Pope Saint John Paul II

Pope Saint John Paul II has the second-longest documented pontificate which lasted over 26 years, 1978-2005. He is the only Polish pope to date and was instrumental in bringing the fall of Communism in Europe and Poland especially.  Pope Saint John Paul II spoke 10 different languages and beatified over 1300 people. Furthermore, he visited over 129 countries during his pontificate which makes him one of the most well-traveled world leaders in history.

 

The beatification of John Paul was started by his successor, Benedict XVI, after John Paul died in 2005. It was on that same feast day, Divine Mercy Sunday, that John Paul was beatified in 2011, drawing 1.5 million pilgrims to Rome. 

 

Two of the most-loved leaders of the Catholic Church, Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, were raised to sainthood together in a joint canonization ceremony -- the first such ceremony in the church's history.  The joint canonization was held on April 27, marking the feast day of Divine Mercy. How fitting that his canonization falls on Divine Mercy Sunday, a devotion that he helped spread.