When Pope John Paul II Visited Chicago

In the fall of 1979, Pope John Paul II, the 264th successor to the Apostle Peter, visited the United States.  He was only the second pope to visit the U.S., and the first ever to visit the city of Chicago.  He had been to the Windy City once before, as a cardinal; but his visit as Pope assumed a great importance to Catholics in that city and around the world.

In a whirlwind 37-hour trip on October 4-6, the Holy Father addressed 350 American bishops at Quigley Preparatory Seminary South, where he said the Church under his leadership would continue to oppose abortion, extramarital sex, homosexuality and divorce.

And with the skyscrapers of Chicago’s Loop in the background, he said Mass in Grant Park for an estimated 200,000 people from all ages, races and religions–the largest mass ever celebrated in Chicago.  The Chicago Tribune quoted from his homily:

“Looking at you, I see people who have thrown their destinies together and now write a common history. . . . This is the way America was conceived; this is what she was called to be. . . . But there is another reality that I see when I look at you. . . . your unity as members of the People of God.”

In this video, he leads the bishops, clergy and religious, and lay people gathered in Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral in singing the Our Father (Pater Noster).  He has quite a strong voice!


    I was one of those gathered in Grant Park for the Mass. The whole event of his visit was so exciting for us. Thanks for the link to the homily.

    • Paul Sho

      The important question is what was the fruit of this visit and his whole papacy? What i see is child abuse scandal, epidemic of homosexuality in the clergy, and a nose-dive in attendance at Mass.
      And some people want to call this man Great? Who would have thought sycophancy would reach this level within the Church? A complete disgrace to put it mildly.
      IMHO his canonization should be suspended or stopped totally.

      • RUTH_ANN

        I think you may be myopic in your vision of Pope John Paul II’s papacy and its influence, Paul. Many of the things for which you are blaming him are the result of sin and multiple other causes. Sin has existed since Adam and Eve. No pope will be able to eradicate sin either in or outside of the Church.

        There are many young priests, nuns, ans sister who say their vocation to religious life was inspired by Pope John Paul. What about them?

        The nose dive in Mass attendance has muiltiple causes, too, like the spread of secularism in the places where Mass attendance has decreased so much.

        Just providing some food for thought. Think about the bigger picture.

  • Logan Cole Rieck

    I believe Bl. Pope John Paul II was the 264th Pope which would make him the 263rd successor of St. Peter.

    Blessed be!

  • Dennis Neylon

    I remember taking the day off work and taking the train in to go to the Mass in Grant Park. I also remember the local news showing the crowds outside the Cardinal’s residence where the Pope was staying singing to him and the Pope coming out to thank them and saying go home, get some sleep.

  • AquinasMan

    Really wish Francis would visit Chicago. Already talking that his 2015 trip will be New York (yet again)… and Philadelphia