How Pope John Paul II Still Influences People Throughout The World

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
2 Apr 2015

Pope John Paul II died on April 2, 2005 after leading the Catholic Church for more than a quarter of a century. He left an indelible mark on the lives of millions. And ten years after his passing, the Pope still remains on many people's minds.

"Saint Pope John Paul II was a public figure that everyone in the world knew. The love, and the peace, and the image of Catholicism that he portrayed was inspirational.

"I think for my generation the most important thing he did was 'Theology of the Body.' ... And it's just beautiful."

It is impossible to describe all the ways that Pope John Paul II changed the world. But many of his actions, writings, and programs remain highly relevant today.

He started the World Youth Day tradition in the 1980s. Millions have attended the gatherings. Next year, World Youth Day will be celebrated in Krakow, Poland to honor him.

His 'Evangelium Vitae' encyclical focuses on the importance of life in all stages. It remains highly relevant in today's cultural debates.

The Pope is perhaps most beloved in his home country of Poland, where he is often considered their greatest hero. His 1979 visit to Poland contributed to the downfall of Communism in that country. When more than one million Poles came to see him speak, they chanted "We want God!"

He has also been credited with helping end dictatorships in South America and other parts of Europe. Millions of people may not be living in freedom had it not been for the Polish pontiff.

Pilgrims to St. Peter's Square speak highly of the late Pope. But he is also remembered in countless ways. Many places bear his name throughout the world: schools, hospitals, churches, parks, bridges, and even several airports.

Pope John Paul II remains a popular attraction in Rome. His tomb is one of the most popular destinations for pilgrims at St. Peter's Basilica.