Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Vatican City

Important Dates In Pope John Paul’s Life, Pontificate

Published April 7, 2005

Here are some important dates in the life of Pope John Paul II:

1920: Karol Wojtyla is born May 18, baptized June 20 in Wadowice, Poland.

1929: His mother dies; he receives first Communion.

1938: Moves to Krakow with father; enters Jagellonian University, joins experimental theater group.

1939: Germany and Soviet Union invade Poland.

1940: University studies interrupted; he works as manual laborer during war.

1941: His father dies.

1942: Enters secret seminary in Krakow.

1944: Is hit by a car, hospitalized; is hidden in archbishop’s home to avoid arrest by Nazis.

1945: World War II ends; he resumes studies at Jagellonian University.

1946: Is ordained priest Nov. 1; goes to Rome for graduate studies.

1948: Earns doctorate in theology.

1949: Named assistant pastor in Krakow parish.

1953: Completes university exams; teaches ethics at Jagellonian University.

1954: State abolishes Jagellonian theology faculty; begins teaching philosophy at Catholic University of Lublin; earns doctorate in philosophy.

1958: Named auxiliary bishop of Krakow; ordained Sept. 28.

1960: His book, “Love and Responsibility,” is published.

1962: Goes to Rome for first session of Second Vatican Council.

1963: Attends Vatican II second session, is named archbishop of Krakow Dec. 30.

1964: Is installed as archbishop of Krakow; attends council’s third session.

1965: Makes three trips to Rome to help redraft Vatican II document on church in modern world; attends final council session.

1967: Is made cardinal June 28; named to first world Synod of Bishops but stays home to protest government’s denial of a passport to Poland’s primate, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski.

1969: Visits United States, starting a series of pastoral visits to many parts of world; attends bishops’ synod in Rome.

1971: Attends first of several bishops’ synods in Rome; is elected to its permanent council.

1976: Visits United States, Canada.

1978: At age 58 is elected 264th pope and bishop of Rome Oct. 16, formally inaugurates his ministry Oct. 22; visit to Assisi is first of 146 trips within Italy; visit to a Rome parish marks start of visits to 317 of Rome’s 333 parishes.

1979: Visits Dominican Republic and Mexico, his first of 104 trips abroad as pope; also visits Poland, Ireland, United States and Turkey; publishes first encyclical, apostolic exhortation; convenes first plenary meeting of College of Cardinals in more than 400 years; approves Vatican declaration that Swiss-born Father Hans Kung can no longer teach as Catholic theologian.

1980: Convenes special Dutch synod to straighten out problems in Dutch church; becomes first modern pope to hear confessions in St. Peter’s Basilica.

1981: Is shot, severely wounded May 13; names Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger head of Vatican doctrinal congregation.

1982: Marks anniversary of attempt on his life with trip to Fatima, Portugal; meets with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat; makes Opus Dei the church’s first personal prelature.

1983: Promulgates new Code of Canon Law; opens Holy Year of Redemption; visits would-be assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca, in prison.

1984: Establishes diplomatic relations with United States; approves new concordat with Italy; visits World Council of Churches headquarters in Geneva.

1985: Warns that abortion in Europe is “demographic suicide”; convenes special bishops’ synod to review 20 years since Vatican II.

1986: Condemns apartheid in South Africa; makes historic visit to Rome’s synagogue; calls world religious leaders to Assisi to pray for peace; says theologians who propagate dissent violate Catholics’ right to true teaching; approves Vatican decision barring U.S. Father Charles E. Curran from teaching as a Catholic theologian.

1987: Opens Marian year and writes encyclical on Mary; approves Vatican documents on beginning-of-life issues, international debt; top-level Vatican meeting called to resolve Catholic-Jewish controversies; second visit to United States is 36th trip abroad.

1988: Approves issuance of Holy See’s first public financial report; issues encyclical, “On Social Concerns”; issues letter defending women’s equality but saying they cannot be ordained priests; sets up Vatican commission to try reconciling followers of schismatic Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

1989: Is widely seen as key figure in collapse of communism in Eastern Europe.

1990: Issues first uniform law code for Eastern Catholic churches; issues global norms for Catholic higher education; approves Vatican instruction on theologians; establishes diplomatic relations with Soviet Union.

1991: Issues encyclical marking 100 years of Catholic social teaching; convenes special European synod to deal with rapid changes in wake of communism’s collapse.

1992: Has benign tumor on colon removed; issues official “Catechism of the Catholic Church,” first such document since 16th century; receives study acknowledging church erred in condemning Galileo.

1993: U.S. visit for World Youth Day is his 60th trip abroad; writes first papal encyclical on nature of moral theology.

1994: Declares teaching that women cannot be priests must be held definitively; establishes diplomatic relations with Israel; publishes book, “Crossing the Threshold of Hope”; named Time magazine’s “Man of the Year.”

1995: Issues major encyclicals on human life, ecumenism.

1996: Urges total ban on nuclear testing, global land mine ban; marks 50 years as priest.

1997: Names St. Therese of Lisieux a doctor of the church; presides at synod for America, one of a series of regional synods.

1998: Historic Cuba visit is 81st trip abroad; starts first permanent Catholic-Muslim dialogue.

1999: Joint Catholic-Lutheran declaration on justification is signed; unseals Holy Door in St. Peter’s to start jubilee year 2000.

2000: Presides at numerous jubilee year events in Rome; makes historic visit to Holy Land.

2001: Issues apostolic letter on the new millennium; in Syria, becomes first pope to enter a mosque.

2002: Convenes third interreligious day of peace in Assisi; visit to Toronto for World Youth Day is 97th trip abroad; given honorary citizenship of Rome.

2003: Marks 25th anniversary as pope; beatifies Mother Teresa of Calcutta, one of record number of beatifications and canonizations under his pontificate.

2004: Opens Year of the Eucharist; returns revered saints’ relics to Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople; publishes fourth book as pope, “Rise, Let Us Be on Our Way.”

2005: Publishes new book, “Memory and Identity: Conversations Between Millenniums”; hospitalized, undergoes tracheotomy. Dies April 2.