Bishops Dessert October Popes Recipes Saints

Pope Saint John Paul II

Feast Day: October 22

How to make Kremówka Papieska

Today we are feasting with… Pope Saint John Paul II.

A portrait of Pope Saint John Paul II
Pope Saint John Paul II

To celebrate his feast day, we are making Kremówka Papieska. This Polish dessert is said to have been a favorite of Pope Saint John Paul II. Since the Papal flag of Pope John Paul II contains a cross with the letter M beneath it, we decided to decorate this cake with the same emblem as a way to pay homage to this great saint.

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Based on George Weigel’s definitive biography of Pope John Paul II, Witness to Hope is a major new film and is the most complete and intimate film ever made on the Pope. Filmed on location in Rome and Poland, and using rare footage from the Vatican vaults provided by the Pope himself, this film about the Pope’s extraordinary life is unique because it is shot, as it were, through his own eyes. It brings to life the history, characters, and relationships that he has experienced, and reveals them in a profound and creative way.

A Priest Underground

Karol Jozef Wojtyla was born on May 18, 1920, in Wadowice, Poland.

Unfortunately, Karol’s early life was filled with suffering and loss. His devoutly religious father raised him after his mother, brother, and sister had died. Still, he grew to be studious, athletic, and even enjoyed acting in the local theater. Then came the German occupation of Poland during WWII; forcing the young men to work in quarries and factories. 

When he was 22, an underground seminary admitted Karol so he could join the priesthood. He had to study in secret due to the persecution of Catholics during the German occupation. He also continued to work, so as not to draw any unwanted attention to himself. 

During this time, Karol nearly died on several occasions. This included a car accident, and evading the Gestapo as they were rounding up young men to avoid a Polish uprising. The Gestapo nearly captured Karol before escaping to the Archbishop’s palace’s safety.

On November 1, 1946, Karol finally became a priest. As a priest, groups of local students often joined Father Wojtyla for hikes, skiing, cycling, camping, and kayaking trips. These camping trips included prayer, outdoor Mass, and theological discussions. In fact, the camping trips were actually a disguise for religious retreats. This helped Father Wojtyla minister to the youth without arousing the suspicions of the communist regime.

His Holiness, Pope John Paul II

Father Wojtyla continued his theological studies and was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Krakow in 1958, and subsequently archbishop in 1964. Pope Paul VI made him a cardinal in 1967, and in 1978, Father Wojtyla became the first non-Italian pope in 455 years.

As the leader of the Catholic Church, he traveled the world, visiting more than 100 countries to spread his message of faith and peace. He inspired the people of Poland, and all of Europe, to rise up above their oppression, and his efforts eventually led to the fall of Communism in these regions. In 1981, an assassin shot John Paul II twice in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. Fortunately, he was able to recover from his injuries and later forgave his attacker.

World Youth Day

In 1984, John Paul II began World Youth Day, an annual gathering of youth and young adults for prayer, worship, and celebration of the Catholic faith.  John Paul II left a legacy for the youth in his institution of World Youth Day, which has faithfully continued, carrying on the hope for the youth of the world, inviting them, and commissioning them as Christ’s disciples to be faithful living witnesses.

Pope Saint John Paul II’s amazing life story clearly shows that God always had a grand plan for him. He died on April 2, 2005, at the age of 84.

On July 5, 2013, waving the usual five-year waiting period, the Vatican announced that the Roman Catholic Church would declare Pope John Paul II a saint. His canonization ceremony took place on April 27, 2014.

Pope Saint John Paul’s feast day is October 22. He is the patron of World Youth Day.

Pope Saint John Paul II, pray for us!

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  • 1 package frozen Puff Pastry (two sheets), thawed

Cream Filling:

  • 1 ½ cups Sugar
  • ¼ cup Cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • 3 cups Whole Milk
  • 4 whole Egg Yolks
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter

Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup Heavy Cream, well chilled
  • 2 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ cup Powdered Sugar, for dusting

Preparation Instructions:

  1. To prepare the puff pastry, line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Place the pastry sheets on the parchment paper and with a fork, dock the pastry to prevent it from puffing up too much in the oven.
  2. Bake according to package directions. Allow to cool on a cooling rack until ready to layer.

Cream Filling:

  1. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Mix to incorporate. Pour in milk and egg yolks, and whisk together.
  2. Over medium heat, stir continuously until the mixture barely comes to a boil and becomes thickened (approximately 6-8 minutes). As soon as it starts to bubble and thicken, remove it from the heat. Add the vanilla and butter, and stir until everything is combined. If necessary, strain to remove any lumps that may have developed. Allow to cool completely.

Whipped Cream:

  1. Combine the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. Use a hand mixer to whip on high until stiff peaks form.

To Assemble:

  1. Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper, with overhang on all sides (this is important for lifting it out more easily after it has chilled).
  2. Layer a sheet of puff pastry- If necessary, trim the puff pastry slightly to fit into the pan.
  3. Next, add the cooled cream mixture over the top of the pastry and smooth it evenly.
  4. Then add the whipped cream and smooth.
  5. Top with the other sheet of pastry.
  6. Cover with saran wrap and chill for approximately 2 hours— to allow it to set.
  7. When ready to serve, carefully lift out of the pan with the parchment paper. Place on a serving plate and dust with powdered sugar.