More than any pope in history, John Paul II was a central force in world affairs, his active participation in contrast to the reclusive papacies before him. He was the first pope to visit Canada, traveling across this nation from east to west in September 1984 and returning to speak in Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories, three years later.
In July 2002, millions gathered in Toronto, Ontario, to see the pope on World Youth Day. For many in Canada and around the world, he was the hero who brought down communism in Poland a staunch supporter of human rights who often criticized oppressive governments. When asked if he feared retribution, he answered, "I'm not afraid of them. They are afraid of me." He was right; in 1981 an assassination attempt was made on his life.
Such conviction is usually borne of hardship and struggle. John Paul II lost his mother at 8, his brother at 11 and his father at 21. He experienced persecution under Nazi Germany and studied "underground." Yet, despite these difficulties, his warm and gentle grace was undeniable. The pope's passion and integrity are to be admired. By daring to bring critical issues to the fore, John Paul II initiated debate and change. That was his greatest gift to the church and to the world.
Face Value: $10
Mintage: Produced to Demand
Composition: 99.99% Silver
Diameter: 36.07 mm
Weight: 25.175 grams
Artist: Susan Taylor