John Paul II to Mark 55th Anniversary of Priesthood

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 30, 2001 ( John Paul II will celebrate the 55th anniversary of his priesthood on Thursday, 16 days after he marked the 23rd anniversary of his election to the papacy.

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On Nov. 1, 1946, a 26-year-old Karol Wojtyla was ordained a priest in the private chapel of Cardinal Adam Sapieha in Krakow, Poland. The cardinal moved up Wojtyla´s ordination because he wanted to send him to study in Rome at the University of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelicum.

Father Wojtyla celebrated his first Mass at St. Leonard´s crypt, amid the sarcophagi of Polish kings and heroes, in Wawel´s Cathedral.

After receiving a doctorate, Father Wojtyla´s first appointment in 1948 was parish priest in the poor, rural community of Niegowici, near Krakow. He remained at this post for seven months, sharing with an assistant priest a small cabin with no running water or electricity.

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