Here is a translation of the "Rogito," the official document recording the life and works of John Paul II, which was placed in John Paul Il's coffin. To summarize 26 years of pontificate filled with so great achievements is quite a feat, but it is already enough to give an idea of how great this Pope was:
In the light of Christ risen from the dead, on April 2 A.D. 2005, at 9:37 p.m., while Saturday was drawing to a close and we were already beginning the Lord's Day, the Octave of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday, the Church's beloved Pastor, John Paul II, departed this world for the Father. The whole Church, especially the young, accompanied his passing with prayers.
John Paul II was the 264th Pope. His memory lives on in the Church and in all human hearts.
Karol Wojtyla, elected Pope on October 16, 1978, was born in Wadowice, 50 kilometers from Krakow, on May 18, 1920. He was baptized two days later in the parish church by the parish priest, Father Francesco Zak.
He received his First Holy Communion at the age of 9 and the sacrament of Confirmation when he was 18. His studies were interrupted by the invasion of the Nazis who shut down the university; he went to work in a quarry and, later, in the Solvay chemical factory.
From 1942 onward, feeling that he was called to be a priest, he took the formation courses provided by the clandestine seminary in Krakow. On November 1, 1946, he was ordained a priest by Cardinal Adam Sapieha. He was then sent to Rome where he earned a licence and a doctorate in theology with a thesis on the Doctrine of Faith according to Saint John of the Cross.
He returned to Poland where he worked in pastoral ministry and taught the sacred disciplines. On July 4, 1958, Pope Pius Xll appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Krakow, of which Paul VI appointed him Bishop in 1964. It was in this capacity that he participated in the Second Vatican Council. Paul VI made him a Cardinal on June 26, 1967,
The Cardinals elected him Pope at the Conclave on October 16, 1978, and he took the name of John Paul II. On October 22, the Lord's Day, he solemnly inaugurated his Petrine ministry.
John Paul Il's Pontificate was one of the longest in the history of the Church. In this period we have seen many changes, in many aspects. The list includes the fall of several regimes to which he himself contributed, and in order to proclaim the Gospel, he travelled to various nations.
John Paul Il exercized the Petrine ministry with a tireless missionary spirit, devoting to it all his energy. He was sustained throughout by the sollicitude for all the churches and by his love for all. He had more meetings than any of his predecessors with the People of God, the leaders of nations, in celebrations and at general and private audiences, as well as during his pastoral visits.
His love for young people made him inclined to establish the World Youth Days, to which he summoned millions of young people in various parts of the world.
He successfully encouraged dialogue with the Jews and with the representatives of other religions, whom he several times invited to prayer meetings for peace, especially the meetings in Assisi.
He considerably increased the College of Cardinals, creating 231 Cardinals (plus one Cardinal in pectore). He organized 15 Assemblies of the Synod of Bishops – seven General Ordinary Assemblies and eight Special Assemblies. He established many new dioceses and circumscriptions, especially in Eastern Europe. He reformed the Eastern and Western Codes of Canon Law, created new institutions, and reorganized the Roman Curia.
As "great priest", John Paul II exercized liturgical ministry in the Diocese of Rome and throughout the world in total fidelity to the Second Vatican Council. He set an outstanding example in promoting liturgical life and spirituality, as well as contemplative prayer and especially adoration of the Eucharist and the prayer of the Holy Rosary (cf. Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae).
Under his guidance, the Church prepared herself for the third millennium, and celebrated the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 in accordance with the instructions given in the Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente. The Church then faced the new epoch, receiving his instructions in the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, in which he pointed out to the faithful their future path.
With the Year of the Redemption, the Marian Year and the Year of the Eucharist, he promoted the spiritual renewal of the Church. He gave an extraordinary impetus to canonizations and beatifications, focusing on countless examples of holiness today that would be an incentive to the people of our time. He proclaimed Thérèse of the Child Jesus a Doctor of the Church.
The doctrinal magisterium of John Paul II is very rich. As custodian of the deposit of faith, he strove with wisdom and courage to promote Catholic theological, moral and spiritual teaching and, throughout his Pontificate, to counter the trends that opposed the genuine tradition of the Church.
His most important documents include 14 Encyclicals, 15 Apostolic Exhortations, 11 Apostolic Constitutions, 45 Apostolic Letters, as well as the Catecheses he gave at the general audiences and his speeches in every part of the world. With his teaching, John Paul II strengthened and enlightened the People of God on theological (especially in his first three great Encyclicals — Redemptor Hominis, Dives in Misericordia, Dominum et Vivificantem), social and anthropological (Laborem Exercens, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, Centesimus Annus), moral (Veritatis Splendor, Evangelium Vitae), ecumenical (Ut Unum Sint), missiological (Redemptoris Missio) and Mariological (Redemptoris Mater) doctrine.
He promulgated the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the light of tradition, authoritatively interpreted by the Second Vatican Council. He also published several volumes as a private doctor.
His magisterium culminated in the Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia and in the Apostolic Letter Mane Nobiscum Domine, during the Year of the Eucharist.
John Paul II has bequeathed to all a wonderful witness of piety, of a holy life, and of universal fatherhood.. Signed by the witnesses of the celebrations and of the burial.
During his pontificate, Pope John Paul 11:
• travelled a total of 1,247,613 km (775,231 miles), or 3.24 times the distance from earth to the moon, in papal trips inside and outside Italy.
• made 104 trips outside Italy visited 129 different countries and territories
• made 146 trips in Italy
• made 301 visits to parishes in Rome
• spent 822 days, or over two years and three months, on trips outside the Vatican
• read more than 20,000 addresses
• read nearly 100,000 pages of addresses
• held 1,161 general audiences at the Vatican that have been attended by about 17.8 million people
• beatified 1,338 people, more than all of his predecessors in the last four centuries combined
• canonized 482 saints, more than all of his predecessors in the last four centuries combined
• the largest crowd at a papal Mass was over four million in Manila in 1995.