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Canonisation of John Paul II and John XXIII

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Two ordinary men become Popes and become saints





Pope John XXIII
was born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli at Sotto il Monte, Italy, in the Diocese of Bergamo on 25 November 1881. He was the fourth in a family of 14. The family worked as sharecroppers. It was a patriarchal family in the sense that the families of two brothers lived together, headed by his great-uncle Zaverio, who had never married and whose wisdom guided the work and other business of the family. Zaverio was Angelo's godfather, and to him he always attributed his first and most fundamental religious education. The religious atmosphere of his family and the fervent life of the parish, under the guidance of Fr Francesco Rebuzzini, provided him with training in the Christian life.

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Karol Jozef Wojtyla was born May 18, 1920. This photo from the mid 1920s shows his father, also Karol, and his mother, Emilia. Emilia died when Karol was 8, in early 1929. Karol's older brother,Edmund, died of scarlet fever three years later, in 1932. Karol moved to Krakow with his father in the late 1930s.
By 1941, his father had died. During the Nazi occupation of Poland, the future Pope John Paul II studied at the Jagiellonian University, wrote and acted in the theatre, worked at the Solvay chemical factory and joined an underground seminary to study for the priesthood.

Top photo shows 12 year old Karol Wojtyla (yellow arrow) with classmates in a school photo. The future Pope John Paul II attended Marcin Wadowita school in Wadowice, Poland.


Bottom photo shows 10 year old Karol (yellow arrow) with his class in 1930 on a visit to the Wieliczka salt mines in Poland. His father, Karol, is also in the photo (second row, fourth from right).

Karol Wojtyla is pictured at his First communion, May 25, 1929, age 9. The future Pope John Paul II received the sacrament at the Church of Our Lady in Wadowice, Poland, one month after the death of his mother, Emilia.

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Last Update Feb 08 2016

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