Born in Wadowice, Poland May 18, 1920. As a young man he was interested in theater and poetry. He was a strong athlete. He was part of an underground Christian democratic organization during his school years. They helped Jews and offered them refuge from the Nazis. During the early 1940s he studied for the priesthood and was ordained on November 1, 1946. At age 58 he became the first Polish pope and the youngest in 132 years. He sought to make church doctrine clearer, to seek contacts with other faiths. He was the first Pope to visit a synagogue trying to help end Catholic and Jewish estrangement. He established diplomatic relations between the Vatican and Israel healing a divide that existed since 1948. He traveled to more than 115 countries. He used broadcasting to champion human rights. Time Magazine named him 1994’s “Man of the year”.
FEAST DAY: October 22