NEW YORK, April 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- On May 1, 2011, in Vatican City, Pope John Paul II will be beatified, the third of the four steps toward canonization into sainthood. Now, six years after his death, LIFE Books marks this special occasion and celebrates the impact the beloved Pope had on the world in the authoritative pictorial history – Pope John Paul II: Toward Sainthood (Time Home Entertainment, Inc.; Publication date: April 22, 2011; $12.99 softcover; available on newsstands). An expanded edition of their 1999 bestselling illustrated biography, LIFE Books has added 25 new pages featuring the celebration of the Vatican's 2000 Jubilee year, the recent sex abuse scandals that rocked the Catholic Church and Pope John Paul II's extraordinary 2005 funeral – the largest funeral in world history. As millions prepare to flock to St. Peter's Square to honor him, LIFE reminds the world, in pictures and words, of Pope John Paul II's reach and significance – religiously, morally and socially.
The journey through Pope John Paul II's life begins in Poland in 1920, where he was born as Karol Wojtyla. LIFE editors have gathered dozens of some of the most revealing and intimate images of the Pope ever taken – many shared exclusively with LIFE by his old friends in Poland and seen for the first time in LIFE's pages. We see the future Pope as an angelic toddler nicknamed "Lolek," who was remembered as "sweet, good-humored," and a "kind, honest, vastly talented boy." We meet his parents, follow him to his First Communion, observe him in university, and see his first official steps toward the Papacy. LIFE has compiled photographs of the young priest hiking with parishioners and friends, and kayaking in solitude, while living in a communist country where he had to hide all outward displays of his religion and priesthood from a hostile government.
Pope John Paul II: Toward Sainthood also documents the remarkable, and sometimes painful, moments of the Pope's pontificate, how greatly he was esteemed all over the world and his influence on some of the seismic events of the 20th century. Chronicled here is his first parade-filled tour of the United States in 1979; his 1980 six-nation African tour which jump started a cultural upheaval; the 1981 attempt on his life; and giving communion to Lech Walesa in Poland in 1987. LIFE shows him with leaders such as Ronald Reagan, Michel Gorbachev – who stated that the Berlin Wall would not have fallen without him – Fidel Castro and Mother Teresa. Giving readers a true understanding of Pope John Paul II's monumental reach, LIFE includes photographs and descriptions of his grand 2005 funeral, which was attended by over 4 million people, saw the largest gathering ever of heads of state outside of the United Nations and is likely the most watched world event on television to date.
With new photographs and narrative, Pope John Paul II: Toward Sainthood is a timeless collection showing the Pope's incredible life and the clear reasons for his historic, upcoming beatification.
LIFE: POPE JOHN PAUL II
By the Editors of LIFE
Time Home Entertainment, Inc.
Publication date: April 22, 2011
SOURCE Time Home Entertainment, Inc.