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He was the second of two sons born to Karol Wojtyla and Emilia Kaczorowska. His eldest brother Edmund, a doctor, died in 1932 and his father, a non-commissioned army officer died in 1941.He made his First Holy Communion at age 9 and was confirmed at 18.No other Pope has encountered so many individuals like John Paul II: to date, more than 16,700,000 pilgrims have participated in the General Audiences held on Wednesdays (more than 1,000).Such figure is without counting all other special audiences and religious ceremonies held [more than 8 million pilgrims during the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 alone] and the millions of faithful met during pastoral visits made in Italy and throughout the world.It must also be remembered the numerous government personalities encountered during 38 official visits and in the 690 audiences and meetings held with Heads of State , and even the 226 audiences and meetings with Prime Ministers.By Deacon Keith Fournier On May 18, 1920, during the month traditionally dedicated to Mary the Mother of the Lord, one of her greatest treasures for the Church of her Son was born in the town of Wodowice, 35 miles southwest of Krakow Poland.Feastday: October 22 Patron of World Youth Day (Co- Patron) Birth: 1920 Death: 2005 Beatified By: May 1, 2011 Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City by Pope Benedict XVI Canonized By: April 27, 2014 Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City by Pope Francis Karol J.
The Nazi occupation forces closed the university in 1939 and young Karol had to work in a quarry (1940-1944) and then in the Solvay chemical factory to earn his living and to avoid being deported to Germany.
In 1948 he returned to Poland and was vicar of various parishes in Cracow as well as chaplain for the university students until 1951, when he took up again his studies on philosophy and theology.