Important dates in Pope John Pauls life, pontificate
By Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Here are some important dates in the life of Pope John
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.