Happy Birthday to my hero – Pope St. John Paul II

Today would have been the 97th birthday of Karol Wojtyla, known to so many as – Pope St. John Paul II. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him fondly. The reason I do what I do on this blog and in my position at the parish is based on his life and his many great documents. The influence of John Paul II on my own life is truly immeasurable. I was blessed to see him three times in my life – Phoenix, Arizona in 1987, Denver, Colorado in 1993, and in Rome, Italy in 2000. I am the JP2 Generation.

Pope St. John Paul II as a young priest.

For a collection of pictures from a previous post, check out this one I wrote on his birthday in 2014. Below are the Top 5 All-Time Posts (most views) I have written in the past –

1. 12 Quotes from Blessed Pope John Paul II on the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World 

2. 12 Quotes from Pope St. John Paul II on Our Lady of Guadalupe

3. “Mondays with Mary” – 5 Quotes from Pope St. John Paul II on the Mother of Mercy

4. 5 Quotes on Pentecost from Pope St. John Paul II

5. 10 Quotes on the Holy Family from Pope St. John Paul II

For the complete collection of my writings on him, click here.

Pope Saint John Paul II…Pray For Us 

Happy 96th Birthday, Pope St. John Paul the Great

Happy 96th Birthday, Pope St. John Paul the Great! 

For all of my writings on the great Polish Saint of the 20th century, go to his section, Pope St. John Paul II on here. Below are some pictures for you of his life. I have used these in past blog posts as well.

Pope St. John Paul II as a young priest.

Pope St. John Paul II as a young priest.

Cardinal Wojtyla on the ski slopes.

Cardinal Wojtyla on the ski slopes.

Young Karol Wojtyla (Pope St. John Paul II) wearing the brown scapular.

Young Karol Wojtyla (Pope St. John Paul II) wearing the brown scapular.

PopeJohnPaulIIPopeBenedictXVI

Pope John Paul II Actor Poet

JP2 Rookie Card, Side 1

JP2 Rookie Card, Side 2

Pope St. John Paul II on the day of his election to the Papacy.

Pope St. John Paul II on the day of his election to the Papacy.

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Pope St. John Paul II…Pray for Us! 

The Rookie Card of Pope St. John Paul II

Today is the feast day for Pope St. John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla) as well as the 37th Anniversary of his Installation to the Papacy of the Catholic Church. Below you will find two pictures – the front and back of a prayer card from October 1978.

In some aspects, this prayer card for Pope St. John Paul II is like a baseball rookie card. It states the dates of his birth, ordination to the priesthood, elevation to the episcopate, cardinal creation, election to the papacy, and installation to the papacy.

If the prayer card below is like his baseball rookie card, then my blog post titled, Pope Saint John Paul: Mission Accomplished, is his induction to the Hall of Fame, well in this case, the Heavenly Kingdom.

In the 3½ years of writing through this blog, I have written about Pope St. John Paul II 47 different times. He is one of the main reasons why I teach and write about the Catholic faith so much. His inspiration in my life, which began through Bobby Kloska, has fueled many of my projects on here and in different parish/school positions.

JP2 Rookie Card, Side 1JP2 Rookie Card, Side 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For your reading pleasure today, here are the Top 5 most read blog posts that I have written on the Great Polish Saint, John Paul II –

1. 12 Quotes from Blessed John Paul II on the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World

2. “Mondays with Mary” – Pope John Paul II on Mary’s Witness to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

3. “Mondays with Mary” – 5 Quotes from Pope St. John Paul II on the Mother of Mercy

4. 5 Quotes on Pentecost from Pope St. John Paul II

5. 12 Quotes from Pope St. John Paul II on Our Lady of Guadalupe

This link will take you to the many other blog posts I have written on him.

Pope St. John Paul II…Pray For Us!

JP2, We Love You! 

Be Not Afraid! 

Beatification Pic of JP II

The Place Within: The Poetry of Pope St. John Paul II

On my 32nd birthday in 2006, my friends Michael and Laura (Parks) Garibaldi gave me the book titled, The Place Within – The Poetry of Pope John Paul II. Only days before receiving this gift from them, Michael and I were talking about reading French poetry to significant others and how romantic the whole idea seemed.  He wrote in the book, and I quote, “well brother, not exactly French poetry, but any lady worth her salt will want our Papa read to her before anyone else…”

It’s been eight years since this text was given to me and a year doesn’t go by when I at least pick it up a few times to read through the many great poems written by the soon-to-be saint, Pope John Paul II. Many of these poems, written between 1939 and 1978, were published under pseudonyms and were not recognized as John Paul II until after his election to the Chair of Saint Peter.

I know many of you have read the plethora of his papal writings, but have you read his poetry? Do yourself a favor and purchase this book before April 27. You will be glad you did. Please share this post with your family and friends too. I imagine many will not be aware that Pope St. John Paul II wrote poetry.

I leave you with the poem that shares the same title with the book  – The Place Within. It speaks of Jesus Christ, the cross, and “the source and summit of the Christian faith” – the Holy Eucharist.

“My place is You, your place is in me. Yet it is the place of all men. Am I not diminished by them in this place. I am more alone – more than if there were no one else – I am alone with myself. At the same time I am multiplied by them in the Cross which stood on this place. This multiplying with no diminishment remains a mystery: the Cross goes against the current. In it numbers retreat before man.

In You – how did the Cross come to be?

Now let us walk down the narrow steps as if down a tunnel through a wall. Those who once walked down the slope stopped at the place where now there is a slab. They anointed your body and then laid it in a tomb. Through your body you had a place on earth, the outward place of the body you exchanged for a place within [emphasis mine], saying: ‘Take, all of you, and eat of this.’

The radiation of that place within relates to the outward places on Earth to which I came on pilgrimage. You chose this place centuries ago – the place in which You give yourself and accept me.”

For those of you unable to purchase the book, as we get closer to Lent, reach the Easter season, and celebrate his canonization, I will post a few more of his poems that correlate with the correct season.

Pope St. John the Paul the Great, Lover of Humanity…Pray For Us!

Habemus Papam – 35 Years Ago Today!

Thirty five years ago today, we heard the words from the center loggia of Saint Peter’s Basilica – HABEMUS PAPAM – WE HAVE A POPE! His name was Karol Wojtyla and he came from behind the Iron Curtain. He would take the name, John Paul II, and history would change forever.

On April 27, 2014, this great Pope will be canonized a saint for the Universal Church. Are you fired up yet? I know I am because I am the JP2 Generation! Below is short video of his election and his first words to the world as Papa.

Thanks to my friend, Angela (in NYC), who inspired this short blog post.