Against a prequel background to World Youth Day 2016 by a renowned author George Weigel is set the biography of a great saint. I learned so much about St. John Paul the II and I had not read anything about his life story before this book. The black and white photos are amazing surpassed only by the color photos in the center of the book taken by George Weigel's son, Stephen Weigel, while Carrie Gress has provided historical notes.
The book has an unusual format that is linked to maps and history with a personal story as a guide. City of Saints makes me want to visit Poland and see the sites mentioned in the book. The reader can better understand where St John Paul got his ideas of freedom from after being forged in Poland during World War II. I never thought of Poland as a beautiful place or as a vacation destination. But now I know so much more about the history of Poland and its link to saints such as Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska. Pope John Paul the II canonized her in the Jubilee year of 2000. He was responsible for the feast of Divine Mercy Sunday. He knew there was much healing needed in the world after World War II and the assaults to human dignity that were perpetrated. George Weigel tells us in City of Saints that "John Paul the II's response to the mystery of evil was to embrace the cross of Christ as a priest of the Catholic Church, spending out his life in defense of the dignity of others."
I would recommend City of Saints for you to discover the life story of St John Paul II, which is inspirational and this book takes you on a journey worth taking through the contemporary history of the Catholic Church. I did know John Paul was an active outdoor person that liked skiing and kayaking but I did not know he was an actor. He used his acting during World War II before becoming a priest to help continue the Polish culture that the Third Reich was trying to extinguish. He was Archbishop of Krakow and his best accomplishment to me is his Theology of the Body. This theological document is rich in the dignity of the human person and what true love looks like between humans and between humans and God.
City of Saints would make a great travel guide of Poland at anytime and is perfect for the upcoming World Youth Day in 2016. I would recommend reading it before you visit Poland, studying the maps included and making a travel plan according to the book of sites to see.
Monday, January 18, 2016
City of Saints: A Pilgrimage to John Paul Il's Krakow by George Weigel