Today is the birthday of one of my dearest friends, Gosia Cleary, the mother of my god-daughter Rhiannon. And it's in her honor that today's "As Seen On TV" showcase features one of the greatest people to come out of her homeland......
"Pope John Paul II"
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On completion of his studies at the seminary in Kraków, Karol Wojtyla was ordained as a priest on All Saints' Day, 1 November 1946, by the Archbishop of Kraków, Cardinal Sapieha. He was then sent to study theology in Rome, at the Pontifical International Athenaeum Angelicum, where he earned a licentiate and later a doctorate in sacred theology. This doctorate, the first of two, was based on the Latin dissertation The Doctrine of Faith According to Saint John of the Cross. He returned to Poland in the summer of 1948 with his first pastoral assignment in the village of Niegowic, fifteen miles from Kraków. Arriving at Niegowic during harvest time, his first action was to kneel down and kiss the ground. This gesture, adapted from French saint Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney, would become one of his ‘trademarks’ during his Papacy.
In March 1949, he was transferred to the parish of Saint Florian in Kraków. He taught ethics at the Jagiellonian University and subsequently at the Catholic University of Lublin. While teaching, Wojtyla gathered a group of about 20 young people, who began to call themselves Rodzinka, the "little family". They met for prayer, philosophical discussion, and helping the blind and sick. The group eventually grew to approximately 200 participants, and their activities expanded to include annual skiing and kayaking trips. In 1954 he earned a second doctorate, in philosophy, evaluating the feasibility of a Catholic ethic based on the ethical system of phenomenologist Max Scheler. However, the Communist authorities' intervention prevented his receiving the degree until 1957.
During this period, Wojtyla wrote a series of articles in Kraków's Catholic newspaper Tygodnik Powszechny ("Universal Weekly") dealing with contemporary church issues. He also focused on creating original literary work during his first dozen years as a priest. War, life under Communism, and his pastoral responsibilities all fed his poetry and plays. However, he published his work under two pseudonyms – Andrzej Jawien and Stanislaw Andrzej Gruda – to distinguish his literary from his religious writings (which were published under his own name) and also so that his literary works would be considered on their own merits. In 1960, Wojtyla published the influential theological book Love and Responsibility, a defence of the traditional Church teachings on marriage from a new philosophical standpoint. BCnU!