Apostolic Voyage 1
MEXICO January, 1979
Just three months after his election as pope, John Paul II undertook his first trip, to Mexico, a country with an anti-clerical constitution and no diplomatic ties to the Vatican. On arrival, he began what would become his custom on all trips: He dropped to his knees and kissed the ground.
Despite being officially ignored by the Mexican government, the Pope was greeted by as many as five million people, who lined the streets of Mexico City to hail him. Even the skeptical Mexican press acknowledged that "He came, he conquered."
Speaking to the Conference of Latin American Bishops, the Pope denounced those who would turn their ministries toward a more political form of liberation theology.
"This notion of a political Jesus, a revolutionary, the subversive from Nazareth," he said, "is not in harmony with the church's teaching."
Apostolic Voyage 2
POLAND June, 1979
Eight months into his papacy, John Paul returned in triumph to his native Poland. The first non-Italian pontiff in more than four centuries, he was the first pope to penetrate the Iron Curtain. In nine tumultuous days, he was seen firsthand by one out of every three Poles.
Communist authorities were powerless to prevent him from challenging the ideology of their regime and alliance with the unholy Soviet Union. From the massive greeting he received in his old parish of Krakow, to the mass he celebrated in the Auschwitz death camp, and the rally of workers in Nowa Huta, John Paul planted the seeds that would blossom as the Solidarity movement in the Gdansk shipyards the next year.
Anticipating the upheaval his visit would trigger, the Pope reassured the Polish people: "There is no need to be afraid. The frontiers must be opened. There is no imperialism in the church, only service."
Apostolic Voyage 21
SOUTH KOREA May, 1984
Determined to spread the gospel and his influence around the world, John Paul visited South Korea where he proclaimed 103 Korean martyrs as saints -- the first time since the Middle Ages that a canonization had taken place outside of Rome.
While the Roman Catholic Church in Korea was small -- 1.7 million followers -- its intensity was great, the Pope said, the result of so much blood shed in the church's name during the 18th and 19th centuries. "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of Christians," he told a mass of one million people in Seoul.
Apostolic Voyage 23
CANADA September, 1984
On his first trip to Canada, an extensive 12-day visit took John Paul to almost every major centre in the country. Despite the Canadian church's largely urban nature, the Pope emphasized two themes during his stay: the importance to him of the country's aboriginal people, and the responsibility of wealthy nations to care for the poor.
"In the light of Christ's word," he told the faithful at an open-air mass outside Edmonton, "the poor South will judge the rich North. The poor peoples . . . will judge the nations that have carried off their property, claiming their imperialistic monopoly over their goods and a political supremacy at other people's expense."
Apostolic Voyage 27
AFRICA August, 1985
On a 12-day trip that took him to Togo, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Zaire, Kenya and Morocco, John Paul emphasized a major theme of his papacy: human rights. He denounced the "crying injustice" of apartheid, called for the independence of South African-occupied Namibia, and apologized for the slave trade once carried out by Christian nations.
In Zaire, at the palace of president Mobutu Sese Seko, the Pope criticized African leaders for corruption, exploitation of the poor and repression of political dissent. In the Central African Republic, he celebrated mass at the site where dozens of children had been slaughtered for protesting against wearing school uniforms.
In Morocco, where he became the first pope to be an official guest in an Islamic nation, he told a crowd of about 80,000 young Muslims that dialogue between Christians and Muslims was more crucial than ever. "Muslims and Christians have generally understood each other badly, and sometimes, in the past, we have opposed each other and even exhausted each other in polemics and wars," he said. "I think God invites us today to change our old habits. We have to respect each other and also stimulate each other in good works on the road of God."
Apostolic Voyage 29
INDIA February, 1986
Thousands of militant Hindus demonstrated against him when John Paul made a 10-day, 14-city tour of India. The protesters, and indeed many Indians, wanted the expulsion of Catholic missionaries and a ban on conversions of Hindus to Christianity.
Ministering to the tiny flock of 12 million Catholics among a Hindu population of 750 million, however, the Pope held up the work of Mother Teresa, the Catholic nun who worked with the destitute and dying in the teeming city of Calcutta, as an example of the value of the church's mission in the country.
He called on Indian authorities to reject nuclear arms and to ensure that the country's poor and downtrodden were given a voice in the class-oriented society.
On the matter of birth control, a practice strongly encouraged by the Indian government, the Pope quoted Mohandas Gandhi: "How is the suspension of procreation to be brought about? Not by immoral and artificial checks."
"Gandhi," the pontiff said, declared that the answer lay in "a life of discipline and self-control."
Apostolic Voyage 33
CHILE April, 1987
John Paul's visit to Chile was part of his strategy for supporting peaceful transition to democracy. Using the influence that comes with being head of the church that is followed by 80 per cent of the people of Chile, the Pope privately encouraged General Augusto Pinochet to call a presidential election (in exchange for immunity from prosecution for any crimes the general may have committed).
Publicly, however, he offered the general his support, becoming only the second head of state to visit the dictator at his official residence where, during the 1973 coup, president Salvador Allende died.
The Pope stunned critics of the Pinochet regime by saying that, despite the thousands of deaths it had caused, the Chilean government was much less malign than its counterpart in Poland.
To those who said they
favoured socialism, as practised by Mr. Allende, he cautioned: "We must not confuse the noble struggle for justice, which is the expression of respect and love for man, with a movement that sees the class struggle as the only way to eliminate class injustices in
Apostolic Voyage 60
U.S. August, 1993
Following the practice he initiated in 1985, John Paul was the centrepiece of a week-long celebration of World Youth Day in Denver. About 350,000 people from more than 70 countries welcomed his condemnation of what he called "a culture of death" that was being imposed on Western society in general, and American society in particular.
"The family is especially under attack. And the sacred character of human life denied," he said. "Naturally, the weakest members of society are the most at risk: the unborn, children, the sick, the handicapped, the old, the poor and unemployed, the immigrant and refugee.
"Do not be afraid to go out on the streets and into public places," he told the crowd. "This is no time to be ashamed of the gospel. It is the time to preach it from the rooftops. Woe to you if you do not succeed in defending life."
Apostolic Voyage 81
CUBA January, 1998
No stranger to Communist countries, John Paul nevertheless created a stir when he became the first pope to visit Cuba, a country that imported its Catholicism more than 500 years earlier. Cuban dictator Fidel Castro had been schooled by Jesuits but outlawed many of the church's activities after he came to power. In 1962, he modified the country's constitution, making Cuba an officially atheist state. (It became a secular state in 1992.) Four weeks before the Pope arrived, however, the country celebrated Christmas as an official holiday for the first time in almost three decades.
In his five-day visit, the Pope was given unprecedented freedom to criticize the authorities and to broadcast his message to the people. He called for the release of the country's political prisoners and for freedom of expression and religion. With Mr. Castro looking on, the Pope demanded respect for human rights in his final mass at Havana's Revolution Square.
"The state . . . must promote a calm social climate and adequate legislation that allows each person and each religious group to freely express its faith," he told a crowd of about 100,000.
He then proceeded to blast the neighbouring United States for its punitive trade embargo on the island, calling it "unjust and ethically unacceptable."
Apostolic Voyage 91
ISRAEL March, 2000
In what was considered by many to be the climactic chapter of his papacy, John Paul visited the Holy Land, in part to mark the second millennium of Christ, and also to finally end nearly 2,000 years of Christian enmity toward Jews.
Before the world's television cameras, he placed a prayer for forgiveness between the rocks of the Jewish Temple's Western Wall, and announced that his church's doctrine of contempt -- the blaming of Jews for killing Jesus -- was wiped off the books.
Apostolic Voyage 93
SYRIA May, 2001
With his visit to Damascus, John Paul became the first pontiff in history to visit and pray in an Islamic place of worship. Just as he had revolutionized the church's ties with Judaism by visiting Rome's synagogue in 1985, he used his visit to the Great Umayyad Mosque to turn the page with Islam, too.
"For all the times that Muslims and Christians have offended one another, we need to seek forgiveness from the Almighty and to offer each other forgiveness," he said.
"Better mutual understanding will surely lead . . . to a new way of presenting our two religions, not in opposition as has happened too often in the past, but in partnership for the good of the human family."
Syrian President Bashar Assad, however, seemed to have missed the point. Greeting the Pope, he used the occasion to accuse the Jewish state of Israel of "trying to kill religions in the same way [the Jews] betrayed Jesus Christ."
Apostolic Voyage 94
UKRAINE June, 2001
Hoping to end nearly a thousand years of acrimony, John Paul visited Ukraine, the birthplace of Christianity in Eastern Europe and seat of one of the major branches of Eastern Orthodoxy. Though rebuffed by Russian Patriarch Alexi II and Ukrainian Orthodox Church leader Metropolitan Vladimir, who opposed his visit, the pontiff drew enormous crowds of supporters.
Ukraine's six million Catholics, most of them adherents of the Greek Catholic faith who practise Orthodox ritual but bear allegiance to the pope, faced persecution under Russian imperial and Soviet rule. John Paul beatified 28 Greek Catholics on his trip, including 27 martyrs, most of whom were killed by Soviet secret police.
He exhorted the people to put aside religious feuds. "During the last centuries, too many stereotyped ways of thinking, too much mutual resentment and too much intolerance have accumulated," he said.
"The only way to clear the path is to forget the past, ask forgiveness of one another and forgive one another.
"May pardon, given and received, spread like a healing balm in every heart.
"May the purification of historical memories lead everyone to work for the triumph of what unites over what divides, in order to build a future of mutual respect, fraternal co-operation and true solidarity."
12 APOSTOLIC VOYAGES
John Paul visited more than 130 countries. These are some of his more significant trips
Mexico, January 1979
Poland, June 1979
S. Korea, May 1984
Canada, September 1984
Africa, August 1985
India, February 1986
Chile, April 1987
U.S., August 1993
Cuba, January 1998
Israel, March 2000
Syria, May 2001
Ukraine, June 2001
Jan. 25: Dominican Republic, Mexico (Third General Conference of Latin American Bishops, Puebla) and the Bahamas
June 2-10: Poland
Sep. 29-Oct. 8: Ireland, the United Nations and the United States
Nov. 28-30: Turkey
May 2-12: Zaire, Republic of Congo, Kenya, Ghana, Upper Volta, Ivory Coast
May 30-June 2: France
June 30-July 12: Brazil
Nov. 15-19: West Germany
Feb. 16-27: Pakistan, the Philippines, Guam (U.S.), Japan, and Anchorage (U.S.)
Feb. 12-19: Nigeria, Benin, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea
May 12-15: Portugal
May 28-June 2: Britain
June 10-13: Argentina
June 15: Switzerland
August 29: Republic of San Marino
Oct. 31-Nov. 9: Spain
March 2-10: Portugal and Central America-Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador, Guatemala, Hondurans, Belsize, and Haiti.
June 16-23: Poland
Aug. 14-15: France
Sept. 10-13: Austria
May 2-12: S.Korea, Papua-New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, United States and Thailand
June 12-17: Switzerland
Sept. 9-12: Canada
Oct. 10-13: Spain, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico
Jan 26-Feb. 6: Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Trinidad-Tobago
May 11-21: Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium
Aug. 8-19: Togo, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Republic of Central Africa, Zaire, Kenya, Morocco
Jan. 21-Feb. 10: India
July 1-8: Columbia and Saint Lucia
Oct. 4-7: France
Nov. 18-Dec.1: Bangladesh, Singapore, Fiji Islands, New Zealand, Australia, and Seychelles
March 31 - April 13: Uruguay, Chile and Argentina; celebration in Buenos Aires of the Second World Youth Day
April 30 - May 4: Germany
June 8-14: Poland
Sept. 10-21: U.S. and Canada
May 7-19: Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru
June 23-27: Austria
Sept. 10-20: Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland
Oct. 8-11: the European Institutions of Strasbourg and to the dioceses of Strasbourg, Metz and Nancy, France
April 28-May 6: Madagascar, Reunion, Zambia and Malawi
June 1-10: Norway, Iceland, Finland, Denmark, Sweden
Aug. 19-21: Santiago de Compostela, Spain for Fourth World Youth Day and to Asturias
Oct. 6-10: Seoul, Indonesia and Mauritius
Jan 25-Feb. 1: Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Chad
Apr 21: Czechoslovakia
May 6-14: Mexico and Curacao
May 25: Malta
Sept. 1-10: Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and Ivory Coast
May 10-13: May 10-13: Portugal
June 1-9: Poland
Aug. 13-20: Czestochowa (Poland) for the Sixth World Youth Day and Hungary
Oct. 12-21: Brazil
Feb. 19-26: Senegal, Gambia and Guinea
June 4 - 10: Angola and Sao Tome and Principe
October 9-14: Santo Domingo, for the fifth centenary of evangelization of Latin America and Fourth General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate
Feb. 3-10: Benin, Uganda and Kartoum
April 25: Albania
June 12: Spain
Aug. 9-16: Jamaica, Mexico and Denver, for Eighth World Youth Day
Sept. 4-10: Lithuania. Latvia, Estonia (First visit by a pope to these countries)
Sept. 10-11: Zagreb, Croatia
Jan. 11-21: Manila, for the World Youth Day, to Papua New Guinea, Australia and Sir Lanka
May 20-23: Czech Republic
June 3-4: Belgium
June 30: Slovak Republic
Sep. 14: Africa
Oct. 4: U.S. On Rome-NY flight, Pope reaches the million km mark
Feb. 5-12: Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Venezuela
Apr. 14: Tunisia
May 17-19: Slovenia
June 21-23: Germany
Sept. 6-7: Hungary
Sept. 19-22: France
April 12-14: Sarajevo
April 25-28: Czech Republic
May 10-11: Lebanon
May 30 - June 10: Poland
Aug. 21: Paris, for 12th World Youth Day
Oct. 2-6: Rio de Janeiro, for Second World Meeting with Families
Jan. 21-26: Cuba
Mar. 21: Nigeria
June 19-21: Austria
Jan 22: Mexico and the U.S.
May 7: Romania
June 5: Poland
Sept 19: Slovenia
Nov. 5: India and Georgia
Feb. 2-26: Mount Sinai
March 20-26: Israel and Jerusalem
May 12-13: Portugal
May 4-9: Greece, Syria and Malta
June 23-27: Ukraine
Sept. 22-27: Kazakhstan, Armenia
May 22-23: Azerbaijan
May 23-26: Bulgaria
July 23-29: Canada
July 29-30: Guatemala
July 30-Aug. 2: Mexico
Aug. 16-19: Poland
May 3-4: Spain
June 5-9: Croatia
June 22 Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sept. 11-14: Slovak Republic
June 5-6: Switzerland
Aug. 14: France(Monday, April 4, 2005)