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The life of Pope John Paul II

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1920: Karol Wojtyla is born May 18 in Wadowice, Poland. 
He is baptized June 20.

1929: His mother dies; later this year, he receives first Communion.

1938: Moves to Krakow with his father, and enters Jagellonian University, where he joins a theater group.

1940: Forced to leave university; takes job as manual laborer 
during World War II.

1941: His father dies.

1942: Enters secret seminary in Krakow.

1944: hospitalized after being hit by a car. He is later hidden in archbishop's home to avoid arrest by Nazis.

1945: World War II ends; he resumes studies at Jagellonian University.

1946: Ordained priest on Nov. 1; begins graduate studies in Rome.

1958: Ordained auxiliary bishop of Krakow on Sept. 28.

1962: Goes to Rome for first session of Second Vatican Council.

1963: Attends Vatican II second session, is named archbishop 
of Krakow Dec. 30.

1965: Travels to Rome three times to help re-draft Vatican II document on church in modern world.

1967: Becomes a cardinal on June 28; named to first world Synod of Bishops, but stays home to protest government's denial of a passport to Poland's primate, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski.

1978: Elected 264th pope and bishop of Rome on Oct. 16; visits Assisi, the first of 146 trips within Italy.

1979: Visits Dominican Republic and Mexico, in what are the first of his 104 trips abroad as pope; also visits Poland, Ireland, United States and Turkey; convenes first plenary meeting of College of Cardinals in more than 400 years; approves Vatican declaration that Swiss-born Father Hans Kung can no longer teach as Catholic theologian.

1981: Shot, severely wounded on May 13; names Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger head of Vatican doctrinal congregation.

1982: Marks anniversary of attempt on his life with trip to Fatima, Portugal; meets with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat; makes Opus Dei the church's first personal prelature.

1983: Opens Holy Year of Redemption; visits would-be assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca, in prison.

1984: Establishes diplomatic relations with United States.

1986: Makes historic visit to Rome's synagogue; calls world religious leaders to Assisi to pray for peace.

1992: Benign tumor on colon is removed; issues official "Catechism of the Catholic Church."

1993: Writes first papal encyclical on nature of moral theology.

1994: Declares teaching that women cannot be priests must be held definitively; establishes diplomatic relations with Israel; named Time magazine's "Man of the Year."

1998: Historic Cuba visit is 81st trip abroad; starts first permanent Catholic-Muslim dialogue.

2000: Presides at numerous jubilee year events in Rome; makes historic visit to Holy Land.

2003: Marks 25th anniversary as pope; beatifies Mother Teresa of Calcutta, one of a record number of beatifications and canonizations under his pontificate.

2005: Publishes new book, "Memory and Identity: Conversations Between Millenniums"; is hospitalized, and undergoes tracheotomy. Dies April 2.

Source: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops