On 1 October 1979 Pope John Paul II arrived in Boston on the first leg of his first trip to the United States. Pope John Paul II had been elevated to the chair of Saint Peter the previous October after the sudden death of Pope John Paul I, whose thirty-four-day reign was the shortest in modern history. The new pope, formerly Cardinal Karol Woytyla, archbishop of Krakow, Poland, was the first non-Italian pope since 1522 elevated to the papacy.
The Pope's MessageAmerican Catholics received John Paul II with great excitement at his stops in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Des Moines, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. In New York the pope spoke to the United Nations, endorsing support from industrial countries for the less-developed nations of the world, which struggled to provide for their people. He also spoke out vigorously for human rights: "All human beings in every nation and country should be able to enjoy effectively their full rights under any political regime or system." On the Middle East he insisted that the Palestinian question would have to be addressed before peace could be achieved.
To commemorate this historic visit of the Pope special postmarks at each of the Papal Visit Stations were issued, namely at Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Des Moines, Chicago, Washington, D.C amongst others. My friend James C. Speshock sent this very special set of covers to me.