Saint John Paul II: Life and Legacy Resources

Feast Day – October 22


St. John Paul II - Vatican web site: writings, documents, speeches, homilies:

St. John Paul II - Biographical Profile

His principal documents include 14 Encyclicals, 15 Apostolic Exhortations, 11 Apostolic Constitutions and 45 Apostolic Letters. He also wrote five books…

He also attracted young people by beginning the celebration of World Youth Day.

Pope John Paul II died in the Apostolic Palace on Saturday, 2 April 2005, the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday, which he had instituted.


Important dates in the life of Pope John Paul II

The longest reigning pope in modern history, John Paul II, took his message on the road, visiting 129 countries – several repeatedly – 104 trips and logging more than 700,000 miles in a papacy that lasted more than 27 years.

As the first non-Italian pope in 455 years, John Paul became a spiritual protagonist in two global transitions: the fall of European communism, which began in his native Poland in 1989, and the passage to the third millennium of Christianity.


About St. John Paul II
Saint John Paul II National Shrine

Cardinal Wojtyla was elected Pope on October 16, 1978, and took the name John Paul II. He was the 263rd successor to Peter, and was to have one of the longest pontificates in the history of the Church, lasting nearly 27 years. He retained his Episcopal motto, drawn from the profound insight of St. Louis de Montfort, "Totus Tuus – I am completely yours."


October 22 - Feast Day of Saint John Paul II
John Paul II Foundation

the memorial feast day of St. John Paul II is celebrated on October 22, the date of the inauguration of his pontificate in 1978.

on October 22, in his homily at the solemn Mass inaugurating his pontificate, Pope John Paul II urged the world to, "Be not afraid! Open wide the doors for Christ!...Do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power!"

Homily of His Holiness John Paul II for the Inauguration of His Pontificate

"Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power.…Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of States, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development. Do not be afraid. Christ knows ‘what is in man’. He alone knows it.

So often today man does not know what is within him, in the depths of his mind and heart. So often he is uncertain about the meaning of his life on this earth. He is assailed by doubt, a doubt which turns into despair. We ask you therefore, we beg you with humility and trust, let Christ speak to man. He alone has words of life, yes, of eternal life."


St. John Paul II Quotes:

"Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity."

"Allow me, dear young people, to consign this hope of mine to you: you must be those builders! You are the men and women of tomorrow. The future is in your hearts and in your hands. God is entrusting to you the task, at once difficult and uplifting, of working with him in the building of the civilization of love." (Toronto World Youth Day – 2002)

"We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son."

"It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal."

"Love between man and woman cannot be built without sacrifices and self-denial."

"Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought."

"Life is entrusted to man as a treasure which must not be squandered, as a talent which must be used well."

"Become who you are."

"The great danger for family life, in the midst of any society whose idols are pleasure, comfort and independence, lies in the fact that people close their hearts and become selfish."

"The earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations."

"I plead with you – never, ever give up on hope, never doubt, never tire, and never become discouraged. Be not afraid."

"Do not be afraid to take a chance on peace, to teach peace, to live peace...Peace will be the last word of history."

"Love consists of a commitment which limits one’s freedom – it is a giving of the self, and to give oneself means just that: to limit one’s freedom on behalf of another."

"Not all are called to be artists in the specific sense of the term. Yet, as Genesis has it, all men and women are entrusted with the task of crafting their own life: in a certain sense, they are to make of it a work of art, a masterpiece."

"When freedom does not have a purpose, when it does not wish to know anything about the rule of law engraved in the hearts of men and women, when it does not listen to the voice of conscience, it turns against humanity and society."

"Real peace is not just a matter of structures and mechanisms. It rests above all on the adoption of a style of human coexistence marked by mutual acceptance and a capacity to forgive from the heart. We all need to be forgiven by others, so we must all be ready to forgive. Asking and granting forgiveness is something profoundly worthy of every one of us."


The Legacy of a Saint: Pope John Paul II Catholics Benefited from the Clarity of His Teaching of the Faith
by Bishop Donald J. Hying | 10/15/2018 CNS

St. John Paul II, pray for us!


The Enduring Legacy of Pope John Paul II
by Katrina J. Zeno
(originally published in Franciscan Way, Summer 2001)
Catholic Online Featured Today

The following is drawn from a lecture given at Franciscan University in April of 2001 by papal biographer, George Weigel. He spoke about writing "Witness to Hope" and the meaning of John Paul II"s papacy.

The 10 Enduring Achievements of Pope John Paul II
according to papal biographer George Weigel:

1) Returning the papacy to its evangelical roots. Because of John Paul II"s constant witness of discipleship, the Church and the world no longer think of the pope as manager and CEO of Roman Catholic Church, Inc., but as an evangelist, pastor, witness, and defender of basic human rights.

2) Securing the legacy of Vatican II. By repeatedly developing Vatican II"s theological insights in his encyclicals and apostolic letters, John Paul II positioned the Council as an epic spiritual event aimed at the conversion of the modern world rather than a four-year argument over internal church politics.

3) Igniting the collapse of communism. John Paul II"s pivotal role in communism"s collapse was accomplished not as a statesman craftily moving pieces around the European chess board, but as a pastor determined to speak the truth, lift up and defend human rights, and demonstrate that culture runs the world, not politics.

4) Clarifying the challenges facing a free society. Through his social encyclicals, John Paul II insisted that democracy and the free economy are not machines that can run by themselves, but they are only as virtuous and just as the people who participate in them.

5) Repositioning ecumenism in the heart of Catholicism. By engaging Anglicans, Lutherans, Orthodox, and evangelical Protestants in ongoing dialogue, John Paul II moved the quest for unity to the center of the Catholic agenda, and insisted on a unity in creed, ministry, and around the common bread and cup.

6) Renewing Catholic-Jewish relations. John Paul II"s personal dialogue with Jewish leaders, his visit to the Holy Land, and the completion of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the State of Israel have opened the possibility of a religiously focused Jewish-Catholic conversation in the third millennium.

7) Redefining interreligious dialogue. By calling world leaders together in Assisi for the World Day of Prayer for Peace, the pope set a new example of how to hold firmly to one"s own religious convictions while respectfully engaging the deepest convictions of others. In doing so, he showed the world that even though they couldn"t pray together, people of different faiths could "be together to pray."

8) Responding to the sexual revolution. By using his Wednesday audiences to present a catechesis on the Theology of the Body, John Paul II has left us a rich and complex set of reflections that reimage marital love as an icon of the interior life of the Trinity and the human person as made for union and communion through a sincere gift of self.

9) Commissioning the new Catechism of the Catholic Church. Through this bold project, John Paul II answered liberalism"s denial of objective truth and its neutralizing of church doctrine by presenting Christian Truth in a comprehensive and coherent way.

10) Changing countless lives. John Paul II"s personal holiness and his summons to live without fear, which is so transparent in his life, has inspired millions of men and women, young and old, in a variety of historical circumstances for over 20 years – and continues to do so.


10 Ways Pope St. John Paul II Left His Mark
Crux | April 2, 2015

1. Theology of the Body

2. More than 480 canonizations

3. Peaceful resistance to communism

4. Inspirer of priestly vocations

5. The Pope of the Family

6. Authoritative interpretation of the Second Vatican Council

7. Catechism of the Catholic Church

8. Personalism

9. Totus Tuus Maria

10. Affirmation of the feminine genius


The Legacy of Pope John Paul II
Associated Press – Pope John Paul II, 1920 – 2005


Pope Francis Reflects on Holy Legacy, "Boundless Devotion" of St. John Paul II