Pope Saint John Paul II was born Karol Wojtyla in the small Polish town of Wadowice. During World War II, when the Nazis invaded Poland, Karol secretly studied for the priesthood in an underground seminary established by the archbishop of Krakow. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1946. In 1964, Father Karol was appointed archbishop of Krakow; just three years later he was made a cardinal. In 1978, Cardinal Wojtyla was elected Pope, the 264th in the Church’s history. He took the name John Paul II. He began his papacy on Oct. 22 by telling the world, “Be not afraid”; his life showed everyone that to change the world, we must “cast into the deep for a great catch.”
Every year on March 25, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation. Our greatest saint, Mary did one simple thing. She listened to God’s will—that she was to be the mother of Jesus—and she accepted God’s will. Mary did not immediately think of herself, but set out to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, to be with her at the birth of John the Baptist. We will celebrate this unselfish act on May 31, the Visitation. Read the complete reflection online.
Saint Thomas was born at Roccasecca, Italy in 1225 of the family of the Counts of Aquino. He entered the Order at Naples at age 17, was a disciple of St. Albert the Great, and at age 25 earned the title of “doctor” from the University of Paris. The Summa Theologiae is his best-known work, and is one of the most influencial works of philosophy and the Church. It was published in 1485. Watch a video about St. Thomas online.
John Bosco was born August 16, 1815, in Becchi, Italy. He was the youngest son of Francesco Bosco and Margherita Occhiena and had two older brothers, Antonio and Giuseppe. St. John Bosco was canonized on Easter Sunday, 1934 and he was given the title, “Father and Teacher of Youth.” Saint John Bosco is the patron saint of apprentices, editors and publishers, schoolchildren, magicians, and juvenile delinquents. His feast day is on January 31. Watch a video about him online.
Called Agnes of Rome in some lists, she was a virgin and martyr, held in esteem by the Church since her death. There is no documented evidence about the martyrdom of Agnes, although her feast day was assigned early and her grave near the Via Nomentana was recognized soon after her death. She was young when martyred; St. Ambrose stated that she was only twelve, and he testified about her death. Watch the video about her life online.