Saint John Paul II
Feast Day: October 22
Patron Saint of: World Youth Day
Known as Karol Józef Wojtyla or “Lolek” growing up, the soon-to-be pope was no stranger to loss. His mother, father, and older brother all died before his twenty-first birthday. Though he had always wanted to be an actor, Karol later discerned a vocation to the priesthood right when World War II was underway. He organized many secret faith meetings, disguised as outdoor trips, with young Christians hungry to grow in their faith. Elected as the first non-Italian pope in 455 years, Pope John Paul II successfully promoted interfaith initiatives, encouraged peace between nations, and created World Youth Day.