John Paul II [1920-2005]
After months of failing health, His Holiness Pope John Paul II passed away today, April 2, at 9:37 p.m. local time (7:37 p.m. UTC). He was 84 years old. An email message to journalists from the spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls from The Vatican confirmed the death at 8 p.m. UTC.
Karol Józef Wojtyła (pronounced: voy-TEE-wah; International Phonetic Alphabet: /ˈkarɔl ˈjuzef vɔjˈtɨwa/) was born on May 18, 1920 in Wadowice, Southern Poland, a son of a former officer in the Habsburg army. His youth was marked by intensive contacts with the then-thriving Jewish community of Kraków, and the experience of Nazi occupation, during which he worked in a quarry and a chemical factory. In his youth he was an athlete (he was a football goal-keeper in school and he enjoyed swimming), an actor, a playwright, and a polyglot, fluently speaking 11 languages. Karol Wojtyła was ordained a priest on November 1, 1946. He taught ethics at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków and subsequently at the Catholic University of Lublin. In 1958 he was named auxiliary Bishop of Kraków and four years later he assumed leadership of the diocese with the title of Vicar Capitular.
Before he was to become Pope, he was a man like everyone else. And like all creatures, we meet our inevitable end. He became one of the most famous Popes of all time, pushing his views of peace and the church to everyone and became an international visitor, hoping to make the world a better place.