About Pope Saint John Paul II 

1920-2005

Saints Live in Our Time, Too

John Paul 2

Many of the saints we learn about lived long ago. Pope John Paul II lived at the same time as your parents and grandparents. He especially wanted to help people to learn to love and respect the Blessed Virgin Mary.

When Pope John Paul II was born, his parents named him Karol. The world was not a peaceful place. Many countries were fighting each other. The kings and presidents of some countries made it hard for people to feel safe if they believed in God. But Karol knew that when he grew up he wanted to be a priest. He worked hard, but could not tell people what he was doing.

Karol did grow up to be a priest. He worked so hard that he became a bishop, then an archbishop, and then a cardinal. Those are all important jobs in the Catholic Church. Finally, he was chosen to be the Pope. That is the highest Church leader a person can become. And that is when he changed his name to John Paul II.

Pope John Paul II wanted all the people in the world to love each other, God, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. So he traveled to every country that would welcome him. And he made every place that he visited sacred for the Blessed Virgin Mary. Forever and ever, people would remember her and know that place was special.

Discussion Questions

• Ask your parents what they remember about Pope Saint John Paul II.

• Do you think there might be someone living in your lifetime who will be remembered as a saint?

 

Pope Saint John XXIII

1881-1963

Good Pope John

John 23

Angelo Roncalli lived on a farm in Italy with his family. His great-uncle Zaverio was a holy, loving, and smart man who spent time with Angelo. He helped Angelo come to love God and see all people as God’s family.

When Angelo grew up, he became a priest. He learned many new things, but he kept Great-uncle Zaverio’s words in his heart.

As a priest, Angelo had many jobs. During a war, he carried hurt people to hospitals. Because he saw how bad a war can be, later, he wrote an important paper called “Peace on Earth.”

Then he had jobs in other countries. He loved meeting people and saw how important it is for people to work together even when they had different ideas. “I don’t want to hurt anyone. I always try to be honest. I try to trust others,” Father Angelo said. “I look people in the eye and remember that Jesus wants us all to be one family.” 

People saw how he loved life. He often smiled, laughed, and made jokes. He became a bishop, and then, he was picked to be the Pope! He chose to be called John. Often, he was called Good Pope John.

Pope John worked hard. He wanted Catholics to work and pray together and to reach out to others with respect and love. As the popes before him, he continued to make the Church a good place for people to come to know and love God. And all over the world, people came to love Good Pope John, too.

Discussion Question

• Pope John had a great-uncle who helped him grow closer to God. Who helps you grow closer to God?

More about the two Popes

Click here to read about the many similarities between the two popes!

Also read "Saints for a Modern World" from the April issue of Take Out magazine!