Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Timeline of Pope John Paul II

May 18, 1920: Karol Wojtyla born in Wadowice, Poland.
October 1942: Begins clandestine studies for the priesthood at Krakow's underground seminary during Nazi occupation.
Nov. 1, 1946: Ordained.
Dec. 1, 1956: Appointed to chair of ethics at Catholic University of Lublin.
July 4, 1958: Appointed auxiliary bishop of Krakow.
Jan 13, 1964: Named archbishop of Krakow.
May 29, 1967: Elevated by Pope Paul VI to cardinal.
October 1969: Visits the U.S.
Oct. 16, 1978: Is elected 264th pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Takes the name John Paul II.
Jan. 25, 1979: Makes first trip outside Italy as pope, to Mexico.
June 2, 1979: Makes first visit to Poland as pope.
Sept. 29-Oct 8, 1979: Makes first trip as pope to the U.S., visiting Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, and Chicago.
June 21, 1980: Meets with President Jimmy Carter at the Vatican.
May 13, 1981: Shot by Mehmet Ali Agca in St. Peter's Square. Three days later, while recovering from surgery, he announces that he has forgiven his attacker.
Nov. 25, 1981: Appoints Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
June 7, 1982: Meets with President Ronald Reagan at the Vatican.
Sept. 15, 1982: Meets with Yasir Arafat on the prospects for peace in the Middle East.
Nov. 24, 1983: Publishes Charter of Rights of the Family.
Dec. 27, 1983: Visits the man who shot him, Mehmet Ali Agca, in prison.
Jan. 10, 1984: The Holy See and the U.S. establish diplomatic relations.
June 25, 1987: Meets with President Kurt Waldheim of Austria, upsetting Jewish leaders because Waldheim had been a German army officer in World War II.
May 27, 1989: Meets with President George H.W. Bush.
Aug. 26, 1990: Appeals for peace in Persian Gulf after Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
Oct. 5, 1991: Prays in St. Peter's Basilica with two Lutheran bishops.
Dec. 7, 1992: Officially presents the new catechism of the Catholic Church.
April 8, 1994: Celebrates Mass in the Sistine Chapel for the unveiling of Michelangelo's restored frescoes.
June 2, 1994: Receives visit from President Bill Clinton.
June 15, 1994: Holy See and Israel establish diplomatic relations.
Oct. 20, 1994: His book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, is published.
June 29, 1995: Issues letter to women, asserting their equality with men and apologizing for past discrimination within the church; upholds male priesthood.
Dec. 25, 1995: Christmas message and blessing appear on the Internet for the first time.
Oct. 8, 1996: Undergoes appendectomy.
Nov. 19, 1996: Meets with  Fidel Castro at the Vatican.
Dec. 19, 1996: Receives Arafat at the Vatican.
Feb. 3:, 1997 Receives visit from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
March 20, 2000: Visits Holy Land.
June 13, 2000: Agrees with Italy's decision to grant clemency to his attempted assassin.
Sept. 13, 2000: Beatifies Popes Pius IX and John XXIII.
July 23, 2001: Receives President George W. Bush at the papal retreat and urges him to ban research using human embryos.
Jan 24, 2002: Joins other leaders of the world's major religions in a Day of Prayer for Peace, proclaiming that religion should never be used as a motive for conflict.
Jan. 28, 2002: Urges lawyers and judges not to take part in any divorce cases, not just ones involving Roman Catholics.
March 21, 2002: Publicly denounces the "grave scandal" of priest sex-abuse.
Jan. 16, 2003: Approves guidelines calling on Catholic politicians to oppose abortion, euthanasia, and same-sex marriage.
March 4, 2003: Conveys his opposition to war with Iraq to President Bush.
Oct. 16, 2003: Celebrates 25th anniversary as pope.
June 5-9, 2003: Visits Croatia, his 100th foreign trip. With this visit, his journeys as pope have taken him the equivalent of three trips to the moon.
Aug. 15, 2004: Takes his final trip abroad, to France.
Feb. 1, 2005: Hospitalized with acute breathing problems.
Feb. 22, 2005: Issues his fifth book, Memory and Identity, condemning abortion and gay marriage.
Feb. 24, 2005: Returns to hospital, undergoes tracheotomy.
March 30, 2005: Receives a feeding tube.
April 2, 2005: Dies of septic shock and heart failure.
May 1, 2011: Beatified by Pope Benedict XVI.
July 4, 2013: Pope Francis confirms John Paul II's canonization.
SOURCE: The Vatican