May 18, 2001. (Romereports.com)
Karol Wojtyla was born on May 18, 1920 in Wadowice, a small town near Krakow in southern Poland. This year the pope would have turned 91. He was 58 years old when he was elected pope. His pontificate, which lasted 26 years was one of the longest in the history of the Church. John Paul II will always be remembered for his fight against Communism and for advocating in favor of human rights and dignity.
Former Vatican spokesman "John Paul II explained the nature of human rights and human dignity. He made it clear, that human rights are not gifts from governments orstates. Rather, they precede international institutions and governments."
On his last birthday in 2004, John Paul II spent the day working, just like any other day. There was no public celebration in the Vatican. That same day he published his third book titled "Rise, let us be on our way,” where he describes his experience as the auxiliary bishop of Krakow.
In 2005, a month after Benedict XVI was elected pope, the new pontif made note of John Paul II's birthday, by saying “he will be with us at all times.”
That same year, John Paul II's name was put atop the Italian Apennine Mountains to remember the many times he visited these mountains near Rome.
This year is especially marked by the beatification of the beloved pope.