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 CNS Story:


Important dates in Pope John Paul's life, pontificate

By Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Here are some important dates in the life of Pope John Paul II:

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. 30.

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 permanent council.

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 333 parishes.

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 Basilica.

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 Geneva.

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 Europe.

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 communism's collapse.

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 Catholic-Muslim dialogue.

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 pontificate.

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.

END

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