Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
28 Apr 2011
He's a man who has every right to enter the Guinness Book of World Records. During his pontificate, John Paul II, quickly broke all the records set by his predecessors. In fact, just a few months after being elected Pope, he was nicknamed Hurricane Wojtyla.
He visited 129 countries. He made 104 trips abroad and another 146 within Italy. He traveled over 1,200,000 kilometers, which is more than three times the distance from Earth to the Moon or the equivalent of going around the world 30 times.
Card. Angelo Amato
Prefect, Congregation for the Causes of Saints
"He launched himself with fervor and courage to all parts of the world. He visited hundreds of countries, not for pleasure or curiosity, but to preach the gospel of peace of our Lord Jesus Christ."
He celebrated the biggest Mass in history. It was in the Philippines during World Youth Day in Manila back in 1995, where more than 4 million people attended.
Card. Gaudencio Rosales
Archbishop of Manila (Philippines)
"I remember the Pope's spokesman said that the crowd prevented the passage of the so called "popemobile. " We had to walk two miles to reach the stage. It was supposed to begin at 9, but we started at around 11. The spokesman described the WYD in Manila as an excess of success."
Arch. Renato Boccardo
Former papal trip organizer
(February 2, 2005)
"There were people behind some walls, they couldn't see anything. They didn't even have a radio to listen in, but they said, the pope is here, I can't miss it. It was a testimony of faith, an embodied faith that was very moving."
But the Pope also celebrated smaller masses, like the one held before 200 people during a 1989 visit to the Nordic countries. He also held a mass in Azerbaijan in May 2002. He became the first pope to visit those places.
Joaquin Navarro Valls
Former Pope's spokesman
"The Pope could no longer walk. It was a tremendous sacrifice for him to speak at that point. But, he decided to go to Azerbaijan, where the total number of Catholics was less than 200." The Pope wanted to go because he valued how that small group, the handful of Catholics who were in that country, had the right to celebrate Mass. They had the right to be with the Pope as if it were a country in which there were 200 million Catholics."
The figures of his reign are impressive. It was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years and the first Slavic pope in history. His pontificate lasted 26 years and 5 months, the third longest after Pius IX and St. Peter.
As a bishop of Rome, he made 301 visits to parishes within that city.
He held 1,160 general audiences attended by more than 17 million people. He also named 231 cardinals from all continents.
He met with nearly 1,600 heads of State and Government. No one else has ever led so many people in such a diverse cultural context.
He held many cathechims for children, whom he called "the little friends of Jesus." John Paul II was also the first pope to write a papal document for children, in this case it was a pastoral letter.
He was also a great writer. He signed more than 100 solemn documents, including 14 encyclicals, 45 apostolic letters and 14 apostolic exhortations. Throughout the years, his speeches added to more than 100,000 pages.
He declared more saints and blessed than his predecessors all together. He canonized 482 people and beatified another 1,338.
Arch. Piero Marini
Master of Ceremonies John Paul II
"John Paul II proclaimed more saints than all other popes together since Urban VIII to Paul VI."
His vision of dialogue with people of all religions was innovative. He was the first modern Pope to visit a synagogue, the first to enter a Protestant church and a mosque. He promoted dialogue with Jews and with representatives of other religions while calling for prayer and peace, especially in Assisi in October 1986.
These are all records that show the personal power of the Pope and his tireless dedication to the Church. A reign full of achievements that will mark forever the history of Catholicism and Christianity of the third millennium.