Wadowice, Poland. May 18th 1920... a third child is born to the Wojtyla family. A child who would one day become Pope.
But young Karol did not have a very happy childhood. He lost his mother when he was 8, his big brother when he was 12 and spent his adolescence living alone with his father, lieutenant Karol Wojtyla. Despite the family tragedies, the future John Paul II was an excellent scholar and soccer goalkeeper, as his old friends remember well:Jerzy Kluger
Pope's FriendHe was very brave because being goalie takes courage!
When he was 18 he lost his father and his country was occupied by the Germans. To avoid deportation, young Karol worked in a factory.Then, slowly but surely, he managed to become a priest, then a bishop, then a cardinal and finally Karol Wojtyla was chosen to lead the Catholic Church -- which he did for 26 years.Joaquín Navarro-Valls
Vatican SpokespersonWhen people ask me whether I miss John Paul II I answer honestly that, before, I would talk to him for about an hour a day, and now...
On May 18th of this year, the day he would have turned 86, people flocked to John Paul II’s tomb to mark the day the pontiff came into this world.