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May 18, 1920 - Karol Jozef Wojtyla is born on May 18, 1920, in Wadowice, a small town about 35 miles south of Krakow, Poland.  He is the second of two boys to parents Karol Sr., a tailor, and Emilia.
November 1, 1946 - Wojtyla is ordained after attending a clandestine seminary in Krakow during World War II.   He received his doctorate in theology in 1948 in Rome and subsequently returned to Krakow, where he was the vicar of several parishes.  On Jan. 13, 1964, he was nominated archbishop of Krakow by Pope Paul VI.
June 26, 1967 - Pope Paul VI makes Wojtyla a cardinal.
October 16, 1978 - Following the death of Pope John Paul I, the Sacred College of Cardinals elects Wojtyla pope. He takes the name John Paul II.
June, 1979 - Pope John Paul II visits his homeland of Poland. The visit sparks a renewed feeling of nationalism within the country. In 1980, the Solidarity movement sweeps the country, leading to Poland's eventual release from the grip of the Soviet Union.
May 13, 1981 - The Pope is shot by Mehmet Ali Agca in St. Peter's square in Rome.  The pope later publicly forgives Agca and visits him in prison.  Agca is pardoned in June 2000 and deported to his Turkish homeland, where he is currently serving a prison sentence for a murder he committed before shooting the Pope.
April 13, 1986 - John Paul II becomes the first pope to visit a synagogue when he delivers an address at the Great Roman Synagogue.
May 22, 1994 - In an apostolic letter, the pope reaffirms his position that the priesthood is a vocation open only to men. Throughout his papacy, John Paul II has also sustained the Catholic Church's traditional stance on social issues such as abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia and homosexuality.
October, 1994 - The Pope becomes a best-selling author with the publication of "Crossing the Threshold of Hope."
December, 1994 - "Time" magazine names Pope John Paul II its Man of the Year.
May 12, 1998 - The Vatican issues a 14-page report that apologizes for the Catholic Church's silence during the Holocaust.
April, 2002 - In response to the clergy sex abuse scandals sweeping the United States, the pope calls U.S. cardinals to Rome for an emergency meeting.
October 16, 2003 - The 83-year-old pontiff celebrates Mass in St. Peter's Square to mark the 25th anniversary of his papacy. Cardinals from all over the world are in attendance, joined by thousands of pilgrims, including representatives from each of the 301 parishes the pope has visited during his worldwide pilgrimages.
March 15, 2004 - Pope John Paul II passes Pope Leo the 13th to become the third longest-serving pontiff in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. He is also the most-traveled pope, visiting 129 foreign countries, and has elevated more individuals into sainthood than all his predecessors over the last 500 years combined.