His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, the good Servant of God
Pope John Paul II's personal Coat-of-Arms
A homage to the central Christian Mystery--Redemption. The Letter M represents Mother Mary, whom the late Pope was extremely devoted. His motto is "Totus Tuus" meaning "Mary, I am Yours" which he used even before he became a Cardinal. There was one miraculous incident when the Pope was shot by Turkish terrorist, Ali Agca, in 1981, it was revealed, based on a photograph, that the Pope was embraced by Mother Mary when he fell on the ground
The Great Pope of the new millennium will be raised to the altar of the pious on the first day of May, 2011, on the anniversary of the Divine Mercy.
The Catholic Church worldwide is now preparing for the upcoming beatification of the great Pope, John Paul II. The fast process of his beatification spurred from the chanting and request of "Santo Subito" (saint immediately) by the crowd who attended his funeral last April 8, 2005.
Around 60,000 Poles are reportedly traveling to Rome, Italy to attend the ceremony on May 2, 2011.
Pope John Paul II, Karol Josef Wojtyla in real life, was a Polish cardinal who was elected Pope on October 16, 1978 following the death of Pope John Paul I. He was the youngest Roman Pontiff to be elected since Pius XII and the first non-Italian to become Pope in 200 years. He was also the first person to succeed in the throne of St. Peter from a communist country.
During his lifetime, he actively worked on his mission as a Universal Church's leader, promoting international understanding, peace and solidarity. Partly, he was the instrument of the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, including in his native Poland. He was a charismatic leader who made effort to heal the wounds of division and inspired several sectors in the society to work for better social development for the benefit of humankind. His deep humility, legendary charm and unique kindness and generosity made him one of the most beloved Popes of all time. He was known for his deep devotion to Mother Mary and to the youth, where he frequently seen hugging and embracing children during his foreign trips.
By the time he was 21 years old, even before he entered the seminary, all members of his direct family--parents and brother--were all dead. During this time, the future Pope realized how God wanted him to perform a different mission in life. Deprived of having his own family while approaching adulthood, he turned his attention to the world as his own family. Under his unique leadership and guidance, the Catholic Church survived the difficult period where most ideals were focused elsewhere, the Pope tried effort to steer back the flock into Christian's principles.
The Pope in his final years
Official flag of the Vatican City
He broke many traditions by the previous popes. He was the first successor of St. Peter to visit the mosque, synagogues and other religious sectors. He talked to its leaders and urged them to work together for peace and unity. He traveled extensively and reached out to people in far-flung places to spread his Christian mission. He had canonized more saints and widened the College of Cardinals. Known for his deep Christian faith, the late Pope had established the Divine Mercy.
On April 30, 2011, there will be a vigil in all Catholic Churches around the world in preparation of the beatification of the Servant of God.