Pastoral trips of Pope John Paul II

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Jump to: navigation, search
Map indicating countries which were visited by John Paul II.
Map indicating countries which were visited by John Paul II.

During his reign, Pope John Paul II ("The Pilgrim Pope") made 104 foreign trips, more than all previous popes put together. In total he logged more than 1,167,000 km (725,000 miles). He consistently attracted large crowds on his travels, some amongst the largest ever assembled in human history. While some of his trips (such as to the United States and the Holy Land) were to places previously visited by Pope Paul VI (the first pope to travel widely), many others were to places that no pope had ever visited before. All these travels were paid by the money of the countries he visited, not by the Vatican's money.

One of John Paul II's earliest official visits was to Poland, in June 1979.[1] While there he held mass in Victory Square in Warsaw before over two million of his countrymen.

He became the first reigning pope to travel to the United Kingdom, where he met Queen Elizabeth II, the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. This trip was in danger of being cancelled due to the then current Falklands War, against which he spoke out during the visit. In a dramatic symbolic gesture, he knelt in prayer alongside the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, in the See of the Church of England, Canterbury Cathedral, founded by St Augustine of Canterbury.

Throughout his trips, he stressed his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary through visits to various shrines to the Virgin Mary, notably Knock in Ireland, Fátima in Portugal, Guadalupe in Mexico, and Lourdes in France. His public visits were centred on large Papal Masses; one million people, one quarter of the population of the island of Ireland, attended his Mass in Dublin's Phoenix Park in 1979.

In 1984, John Paul became the first Pope to visit Puerto Rico. Stands were especially erected for him at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, where he met with governor Carlos Romero Barceló, and at Plaza Las Americas.

The pope made a pastoral trip to Singapore in 1986, and he was warmly received by the then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in the Istana. Following that, the Pope made pastoral speeches concerning the Catholic doctrines in the National Stadium of Singapore, which was viewed by a large audience, mainly Catholics.

There was a plot to assassinate the Pope during his visit to Manila in January 1995, as part of Operation Bojinka, a mass terrorist attack that was developed by Al-Qaeda members Ramzi Yousef and Khalid Sheik Mohammed. A suicide bomber dressed as a priest and planned to use the disguise to get closer to the Pope's motorcade so that he could kill the Pope by detonating himself. Before 15 January, the day on which the men were to attack the Pope during his Philippine visit, an apartment fire brought investigators led by Aida Fariscal to Yousef's laptop computer, which had terrorist plans on it, as well as clothes and items that suggested an assassination plot. Yousef was arrested in Pakistan about a month later, but Khalid Sheik Mohammed was not arrested until 2003. During this trip to Philippines, on 15 January 1995, he offered mass to an estimated crowd of 4–5 million in Luneta Park, Manila, the largest papal crowd ever. [2]

On 22 March 1998, during his second Papal visit to Nigeria, he canonized the Nigerian monk [3] Cyprian Michael Tansi. This was a canonisation that greatly endeared the Pope to many African Catholics.

Also in 1999, John Paul II made another of his multiple trips to the United States, this time celebrating mass in St. Louis in the Edward Jones Dome. Over 104,000 people attended the mass, making it the biggest indoor gathering in United States history.

In 2000, he became the first modern Catholic pope to visit Egypt, where he met with the Coptic pope and the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria.

In May 2001, the Pontiff took a pilgrimage that would trace the steps of his co-namesake, Saint Paul, across the Mediterranean, from Greece to Syria to Malta.

Pope John Paul II meets with Archbishop Christodoulos of Greece.
Pope John Paul II meets with Archbishop Christodoulos of Greece.

John Paul II became the first Pope to visit Greece in 1291 years. The visit was controversial, and the Pontiff was met with protests and snubbed by Eastern Orthodox leaders, none of whom met his arrival.

In Athens, the Pope met with Archbishop Christodoulos, the head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Greece. After a private 30 minute meeting, the two spoke publicly. Christodoulos read a list of "13 offences" of the Roman Catholic Church against the Orthodox Church since the Great Schism, including the pillaging of Constantinople by crusaders in 1204. He also bemoaned the lack of any apology from the Roman Catholic Church, saying that "until now, there has not been heard a single request for pardon" for the "maniacal crusaders of the 13th century".

The Pope responded by saying, "For the occasions past and present, when sons and daughters of the Catholic Church have sinned by action or omission against their Orthodox brothers and sisters, may the Lord grant us forgiveness," to which Christodoulos immediately applauded. John Paul also said that the sacking of Constantinople was a source of "deep regret" for Catholics.

Pope John Paul II and Archbishop Christodoulos issue a "common declaration".
Pope John Paul II and Archbishop Christodoulos issue a "common declaration".

Later, John Paul and Christodoulos met on a spot where Saint Paul had once preached to Athenian Christians. They issued a "common declaration", saying, "We shall do everything in our power, so that the Christian roots of Europe and its Christian soul may be preserved. ... We condemn all recourse to violence, proselytism and fanaticism, in the name of religion." The two leaders then said the Lord's Prayer together, breaking an Orthodox taboo against praying with Catholics.

However, during the visit the Pope avoided any mention of Cyprus, still a source of tension between the two faiths.

He was the first Roman Catholic Pope to visit and pray in an Islamic Mosque, in Damascus, Syria. He visited Umayyad Mosque, where John the Baptist is believed to be interred.

In September 2001, amid post-September 11th concerns, he travelled to Kazakhstan, with an audience of largely Muslims, as well as Armenia, to participate in the celebration of the 1700 years of Christianity in that nation.

Also, His Holiness Pope John Paul II, was the first Pope to visit Scotland. His visit was uplifting to the minority of Roman Catholics in the country, 300,000 of whom celebrated Mass with the Holy Father at Bellahoustan Park, who, due to the "Act of Settlement 1701" are prohibited from being head of state. On this visit the Pope faced protest from Protestant extremist Pastor Jack Glass and his followers, who actively encouraged the removal of Roman Catholics from Scotland.

Pope John Paul II Pope John Paul II

Biography | Health | Funeral | 1978 Conclave | 2005 Conclave | Teachings | Pastoral trips |
Relations with Eastern Orthodox Church | Criticism

Personal tools