Following in the footsteps of the Pilgrim Pope.

John Paul II in the cities of the shrines of Europe


In 1978, the congregation of cardinals gathered in the Sistine Chapel of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican chose Cardinal Karol Wojtyła, a Polish born in Wadowice, as Pope. The new pope took the name John Paul II. It was the first bishop of Rome from outside Italy after 455 years.

His pontificate was distinguished by numerous apostolic journeys. He made 104 pilgrimages to 130 countries of the world on all continents. He called himself the Pope-Pilgrim. During each pilgrimage he visited Marian shrines, emphasizing his devotion to the Mother of God and the special role of Mary in the life of the Church and his own.

John Paul II served as head of the Catholic Church for over 26 years and died on April 2, 2005 in the Vatican.

This year marks the hundredth anniversary of the birth of John Paul II. The cities of the Shrines of Europe decided to celebrate this event with an exhibition of photographs from the Holy Father's journeys to Altötting, Częstochowa, Einsielden, Fatima, Loreto, Lourdes and Mariazell.