"Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of states, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development. Do not be afraid!" --Pope John Paul II, from Chapter Four. By the time Pope John Paul II first spoke the words that became a hallmark of his papacy -- "Do not be afraid!" -- he had long since learned the secret to fearlessness: absolute trust in God. He had every reason to fear, or at least to be depressed. While still a young man, he endured the death of his entire family, the daily horrors of World War II in his native Poland, and the ensuing communist regime when the Soviet Union absorbed Poland after the war. As The People's Pope makes clear, the gospel truths that sustained this hero of the faith are available to you, too. The book invites you to consider the facts of this man's life-his impact on the world, his papacy that changed the face of the Catholic Church, his courage in handling crushing adversity and to see there the hand of God. As you meet John Paul II, you will discover that although his influence was universal, his message was personal: Open wide the doors of your heart to Christ. You will find there, as he did, the strength to live confidently for God.
Janel Rodriguez is a freelance writer living and working in her native city of New York. She is the author of Meet Fulton Sheen: Beloved Preacher and Teacher of the Word and is a Third Order Carmelite. Her books for children include the biographies of Gloria Estefan and Nely Galan.