John Paul II, the Pope who changed history
April 15 – May 18, Town Library (Piazza IX aprile) – Free entrance
From Tuesday to Sunday – 10.00am / 1.00pm – 3.30pm / 8.30pm
This exhibition is thought as an “emotional show” of one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century, an extraordinary protagonist of the life and the history of the Roman Church who, also, significantly improved the Catholic Church’s relations with Judaism, Islam, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion.
You will also find two sacred relics: the blood of the pope (dating back to the aggression that took place in Vatican City in 1980) and his own rosary beads. During the Holy Week (April 17-22) the two relics will be displayed in the Cathedral of Taormina.
John Paul II will be canonised (will become SAINT) on 27 April 2014, alongside Pope John XXIII. His feast day will be not celebrated on the date of his death as is usual, but on 22 October, the anniversary of his papal inauguration in 1978.
Pope John Paul II – in Latin Ioannes Paulus II – born Karol Józef Wojtyła (18 May 1920 – 2 April 2005), was Pope from 16 October 1978 to his death in 2005. He was the second longest-serving pope in history and the first non-Italian since Pope Adrian VI, who died in 1523.
John Paul II was one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century. He is recognised as helping to end Communist rule in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe. John Paul II significantly improved the Catholic Church’s relations with Judaism, Islam, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion. Controversially, he upheld the Church’s teachings against artificial contraception and the ordination of women, he supported the Church’s Second Vatican Council and its reform, and he held firm orthodox Catholic stances. He is known for his implementation of several papal documents pertaining to the role of the Church in the modern world.
He was one of the most travelled world leaders in history, visiting 129 countries during his pontificate. As part of his special emphasis on the universal call to holiness, he beatified 1,340 people and canonized 483 saints, more than the combined tally of his predecessors during the preceding five centuries. By the time of his death, he had named most of the College of Cardinals, consecrated or co-consecrated a large number of the world’s bishops, and ordained many priests. A key goal of his papacy was to transform and reposition the Catholic Church. His wish was “to place his Church at the heart of a new religious alliance that would bring together Jews, Muslims and Christians in a great [religious] armada”.
John Paul II’s cause for canonisation commenced in 2005 shortly after his death with the traditional five year waiting period waived. On 19 December 2009, John Paul II was proclaimed Venerable by his successor Pope Benedict XVI and was beatified on 1 May 2011 after the Congregation for the Causes of Saints attributed one miracle to him, the healing of a French nun from Parkinson’s disease. A second miracle, attributed to the late pope, was approved on 2 July 2013 and confirmed by Pope Francis two days later.