Karol Wojtyla was born on this day in 1920 in Poland. In the fall of 1978 he became Pope John Paul II after the unexpected sudden death of Pope John Paul I [the William Henry Harrison of Pope’s} JPII was 58 when he became Pope. John Paul II would serve as Pope from 1978 until his death on April 2, 2005 at the age of 84. John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope since 1523. He would be one of the most influential people of the 20th century. He would survive an assassination attempt in the spring of 1981 and along with another man who also survived an assassination attempt-Dutch Reagan would play a major role in the demise of communism in Eastern Europe. During his time as Pope-John Paul II visited 129 countries. I think one thing is for certain. When they named him Pope-they didn’t figure he was going to be around as long as he was. I would bet it will be a while before they name a Pope as young as JPII was-26 1/2 years as Pope is a long run. JPII is actually second on the list of longest time served as Pope. Pope Pius IX back in the mid-1800’s served 31 years.