REMEMBERING POPE JOHN PAUL II
His Holiness Pope John Paul II, born Karol Jozef Wojtyla, (May 18, 1920 … April 2, 2005) was Pope, Bishop of Rome, and head of the Roman Catholic Church from October 16, 1978 until his death.
John Paul II was chosen for the papacy on October 16, 1978, becoming the first non-Italian pope in 455 years and the first of Slavic origin in the history of the Church. He crusaded against communism, unbridled capitalism and political oppression. He stood firmly against abortion and defended the Church’s more traditional approach to human sexuality.
His more than 100 trips abroad attracted enormous crowds (among them some of the largest ever assembled in human history). With these trips, John Paul covered a distance far greater than that traveled by all other popes combined. They have been seen as an outward sign of the efforts at global bridge-building between nations and between religions that have been central to his pontificate.
Pope John Paul II beatified and canonized far more persons than any previous pope. It is reported that as of October 2004, he had beatified 1,340 people. Whether he had canonized more saints than all his predecessors put together, as is sometimes claimed, is difficult to prove, as the records of many early canonizations are incomplete, missing or inaccurate.
On March 14, 2004, his pontificate overtook Leo XIII’s as the third-longest pontificate in the history of the Papacy (after Pius IX and St Peter). The length of his reign is in marked contrast with that of his predecessor Pope John Paul I, who died suddenly after only 33 days in office (and in whose memory John Paul II named himself).
Pope John Paul II died after a long fight against Parkinson’s Disease, amongst other illnesses, on April 2, 2005. His funeral is expected to take place on Wednesday April 6, 2005. His last message was to the youth and the young people around the world, he said “I came for you, now it’s you who have come to me. I thank you”. He died on the first Shabbat after Easter Sunday.
— from Wikipedia, the free-content encyclopedia.
You can read more at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_John_Paul_II