Robert Barron | – Did You Ever Meet Pope John Paul II? — Bishop Barron on Vatican II

Friends, in the coming days, I will be sharing a series of brief video reflections—recorded during a recent conversation with Rocco Buttiglione for the Hildebrand Project—on Vatican II, Catholic liturgy and tradition, and the mission of evangelization. In this first video, I reflect on Pope St. John Paul II. Though I never met him, he meant the world to me. What a model to have—his papacy was a lodestar for a new generation, and with it came a fresh wind blowing through the Church.

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Bishop Barron on Why Pope John Paul II is a Saint: [support us]
Bishop Barron on St. John Paul II, the Heroic Pope: [support us]
Bishop Barron on St. John Paul II’s “Lessons in Hope”: [support us]
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About The Author

Bishop Robert Barron These are brief and insightful commentaries on faith and culture by Catholic theologian and author Bishop Robert Barron. The videos complement his weekly sermons posted and podcasted at

Comment (44)

  1. I was being baptized, during my first couple of months of life in June 1979, during this moment in time, that Bishop Barron is referring to here. I left the Catholic Church and became a Protestant in my adult life. Learning history (through accidentally listening to a video of Bishop Barron during the Corvid lock-down) cured me of spiritual blindness. I'm assimilating back to one, TRUE and apostolic Catholic Church now.

  2. JPII, we love you!!! I saw him in Toronto in 1984! What a presence and yes, was like a rock star! Such a strong, handsome, Pope, someone who appreciated the outdoors, the arts, womanhood… John Paul II made us proud to be Catholic, to have Polish blood… to be women, artists. 😀

  3. Thank you for sharing your memories, it brought back so many of mine. I was in the ensemble that played at the Mass on the Mall. It was an incredible few days with his visit to DC but the mass was truly amazing. I was a senior at the U of Md, the ensemble was made up of musicians from several Universities in the area. That is how I will always remember him, even when he got older I still remember him celebrating the mass.

  4. I have number of the most important and fundamental questions regarding correct understanding what ALL the Christian churches and all sects are teaching and I wonder if you will answer it truthfully, or you'd rather decline to answer it.
    My question to you is: —
    Will anyone, who believes in God the Father, creator of all that is seen and unseen, in Jesus, his Son – true God from true God, and in the Holy Spirit – one God in three persons, and if that person keeps faithfully all the commandments of God, but does NOT believe that Jesus was crucified to atone (be punished!) for the Adam's sin of disobedience, some 5000 years before, — will that person be granted the eternal life in Heaven, or not?
    — Another question: —
    As you surely know, Cardinal George Pell has said on 9th April 2012, in front of TV cameras and large audience, that Adam and Eve never existed, and that what it bs written about them in the Bible, is just: – "It's a very sophisticated mythology….It's religious story for religious purposes."
    And the Pope did NOT rebuke Cardinal Pell and ordered him to change his opinion, and also say it publicly, but instead made him one of his personal advisers!
    This obviously means, that the Pope is of the same opinion, that Adam never existed!
    Therefore, what is your opinion about Adam and Eve?
    If Adam did not exist, then the "Original sin" for which Jesus was crucified, has not been committed, right?
    I wonder what is your personal opinion about it, and actually, I doubt if you would dare to say anything….
    (BTY, believe or not, but I am a profoundly believing Catholic).

  5. I was a young woman who took a day off from work to stand among thousands of people in Logan Circle in Philadelphia when Pope John Paul II came to speak to us. Such excitement and good will in the crowd as we waited for hours to hear him and see him… Such a tiny figure at that distance on a huge stage but his presence was electric and awesome. I can still hear his baritone voice and see his outstretched arms to this huge
    crowd who seemed to be sending him waves of love. Thank you for bringing this memory back to me.

  6. I remember the news stating that Pope John Paul II had a pool installed at the Vatican so he could exercise by daily swimming!
    Also when he first arrived in the US (October) and bent down to kiss the ground, I asked my 8 year old so So what do you want to be for Halloween? He pointed to the tv and said, him!
    I made the costume but had the hardest Tim making the cap. Question: I always wondered and still do, how do you keep the cap on your head? Well my son went through town with the costume raising and waving his hands like John Paul and blessings those who gave him candy!

  7. I didn't meet him but saw him in 1994 (or 95?) at a stadium near the Meadowlands in NJ. He really did bring fresh life to the church during that time. He had a special way with the youth – I wonder how many converts during that time are still with the Church now.

  8. I was present during the World Youth Day in 1995, Manila. I didn't get to be close to the Pope then, I was about a 500 meters away from the stage where He was celebrating the mass. There was a huge crowd. But I can feel his presence even though i was so far away and he was able to help me get the healing I asked the Lord Jesus. He has this power, that people can feel and experience. I cannot tell if it is his heart, his aura, his spirituality, but he is big – bigger than what is contained in his skin. He was given that power to touch others, far or near.

  9. Thank you Bishop Barron. St John Paul II travelled to SA.. May I ask, please, for prayers of protection and particularly recitation of the St Michael’s prayer of protection over our Pope Francis and the entire church and all believers. We’re Living in very different times, and days of social media. Etc. St JPII served during Communism and Socialism, and the world’s prayers through him were for the end of those systems invoking Mother of God. We need these prayers and faith again in Church. Lastly, pardon my seeming ranting and strange comment. Today we need as before a church of prayer.

  10. I got the blessing to serve in two of JPII Masses (1984 Puerto Rico & 1992 Dominican Republic). In the year 1998 I was invited to serve in the Mass and because I was a military and a law enforcement officer Cuba did not granted visa to me. Mons Ratzinger tried to inform the Cuba government that part of the personnel assigned by Holy See but I couldn’t get visa. Praise be God for that blessing!

  11. I had the sublime opportunity to kneel before Pope John Paul II twice in the Vatican as he placed a rosary in my hand. There are no words to express the unbelievable moments after – just tears. I was working on the staff of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington DC then on those privileged trips to Rome. Now it is the Saint Pope John Paul II Shrine. Please visit. Incredible history there of him. PS to Bp. Barron – I wrote to you last month about how my sister and I would listen to your Masses each day. She passed away on June 22 of lymphoma. I even played your talks to her while she was hospitalized. She asked to hear your voice. Thank you.

  12. I met him in 1997. When I saw him, I cry saying 'I want to be like him, I want to be a saint'. I was young. In the beginning of my way with Jesus. Few minutes later kneeling in front of him, I was shaken by his eyes full of love. I just could say 'I love you, young people love you dear Jean Paul 2'. A great meeting in my life. I met Heaven in a man. He still my friend still this day and more since he is in Heaven

  13. I saw John Paul when he visited San Antonio. The atmosphere was overwhelming with love and respect. My brother a seminarian was at a Mass JP gave that evening arc the Cathedral. We viewed Mass on TV and he inspired by the Homily he gave both times that day. I will never forget.

  14. i was only 4 years old when he died.. i never got the chance to meet him. everytime i look at him through photos, i feel at peace. i cried whenever i saw his videos on youtube. i wish i got to personally hug him, i hope i will be able to do so when i see him again, with The Father ❤. Pray for us, St. John Paul II.

  15. I dreamt that I met him. He turned and smiled at me and called me by my name. Ever since I feel like I have met him. That was when I was caring for my mother who was dying at the time. I will never forget that dream!

  16. I was baptized a protestant in December of 2000 after being born on August 18th. At this point, I didn't know that John Paul II had a World Youth Day at the Vatican on my birthday. I know now. At the end of JPII's life, my parents converted to the One, True, Universal, and Apostolic Church. At the moment of his death, my dad shared my family of the news. I teared up because I was personal loved JPII. All this time, I never met Pope John Paul II in person. After JPII's death, I often told my parents I wanted to see the Pope. I never did see the pope although I yearned and prayed for it. Then, at Franciscan University, on October 11th, my prayer was answered at a Vocation's Fair that the university had announced before hand. I turned towards my left and there I saw the relic of Pope John Paul II's blood. Looking at that, a thought came into my mind that this is an answer to prayer. I got to kiss the relic of JPII's blood, and touched it. I knew that he loved Mary. So, two days after, on the Feast of the Miracle of the Sun on October 13th, I had witnessed a third apparition of Mary and I also witnessed an apparition of Padre Pio as well in my dorm room off campus becoming a calm visionary eventually ended up into a hope of a mystic. The clear message on that day was hope. She revealed to me the third secret of Fatima and told me about the TRIUMPH of her IMMACULATE HEART.

    All this, because a felt a wave of new blood from the relic of John Paul II. I am reading his own prayers and devotions and I have his biography written out on my computer and printed out.

  17. May 7, 1990…I was 7 years old in Veracruz, Mexico. Pope Juan Pablo II drove by (in his pope-mobile) a block away from my home. Lots of people went, and were wearing the colors of the vatican (white and yellow) and waving flags. A wave of chanting moved toward us as he got closer and closer "se ve, se siente, Juan Pablo esta presente" "you can notice it, you can feel it, John Paul is here"
    Mexico always felt minded and loved by John Paul II. His charisma resonated with the culture. I remember his words "Mexico can dance, Mexico can yell, Mexico…siempre fiel (always faithful)" ♡

  18. Love this so much! I wasn't born until 1986 but even as a small child I was already drawn to Pope John Paul II – his charisma pulled me in even from a very early age. He was the only pope I'd even known and I remember I was in high school when he passed away. What an amazing, influential man he was. My all time favorite quote is his, referring back to what Jesus often said in the bible… "Be Not Afraid!" Bishop Barron, you are following in St. PJII's footsteps with your enlightening and charismatic ways of bringing people to the Catholic faith. May God continue to bless you in your evangelizing endeavors!