May 18, 1920: Born Karol Joseph Wojtyla in Wadowice, Poland.
June 20, 1920: Baptized by P. Franciszek Zak, a military chaplain.
Sept. 15, 1926: Starts elementary school for boys.
April 13, 1929: His mother dies.
June 1930: Admitted to Marcin Wadowita, state secondary school for boys.
Dec. 5, 1932: His brother Edmund dies.
1934-1938: Performs in student theatre in Wadowice.
May 1938: Receives the sacrament of confirmation.
June 22, 1938: Enrols in the philosophy faculty at Jagiellonian University, Krakow.
July 1939: Attends university military training for Polish and Ukrainian students.
Nov. 1, 1940: Earns a living as a stone cutter in a quarry near Krakow, forestalling deportation and imprisonment
1941 His father, a non-commissioned officer in the Polish Army, died of a heart attack in 1941, leaving Karol the sole surviving member of his immediate family. "I was not at my mother's death, I was not at my brother's death, I was not at my father's death," he said, reflecting on these times of his life, nearly forty years later, "At twenty, I had already lost all the people I loved."
October 1942: Begins clandestine studies for the priesthood in Krakow's underground seminary; registers in the theology faculty at Jagiellonian University.
August 1943: Archbishop Adam Stefan Sapieha transfers him and other clandestine seminarians to the archbishop's residence. He remains there until the end of the war.
Nov. 1, 1946: Ordained a priest.
Nov. 2, 1946: Celebrates his first mass in the crypt of St. Leonard at Wavel, Poland.
Nov. 15, 1946: Leaves Poland to begin studies in Rome.
July 8, 1948: Sent as assistant pastor to Niegowic near Gdow, Poland.
August 1949: Recalled to Krakow to be assistant pastor at St. Florian's.
July 4, 1958: Appointed auxiliary bishop of Krakow.
Sept. 28, 1958: Ordained bishop in Wavel Cathedral.
October-December 1962: Participates in the first session of the Second Vatican Council.
October-December 1963: Participates in the second session of the Second Vatican Council.
March 8, 1964: Installed as metropolitan bishop of Krakow.
September-November 1964: Participates in the third session of the Second Vatican Council.
September-December 1965: Participates in fourth session and closing of the Second Vatican Council.
June 28, 1967: Consecrated cardinal in the Sistine Chapel by Pope Paul VI.
July-August 1969: Tours Canada.
July 23-Sept. 5, 1976: Visits the United States and Canada.
Aug. 11-12, 1978: Attends funeral of Pope Paul VI.
Oct. 3-4, 1978: Attends funeral of Pope John Paul I.
Oct. 16, 1978: Elected Pope by cardinals. He is the first Polish pope ever and the first non-Italian one in 455 years.
Jan. 25, 1979: First trip abroad as Pope, to Dominican Republic, Mexico, Bahamas.
June 2, 1979: First trip back to Poland as Pope.
Sept. 29, 1979: Travels to Ireland and United States.
May 13, 1981: Shot in abdomen by Turkish extremist in St. Peter's Square.
Sept. 9-20, 1984: First papal visit to Canada.
April 13, 1986: Makes historic visit to Rome's main synagogue.
Sept. 20, 1987: Makes a five-hour visit to Fort Simpson, N.W.T., during a U.S. trip to honour a promise he made when his 1984 visit to the hamlet was cancelled by fog.
Dec. 1, 1989: Meets with Mikhail Gorbachev at Vatican, first ever meeting between a pope and a Kremlin chief. Establishes diplomatic ties between Vatican and Russia.
May 1, 1991: Issues first encyclical on social issues since the fall of communism in Europe, giving qualified approval to capitalism but warning the rich against exploiting the poor.
July 15, 1992: Operation for benign tumour on colon.
Oct. 31, 1992: Formally declares the church erred in condemning Galileo.
Oct. 5, 1993: Issues encyclical Splendour of Truth, major statement defending absolute morals against liberal theologians.
Nov. 11, 1993: Dislocates right shoulder in fall down steps at Vatican event, requiring surgery.
Dec. 30, 1993: Agreement signed establishing formal ties between Vatican and Israel.
April 29, 1994: Breaks leg in fall and undergoes hip replacement surgery.
Oct. 19, 1994: His book, Beyond the Threshold of Hope, is published.
Oct. 8, 1996: Surgery to remove appendix.
March 1, 1999: Vatican confirms that the Pope has waived the five-year waiting period and begun beatification process for Mother Teresa.
March 20-26, 2000: Makes first trip as Pope to Holy Land, expresses sorrow for suffering of Jews at Christian hands in note left at Jerusalem's Western Wall.
Sept. 11, 2001: Condemns ``unspeakable horror'' of Sept. 11 attacks.
April 23, 2002: Meets with U.S. cardinals to discuss sex abuse scandal; says there is no place in priesthood for clerics who abuse young.
July 23-29, 2002: Visits Toronto to preside over World Youth Day, a gathering of hundreds of thousands of Catholics from around the world.
Feb. 14, 2003: Receives Iraqi deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz on eve of war.
June 5-9, 2003: Makes 100th foreign trip, visiting Croatia.
July 31, 2003: Vatican launches global campaign against gay marriages.
Feb. 1, 2005: Pope urgently hospitalized with breathing problems.
Feb. 10, 2005: Discharged from hospital.
Feb. 23, 2005: His fifth book, Memory and Identity, is released in Italy.
Feb. 24, 2005: Rushed back to hospital with flu-like symptoms, undergoes operation to insert a tube in his throat to relieve breathing problems.
March 13, 2005: Discharged from hospital, hours after his first public appearance since Feb. 24.
March 27, 2005: Appears in public on Easter. Tries to speak but fails.
March 30, 2005: Vatican says a feeding tube has been inserted in John Paul's nose to help him recover his strength.
April 2, 2005: Pope John Paul II dies at 9:37 p.m. Rome time.
Statistics on Pope John Paul's pontificate – April 2, 2005
Some achievements of Pope John Paul:
- -Visited 129 countries in 104 foreign visits, making him most travelled pope. Covered 1.16 million kilometres, which is about 30 times around the globe or three times to the moon.
- Issued 14 encyclicals, 15 apostolic exhortations, 11 apostolic constitutions and 44 apostolic letters and delivered 2,416 planned speeches during his foreign trips.
- Beatified 1,338 people in 147 ceremonies and canonized 482 people in 51 ceremonies, more than all his predecessors over the past 500 years combined.
- Convened nine consistories and installed 232 cardinals; ordained 321 bishops; baptized 687 children and 814 adults.
- Held 1,161 general audiences, attended by over 17.6 million people.
- Visited 317 of Rome's 333 parishes in his capacity as bishop of Rome.
- Held 38 official visits with heads of state and more than 982 audiences and meetings with political figures, of which 737 were audiences or other meetings with heads of state and 245 were meetings or audiences with prime ministers.
- Was the third longest-serving pontiff, at 26 years, five months, 17 days. Popes who served longer were St. Peter, the first pope, who served from AD 30 to 64 or 67, for a total of 34 or 37 years; and Pope Pius IX, who served 31 years, seven months, 22 days, until Feb. 7, 1878.
- Published four books as pope: Beyond the Threshold of Hope, (1994); the autobiography Gift and Mystery (1996); and a book of poetry Roman Triptych, (2003), Get Up, Let Us Go, (2004). A fifth book, Memory and Identity, was published in early 2005.