The Saints: Blessed John Paul II
1920 - 2005/ Feast - Oct. 22
When this popular pope died, crowds in St. Peter’s Square chanted “santo subito” (“sainthood now”). The Vatican heard, and the sainthood cause for the jet-setting pontiff who helped bring down European communism was put on the fast track; he was beatified in 2011.
Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Krakow was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. In his 26-year pontificate, he evangelized on trips to 129 countries, upheld traditional Church doctrine against dissent, connected with the world’s youth, and named more than 450 new saints. He also modeled Christian values by forgiving his would-be assassin and living an increasingly frail old age in public.