– Before his ordination as a priest, he was a university professor, a stonecutter, a member of an experimental theater group, a published poet, and a chemical company worker. He also played soccer as a goalie, took daring swims in flooded rivers, and enjoyed skiing, mountain climbing and kayaking. Proving that you ‘Vati-CAN’ do anything, if you put your mind to it!
– He became the Pope in 1978 (the year of the 3 popes). When Pope Paul VI died on Aug 6, 1978, John Paul I had been elected but had only been in office for 33 days when his untimely death occurred. Then John Paul II was elected and he selected his name to honor John Paul I, whose papacy was short. You can bet that it was definitely a year of ‘Mass confusion‘!
– It was this first assassination attempt that led the Pope to ride around in a car with very high bullet-proof glass windows- the Popemobile.
– After surviving his gun wound operations, the Pope had one of the gunman’s bullets set into a jeweled crown and donated it to ‘Our Lady Fatima’ in Portugal, who he believed had spared him.
– John Paul II has visited 129 countries, which is more than the combined total of countries visited by all 263 popes before him. Guess he liked ‘Rome’-ing the world! When visiting New York, he liked staying at the ‘Waldorf Pastor-ia’.
– Pope John Paul II released several albums, including Abbà Pater and The Rosary, which enabled him to go on tour with the ‘Red Hot Chili Popers’. He has also written a book about the assassination attempt on his life, which is what the movie ‘Pope Fiction’ was based on.
– Researchers have uncovered 21 and possibly 22 attempts on the life of Pope John Paul II between 1978 and 1989.