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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:
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?””
“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
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
“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.