol Wojtyla moved from Wadowice with his father in 1938 to study Classical Polish in Krakow.


The events of World War II forced Karol Wojtyla to discontinue studies at the Jagiellonian University and to start physical work in the chemical plant “Solvay” in Krakow in order to avoid deportation to the forced labour in Germany. In 1941 Karol lost his last close person – his father, who died after a long, serious illness.motyw_stroj_1

A year later young Wojtyla began to study at the Metropolitan Higher Seminary in Krakow and on 1 November 1946 he was ordained a priest. Then he left for Rome to study at the Papal Athenaeum Angelicum (now the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas) where he also studied the faith issue of St. John of the Cross.   He was granted a doctor’s degree at the Jagiellonian University.

In 1948, Karol Wojtyla served as a vicar and catechist in the parish Niegowic. Soon he was transferred to the parish of St. Florian in Krakow. There he met a group of students, which became his closest friends. One of the factors joining that group together was love for hiking and nature. During the summer they organized hiking to mountains and kayaking, and skiing in the winter. It happened that priest Karol separated from the group to pray and contemplate in peace.  They remember those trips as a form of retreat or an opportunity to solve life problems.

At the beginning of the 50’s he was sent on holiday in order to complete his habilitation thesis. He was publishing in catholic press (monthly “Znak” and weekly “Tygodnik Powszechny”) and writing philosophical essays. From 1954, for almost 25 years, he was teaching theology and ethics at the Catholic University of Lublin. In the eyes of his students he was a demanding lecturer but at the same time fair and open to discussions.motyw_rozaniec

In 1958 he was appointed an auxiliary Bishop and then Archbishop of Krakow (1964) becoming the youngest Archbishop in the world. He was visiting parishes, monasteries and he opened a beatification process of Faustyna Kowalska. He was meeting with artists and the scientists. His next step was joining the Cardinals College (1967), also as the youngest member of this body. He cooperated with the Polish Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, known as Primate of the Millennium and was visiting foreign parishes and universities. In 1976 he led the Vatican Lenten retreat.

On 16 October 1978 Cardinal Karol Wojtyla was elected Bishop of Rome. As Pope he assumed the name of John Paul II.


John Paul II became the leader of the Catholic Church on 16 October 1978 as the 264th Pope in the history. His 27-years’ pontificate was certainly one of the most important events of the last century. He was the first Pope who strived so hard to understand the contemporary world and solve the problems of civilization. He showed concern not only about religious matters but also political, economical, social and cultural. Pope directed his message to people of different cultures, races and beliefs. He was an ally of peace based on mutual respect and tolerance. He had inter-religious dialogue with focus on Judaism and Islam. Through his unusual activities and universal teaching, John Paul II often appeared in newspapers, on the radio and television throughout the world.  His texts were translated into dozens of languages and meetings with him attracted hundreds of thousands of the faithful. During his numerous pilgrimages he visited both big cities – places of worship and small communities. Always open to the world and other people he was spreading Christian values around the globe. Through his pontificate he tried to make the world a better place and also enrich us, the people, spiritually.

Pope John Paul II propagated his teachings by:

  • encyclicals (he published 14 encyclicals in total), apostolic exhortations (15), apostolic constitutions (11)
  • apostolic Letters to the faithful, families and priestsmotyw_list_1
  • messages – messages directed to people in particular life situations, people who needed support and encouragement; Holy Father announced his messages during the World Day for Peace, World Youth Day, and World Day of the Sick
  • speeches and homilies delivered on various occasions, when he was making his numerous pilgrimages.

In his message he especially emphasized issues related to teaching the young people and to the family:

“Those two, my beloved fields of pastoral care: pastoral ministry of youth and marriage, that is families, somehow they constituted a whole, where one results from the other. I often said to the academic priests: it is good that in your conferences you talk about different subjects, but the most important is to prepare young people, the intelligentsia, for life in marriage and Christian family”.

Universities in teaching the Moral Theology of Pope John Paul II,” p. 106, Speech of 8 June 1979

“Among these many paths, the family is the first and the most important. It is a path common to all, yet one which is particular, unique and unrepeatable, just as every individual is unrepeatable”.

„Family, what do you say about yourself?””

  1. 59-60, Letters to families 2.II. 1994, Krakow

“The family, as the fundamental and essential educating community, is the privileged means for transmitting the religious and cultural values which help the person to acquire his or her own identity. Founded on love and open to the gift of life, the family contains in itself the very future of society.”

“The family creates the peace of the human family.” Message for the XXVII World Day for Peace,

1 January 1994

“It is from the family that citizens come to birth and it is within the family that they find the first school of the social virtues that are animating principle of existence and development of the society itself.”

Apostolic Exhortation on the role of the Christian Family in the modern world, Familaris Consortio

XI. 1981.

As an eminent humanist he referred to the sphere of the arts and the culture, emphasizing the importance of human creativity:

“Family, work and culture – around those three realities human life is shaped, here a man’s humanity finds fulfilment, and his Christian personality as child of God, the brother of other people and God of creation is being developed. Those are the universal spheres that determine the integral human development and the specific contribution of the Gospel into the life of society; these are the spheres of life, which raise great questions”.

To the Pontifical Council for the Laity in Castel Gandolfo, 5.X.1981

“You are hearing these words from a man who owes his own spiritual formation from the beginning to polish culture, to its literature, its music, its plastic arts, its theatre—to polish history, to the Polish Christian traditions, to the Polish schools, the Polish universities. Remain faithful to this heritage. Make it the foundation of your formation. Be nobly proud of it. Keep this heritage and multiply it; hand it on to future generations.”

To the young people on the Lech Hill (in Gniezno), 3.VI, 1979

He saw human life as pilgrimage, as a stage of journey leading a man to God:

“We pilgrimage in this world and we are wonderers, who cannot forget about their real and ultimate destiny: heaven”.

Pope’s Catechesis of the Holy Year 2000

  1. 216, Catechesis, 28. II. 2001, Czestochowa 2001.

“Human life is a transition. It’s not a life fully closed between the date of birth and death. It’s open towards the ultimate fulfilment in God. Each of us painfully feels the end of life, the frontier of death. Each of us is somehow aware that man does not fall completely within these limits, he cannot die completely”.

John Paul II to the people of God p. 126- 127

Above all he tried to tell us “how to live a human life so that it was authentic and worth of our heritage as Polish people and Christians, and that it was noble, good and open towards God and towards people”.

Letters to the environment from 8. I. 1997.

“Record of the road. Memories of unknown ministry of Karol Wojtyla” p. 326, Krakow 1999

Jan Paweł II do ludu Bożego, s. 126-127.


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.1jp2 pielgrzymki 2

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.


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


Since 1992 Pope John Paul II suffered from progressing Parkinson disease and from various illnesses common for elderly people. His attitude towards the disease has become an expression of his propounded views. He served his papal duties and his pastoral mission right to the end of his life, even though it required from him a lot of effort and dedication. During the last years of his life he showed to the world that suffering needs to be understood and accepted with pride, you cannot give up but you must fight according to the will of God.pozegnanie_03 www

“When I first visited this shrine in 1979, I asked you to pray for me, while I am alive and after my death. Today I thank you and all the pilgrims of Kalwaria for these prayers, for the spiritual support I continually receive. I continue to ask you: do not stop praying – once again I repeat it – as long as I am alive and after my death. As always, I will repay your kindness by recommending all of you to the merciful Christ and to his Mother”.

John Paul II, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, August 2002.

Pope John Paul II died in the evening on 2 April 2005 in Rome, in 27th year of his pontificate at the age of 85. His funeral took place on Friday, 8 April 2005.

Around 300 thousands people, the Presidents and the Prime Ministers from 150 countries, several kings, the representatives of various religions, including Muslim and Jewish clergy, came to attend the ceremony. Around 5 million people gathered in front of the screens which were set all over the Rome.  John Paul II was buried in the basement of the St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican.

“Today, I thank you warmly today for this prayer. I always feel it at work and I ask you to continue to pray for me. I have so much need of your prayer. The Church has so much need of it. The entire world has need of it.”

John Paul II, Wadowice, 16.06. 1999


1920.05.18 – Karol Wojtyla was born as a son of Karol Wojtyla Senior and Emilia at 7 Koscielna Street in Wadowice

1920.06.20 – Baptized in the parish church of Offertory of Holy Mary in Wadowice

1926-1930 – Attended the elementary school

1929.04.13 – His mother Emilia dies

1929.05.25 – First Holy Communion

1930-1938 – Attended the Marcin Wadowita Gymnasium in Wadowice

1932.12.04 – His brother Edmund dies.

1938.05.03 – Receives the sacrament of Confirmation

1938.05.14 – Matriculation exam at Gymnasium in Wadowice

1938.05.27 – Completes Gymnasium

1938-1939 – Polish Classical studies at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow

1940-1941 – Works in Krakow’s chemical plant “Solvay”

1941.02.18 – His father Karol dies

1942-1946 – Enrols at the underground Seminary for Priests in Krakow, studies theology at the Jagiellonian University

1946.11.01 – Ordained a priest in Archbishop Chapel

1946-1948 – Studies at the “Angelicum” in Rome (awarded doctor’s degree at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow)

1948-1949 – Pastor in the parish Niegowic

1949-1951 – Pastor at St. Florian’s church in Krakow

1951-1954 – Habilitation at the Jagiellonian University, serves as a chaplain for the university students at St. Florian’s parish

from 1954 – Academic teacher of ethics at Catholic University of Lublin

1958.09.28 – Ordained a bishop in the Cathedral of Wawel

1962-1965 – Participates in the works of the Second Vatican Council

1964.01.18 – Nominated Archbishop of Krakow

1964.03.08 – Ceremonial Installation at the Wawel Cathedral

1967.05.29 – Elevated to Cardinal

1967.06.28 – Becomes a member of the College of Cardinals

1976.03.07-13 – Leads a retreat for Pope Paul VI in Vatican

1978.10.16 – Cardinal Karol Wojtyla is elected a Pope and takes the name of John Paul II

1981.05.13 – Assassination attempt on St. Peter’s Square – John Paul II was seriously wounded.

2005.04.02 – On the eve of the Feast of Divine Mercy, Holy Father, Pope John Paul II dies

2005.05.19 – Pope Benedict XVI announced the beginning of the beatification process of John Paul II

2014.04.27 – kanonisation