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Friday, 2 June 2017

Famous Polish People: Pope John Paul 2nd

Dearest sweethearts,
Dearest history buffs,

Did you know that today, the 2nd of June, in the year 1979, John Paul II became the very first pope to visit a Communist country? Of course that country was in fact his homeland, Poland, and it's well known to all expats that even though you live outside your birthland, you will still yearn for it - no matter what! Another side is coming back, for holidays, to be with family and friends... you realise more and more that somehow you no longer fit in, yet... Polish people are quite different. They have a quality about them, a resistance to change that interferes with the homeland. They love their country deeply and steadfast, with all their heart. I do not think I have ever met a polish guy that did not truly love his homeland. It's as if instead of blood, patriotism and the love for their history flows within them. I realise that it's hard to stay away from the ones you love and I understand how hard it is to be away. It must have been extra tough on him seeing his home under so much pressure and terror, coming away from the hands of Germans only to be taken by Russians. Now John Paul 2nd fought during the Second World War and he saw the destruction brought upon Poland. He also got to see Poland starting to raise, like a Phoenix, from the ashes. 
Coming from a Communist country myself, I understand a bit of the background Poland has; after all, we were under the same block... so The Pope wanting to come and visit Poland was not only a thing of the heart, a return home, but also a way of defying communist. Maybe this is also one of the reasons The Pope is THE One for the Polish Catholic citizens, maybe that's also why they still worship him and each house has at least one of his portraits or a book about him. But, without any further ado, I wanted to share with you today some interesting facts about The Pope:
1. The Communists wanted him to become an archbishop of Krakow - now think of that... and think that he was one of the key figures that helped topple up the communism. 
2. He was never afraid of physical labour and exercise - he skied until  he was 73! And if you ever think the chores you are doing are aweful/disgusting, think of a young Karol Wojtyla who came back to the seminary after World War 2 was done, found the place a ruin, and started (with friends) cleaning the place up.
3. He loved pushing his boundaries - did you know that he travelled 775.000 miles during his lifetime?! He travelled all over the World, went to countless missions and helped spread the love and the Word of God. 
4. He had a gift of caring for others, maybe more so than for himself - did you know that from the royalties of one of his books he built churches in Yugoslavia after their conflict? He also would rather wear his clothes until they would wear off, and give away the new clothes he received for others in need?
5. He was dearly loved by the people - during his trip back to Poland, this very day, in 1979, Pope John Paul 2nd celebrated Pentecost Mass to a crowd of 300.000 people. At a certain point it was recorded that the wild applause did not stop for 14 minutes straight!
6. He was the first Pope who ever set foot in a mosque - it showed understanding of other people's culture and religion. If a person, The Pope, was willing to open up so much to the World, why can't we take this as an example of love? 
7. He broke the records, more than once... He was the only human recorded that has brought so many people together in one gathering. During the World Youth Day in 1995, in Philippines, an estimate of 5 million people flocked to hear/see the Holy Mass he did there.
8. He was the first non-italian Pope since the 16th century, and the very first Polish Pope ;)
9. And in case you didn't know... his parents are buried in Rakowicki Cemetery - Krakow. Also, John Paul 2nd's parents actually got married in the very same church I got married! That's right ;) and you can visit the lovely church: St. Peter and Paul (Sw. Piotr I Pawel) on Grodzka street, in Krakow. I always thought this church had a Vatican vibe about it...
10... Why would you need another fact/story/reason to admire this man and agree with me that he was, indeed, a #famouspolish person? You better ask Uncle Google for more data, or come to Krakow and enjoy the sights, walk on the paths he has walked. I can even tell you the church he served in, or the stone quarry in which he was forced to do physical labour... just come and #discovercracow 💗🐞

Yours very much sincerely,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves History