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John Paul II    Pope John Paul the 2nd was born on May 18th, 1920. John Paul’s real name is Karol Jozef Wojtyla, he was the third and final child in his family. He was born in Wadowice Poland. Karol had a rough start to his life when his mother died when he was 9 and his brother died when he was 12, and his father died when he was 21. John Paul had a really good friend whose parents owned a bar in town and an officer would drink a lot at that bar. When the officer felt that he was too under the influence he would put his gun in the cash drawer so it would be safe. One day when John was 15 years old, his friend took the gun and jokingly pointed it at John Paul and said “hands up or I’ll shoot” but accidentally the gun went off and just barely missed him even though it was almost at point blank range. When he went to college at Krakow Jagiellonian University. He was originally in poetry and theatre. His second year in college, Nazi’s took over the school he was attending. John Paul decided that he wanted to become a priest at this time so he studied at a secret school that teaches people to be priests because he did not want the Nazis to find out. The school was run by the archbishop of Krakow. In 1944 John Paul was walking home from a quarry that he worked at and was run over by a German Truck. A lady saw his body and thought he was dead at first but soon realized he was just unconscious and injured badly. She and a German guard flagged down a lumber truck to take him to the hospital. He had a severe concussion and a bad shoulder injury that would cause him to have a permanent stoop. In 1946 he finished at the seminary and was ordained a priest. John Paul then went to Rome for 2 years to get his doctorate in Theology. In 1948  he went back to Poland and was a priest at many different parishes around the area that he grew up in. The following years are his rise to a pope. In 1958 he became the auxiliary bishop of Krakow. 6 years later he became the archbishop of Krakow. John Paul was considered one of the Church’s best thinkers so he participated in the Second Vatican Council. John Paul was made a cardinal in 1967 by Pope Paul VI. In 1971 he attended several Bishops’ synods which is an advisory body for the pope. Later that year he was made a permanent member of that group. In August 1978 John Paul II voted in the Papal Conclave which ended up electing Pope John Paul I. Only 33 days into being Pope, John Paul I died which meant there needed to be another conclave. The second Conclave began on October 14th only ten days after the funeral of John Paul I. The run was split between two major candidates, Giuseppe Cardinal Siri, the conservative archbishop of Genoa and Giovanni Cardinal Benelli, the Archbishop of Florence. One of the two were expected to become pope, but with too much opposition neither would be likely to prevail. They came up with a compromise candidate who was Giovanni Colombo, but when he started to receive votes he declared that he would decline to accept the papacy. This being said, Franz Cardinal Konig put John Paul the 2nds name out there. This is how John Paul the 2nd became the first non-Italian pope in over 400 years.     While John Paul II was pope he visited 129 different countries around the world. When he went to these different countries and places he would attract very large groups of people to listen to him speak.  On May 13th, 1981, John Paul was at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City in front of 20,000 people. While he was making his way to speak, Mehmet Ali Agca shot him in the stomach. After he took the shots he threw the gun under a truck and tried to escape, but a nun and some spectators were not going to let that happen. There was a plot twist though, John Paul was hit in his elbow and Index finger and experts didn’t think the shots came from the same place. There was a total of three gunmen and a bomber, the bomber withdrew at last second. Ali Agca later confessed that he was with a fellow Turk and two Bulgarians who plotted to open fire on the pope. After the assassination attempt, John Paul said that he sincerely forgives Agca and told people to pray for him.  In July 1981 Agca was sentenced to life in jail, but he was pardoned by the Italian president at the pope’s request. Agca was then taken to Turkey where he was imprisoned for another murder he was involved in and wouldn’t be released until 2010. Over the years, Agca and John Paul kept in touch, when John Paul became very ill, Agca sent him letters saying he hopes he gets better.    On February 1st, 2005 John Paul II was put into the hospital because of breathing problems caused by influenza. He was released from the hospital 9 days later. Two weeks after that he was put back into the hospital because of more breathing problems and had a special surgery to make it easier for him to breath. On March 31st, 2005, John Paul II developed septic shock, but he didn’t go to the hospital but was monitored by people who are close to him. Those close to him said that he had been given the anointing of the stick. For his last couple days alive, people would gather around St. Peter’s square and held Vigil. John Paul’s last words were “Allow me to depart to the house of the father.” 4 hours later he fell into a coma and had heart failure on April 2nd, 2005. John Paul II is considered as John Paul The Great along with only 3 other popes out of every pope there has been.

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