Pope Saint John Paul II


Pope Saint John Paul II, 1920–2005
October 22

One of the jobs of the Pope is to help explain the Catholic faith to all people. Pope John Paul II traveled to 129 different countries around the world telling everyone about God’s love and mercy. He went to some countries that a Pope had never visited before, like Mexico and Haiti. Saint John Paul also knew another one of his jobs as Pope was to teach the People of God how to make right choices in living good moral lives. To do that, he wrote many special letters, called encyclicals, telling us about Jesus, Mary, and God.

Discuss: How can you tell people about God’s love?

Pope Saint John Paul II was an actor when he was young. He loved to hike, ski, and spend time in the mountains. He encouraged young people to take an active role in the Church. He instituted the Church’s World Youth Day in 1985, and attended many celebrations. The 2016 World Youth Day will be held in Krákow, Poland, Pope Saint John Paul II’s home country, as a tribute to his canonization.

More than half a million people attended his canonization ceremony in St. Peter’s Square in 2014. One of John Paul’s prayers explained his confidence in the Lord: “I trust in you! Spes contra spem! [Hope against hope!] With God nothing is impossible!”


Share that under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Pope and the bishops continue the Apostles’ mission to teach. Pope Saint John Paul II was a great teacher.

  • Provide your child with Internet access to research and write down some of the titles of the encyclicals that Pope Saint John Paul II wrote.
  • Have him/her include a brief explanation of the general message of each letter.
  • Assist your child in summarizing the overall message of the encyclicals as needed.
  • Explain that Pope Saint John Paul II wrote many encyclicals to teach us how to make right choices in living good moral lives.
  • Remind your child that it is important for Catholics to have an open communication with the Pope and to learn new ways to approach our faith journey.