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There is an entire generation that grew up with John Paul II...seeing his trips and listening to his speeches from afar or even up close. But for many priests, seminarians and religious, John Paul II was much more than the head of the Church. He was the one person who personally sparked their vocation. 

BISHOP JORGE CARLOS PATRON-WONG
Sec. for Seminaries in the Congregation for Clergy
"It's a proven fact. When you look at numbers and statistics, all countries saw a rise in religious vocations during John Paul II's pontificate.” 

Mexican Bishop Jorge Carlos Patron-Wong falls under this very category. He says that it was thanks to John Paul II that he found his priestly vocation. As a seminarian he met John Paul II a few times in Rome. When he told the Pope he was studying psychology, he says, he jokingly  told him 'Make sure you don't go crazy.' 

BISHOP JORGE CARLOS PATRON-WONG
Secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy
"He was a Pope who opened his heart to the youth. From discovering your vocation, to service and love.” 

From his famous message of 'Don't be afraid' to simply putting the Gospel into practice, he says, whenever priests or even seminarians talk about their inspirations, every one of them, has a story to share about how John Paul II. 

BISHOP JORGE CARLOS PATRON-WONG
Sec. for Seminaries in the Congregation for Clergy
"Really, from a very young age, the only Pope we ever knew was John Paul II. That included our time as seminarians and for some maybe 15, 20, or even 25 years as priests.” 

Bishop Patron Wong now lives in Rome, at the Vatican's Casa Santa Marta, in the same residence as Pope Francis.  Things have come full circle: He serves as the Secretary for Seminaries in the Congregation for the Clergy, helping seminarians in their vocation. 

Along with millions of Catholics, he will witness the canonization of John Paul II, the man, Pope and saint, who inspired him and thousands more, to dedicate his life to the Church. 


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