Skip to content ↓

St Peter's
Catholic School

John Paul II

St John Paul II

John Paul II was called Karol Wojtyla  before he was made Pope in 1978.  His sister died before he was born, his mother died when he was 8, his brother died when he was 12 and his father died when he was 20, leaving him as the only member of his immediate family. 

He enjoyed poetry and drama growing up and was part of a theatre group. His university was closed  by Nazi troops during the German occupation of Poland. He was forced to work so he could stay in his home country of Poland. In 1942 he secretly entered into seminary to train to become a priest. He was ordained a priest in 1946, a bishop in 1958 and cardinal in 1967.

He was elected as Pope in 1978 and took the name John Paul II in respect of the previous Pope who died after 33 days as Pope. He was the first non-Italian Pope in more than four hundred years.

On the 13th May 1981 he was shot and seriously wounded. After his recovery he met with his assassin in prison and forgave the man.  He loved young people and began to gather young people to meet with them. This event was called World Youth Day. He was also a supporter of human rights and is credited with the fall of communism in Poland.

He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He died on the 2nd April 2005 and people asked for him to become a saint.  He was made a saint by Pope Francis on  the 27th April 2014.