This Day in History

Pope John Paul II was born Karol Józef Wojtyła on May 18, 1920, in Wadowice, Poland. His papacy, which began in 1978, was one of the longest in history and was marked by his charismatic leadership, profound influence on the Catholic Church’s approach to global issues, and efforts to improve the Church’s relations with Judaism, Islam, and the Eastern Orthodox Church. He was also notable for his extensive global travels and the role he played in the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, especially in his native Poland.