Wujek.

In honor of St. Pope John Paul II feast day on October 22nd i made a blog post and explaining why I am a huge fan of him. I mean, look at this picture oh him! How could you not love this radiating joy?

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To those who have not know him yet and if i were to tell his whole life story i would be writing a book instead of blog post because he did many great things throughout his life.

Thankfully, there’s a  link  on a brief biography of his life and a short video as well. if you’re more interested there’s even a couple of movies about his life available in YouTube.

One of the many reason why i love him so much is because of how he has a close relationship with the youths & young adults. At times i forgot the whole world calls him by his Offical name: St. POPE JOHN PAUL II because i normally call him “Wujek” and I’ll explain why.

He was an avid outdoorsman. He loved all sort of outdoors activities, like hiking, skiing, cycling, camping and kayaking to name a few. When we was a parish priest in Krakow, Fr Karol Józef Wojtyła would take young adults and teens on camping retreats and do such activites accompanied by prayer, outdoor Masses and theological discussions, teaching them about the meaning of life and the beauty of the human person.

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When Poland was repressed by communism, it was forbidden by the communist powers for priests to travel with groups of students. However, he firmly believed the best place to teach these subjects was on retreat, completely removed from the distractions and busyness of daily life.

Father Wojtyła had a way, he asked his younger companions to call him “Wujek” (Polish for “Uncle”) to prevent outsiders and government officials from knowing he was a priest. The nickname stayed with Wojtyła for his entire life and continues to be affectionately used, particularly by the Polish people.

One time when they were hiking in the forest on their way to the summit of the hill to go kayaking at a near by river, they were stoped by some officials and ask who they were. the group replyed they were here with their “Uncle” for a kayak trip but they were told to turn back to where they came from.pope_john_paul_ii_klepper

To avoid conflict with the officals they sadly agreed and the officals went on their own way. However, Father Wojtyła cunningly said “we should get back but they didn’t tell us how we should be getting back” refering to use the kayaks as a means to go home. Technically they didn’t broke the rules and they did went for the kayak trip.

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In 1958, when Wojtyła was named Auxiliary Bishop of Kraków, his acquaintances expressed concern that this would cause him to change. Wojtyła responded to his friends, “Wujek will remain Wujek,”. Even when he was elected Pope he insist the youth who were with him that time to still call him Wujek instead of address him as “Your Holiness”

Why he did this? Because he wants to be close to the youths like a “Wujek” rather than a far distance Pope.

His closeness to the younger generation is the reason why I owe a great deal of thanks to this holy man, who has helped shape my spirituality and has been my constant guide and intercessor on my faith journey.

Saints wants nothing more but to lead us to God.

Reading about his inspiring life or the lives or other saints takes you on a journey as if you will know them personally and whether John Paul II already holds a special place in your heart, or you are just discovering the inspiring lives of other Saints, a journey with the saints leads you to Christ. And like hiking and skiing the alps or kayaking down the stream, a life with Christ is a wonderful adventure.

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