Biography Pontificate

Taken from the Vatican website

John Paul II is the 264th Pope (263rd Successor of Peter). Karol Józef Wojtyła , elected Pope on October 16, 1978, was born in Wadowice, a town 50 km from Krakow, on May 18, 1920.

Since the beginning of his Pontificate, Pope John Paul II has so far made 146 pastoral visits to Italy and, as Bishop of Rome, has visited 317 of today’s 333 Roman parishes. Apostolic journeys around the world – an expression of the constant pastoral concern of the Successor of Peter for all the Churches – have so far been 104.

His main documents include 14 Encyclicals, 15 Apostolic Exhortations, 11 Apostolic Constitutions and 45 Apostolic Letters. The Pope is also credited with 5 books: “Crossing the Threshold of Hope” (October 1994); “Gift and Mystery: On the Fiftieth Anniversary of My Priesth Anniversary” (November 1996); “Roman Triptych”, meditations in the form of poetry (March 2003); “Get up, let’s go!”. (May 2004) and ‘Memory and Identity’. (February 2005).

The Holy Father celebrated 147 beatification ceremonies – in which he proclaimed 1338 blessed – and 51 canonizations, for a total of 482 saints. He held 9 consistories, in which he created 231 (+ 1 in pectore) Cardinals. He also presided over 6 plenary meetings of the College of Cardinals .

From 1978 until today, he has convened 15 assemblies of the Synod of Bishops: 6 ordinary generals (1980, 1983, 1987, 1990; 1994 and 2001), 1 extraordinary general assembly (1985) and 8 special assemblies (1980, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998 [2] and 1999).

No Pope has met as many people as John Paul II: more than 17 million 600 thousand pilgrims have attended the Wednesday General Audiences (more than 1160), not counting all the other special audiences and religious ceremonies [more than 8 million pilgrims during the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 alone], as well as the millions of faithful met during pastoral visits in Italy and around the world; there are also many government personalities received in audience: It is enough to recall the 38 official visits and the other 738 audiences or meetings with Heads of State, as well as the 246 audiences and meetings with Prime Ministers. (© VA)