December 18, 2009.
John Paul II is without a doubt the pope who has broken the most records in the Church’s history.
First, his pontificate is on the longest on record. He was the head of the Catholic Church for 26 years: only Pius IX and Saint Peter’s pontificates lasted longer than John Paul II.
Then he is also the most travelled pope. He left the Vatican more than 1,500 times for official trips. He visited 129 countries and travelled more than 1 million kilometers. That’s like going around the globe 30 times. If you a sum up the time he was on trips, you could say he lived outside of Rome for more than 2 ½ years.
He also held huge summits in both big cities and small islands with less than 100 inhabitants. The powerful, needy, the healthy and the sick, the young and, old all paid close attention to Pope John Paul II.
The Philippines holds the record for the country with the highest attendance at one of the late pontiffs events. Five million people attended a mass he held in Manila back in 1995.
Nobody in the history of mankind has seen or has been seen by that many people.
John Paul II was also the Pope of the youth. He created the World Youth Day, which he celebrated in 5 continents.
Aside from being a non stop world traveller, John Paul II was also a great writer. He penned more than 1-thousand pages of magister documents, the equivalent of library with 200 volumes of 500 pages each. His writings include 3,500 speeches from his trips and more than 1 thousand of the speeches he made at his general audiences which more than 17 million people attended.
John Paul II also beat the number of saints and blesseds. He raised more people to the altars than any of his predecessors combined. 1,338 blesseds and 482 saints.
Karol Wojtyla was also the first on different fronts; he was the first to visit a modern day synagogue, the first to walk into a protestant church and the first to walk into a mosque.
John Paul II might have broken many records, but he continued to be who he was: a Catholic priest. He presided over all the sacraments, from baptisms to confessions and marriages. Which explains why he liked to describe himself as a simple priest.