Canonizations of John XXIII & John Paul II from Washington, D.C.

New Portraits of Saints John Paul II & John XXIII at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

New Portraits of Saints John Paul II & John XXIII at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

It was an amazing weekend visiting Washington D.C. for the canonizations of two new saints — Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II on Divine Mercy Sunday.  These two men helped to bring the Roman Catholic Church into the modern world with great courage, love, joy, humor, grace, and humility.  To celebrate this historic event, the John Paul II Shrine was hosting a series of events over the weekend.

Saint John Paul II National Shrine

Saint John Paul II National Shrine

It started with a procession of the Blessed Sacrament for three miles around the area in Washington, D.C. fondly known as “Little Rome,” because there are so many Catholic organizations, churches, and shrines in a concentrated area of the city.  The procession went from the JPII Shrine to the Basicilca of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, then to Catholic University of America, then to the John Paul II Seminary, and returning back to the JPII Shrine.   At each stop there was speech honoring both saints, and then time for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  Many faithful devoutly joined this procession, despite having rain and wind to endure, nature was not going to stop this joyous occasion.

Adoration of Blessed Sacrament at Catholic University Chapel

Adoration of Blessed Sacrament at Catholic University Chapel

 

After the procession, there was a midnight Mass for Divine Mercy Sunday, a Feast instituted by Pope John Paul II.  There were about 1,000 people in attendance of this beautiful Mass celebrated by the chaplain of the John Paul II Shrine, Fr. Gregory Gresko.  This temporary chapel was set-up for the weekend, and had a beautiful artwork in the background of Christ, and there were protraits of John Paul II and the Divine Mercy image on each side of the altar.  There were TVs for viewing the Masses locally and in Rome throughout the facility, and a wall also had the live Twitter Feed from people posting from around the globe on #2PopeSaints.

Mass and Live Event in main chapel at JPII Shrine

Mass and Live Event in main chapel at JPII Shrine

There were two first class relics of Saint John Paul II that were taken out for veneration, one is a permanent gift from Cardinal Donald Wuerl, a blood soaked cloth from the time of the shooting of JPII, and the other was on loan from the Knights of Columbus that is a vile of blood from JPII.

Fr. Gregory Gresko carrying the First Class Relic the Blood of Saint John Paul II

Fr. Gregory Gresko carrying the First Class Relic the Blood of Saint John Paul II

Fr. Gresko said that the walls will enclose this space and an artists is coming who had worked with John Paul II on some iconic art in Rome, and will be working on beautiful art to cover the walls of the new chapel opening in the Fall of 2015.  The basement museum space is currently being overhauled, and will have a wonderful permanent interactive exhibit opening in July 2014.  The exhibit will invite visitors to walk in the footsteps of of Saint John Paul II while exploring how his understanding of the dignity of the human person informed his life and papacy.  It will also explore his teachings and spirituality through computer interactives, personal artifacts, and original artwork.  This inspiring Shrine will always offer Mass, Confession, The Angelus, Adoration, and Veneration of JPII relics (see website below for schedule)

A Gift Of Love:  The Life of Saint John Paul II -- a permanent exhibit to open July 2014

A Gift Of Love: The Life of Saint John Paul II — a permanent exhibit to open July 2014

 

The crowds who came cheered when Pope Francis and Pope Bendict XVI embraced to start the Holy Mass for the Canonizations of these two holy men about to become saints.  When it was official everyone rejoiced and the Holy relic if John Paul’s blood was processed out and people had opportunity to pray with the relic.  Saint John Paul II was with us both in spirit and body during this special event in Washington, DC, where he designated the place for his own shrine to be during his lifetime.  It is interesting that he did not choose Italy or Poland, but chose Washington, DC since he knew it was a place that welcomes all peoples around the world. You and your parish should make a pilgrimage to Washington, DC to see this inspiring shrine, which now also includes the nearby Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land & The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Catholic Celebrate the Canonizations from the Saint John Paul II National Shrine (Catholic News Service)

Saint John XXIII (1881-1963)

I made a short video to highlight the history and great contributions that the “Good Pope” gave to our faith.

Fr. James Martin, S.J. also shared the joy and humor and humility of Saint John XXIII.  Fr. Martin also wrote an excellent article in The Washington Post called Do we still need saints?

Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)

Rome Reports offered a good short history of John Paul “The Great” who many called for his sainthood during his funeral in 2005.

Chris Stefanick walked the grounds near Denver’s World Youth Day and spoke about the powerful influences on youth Pope John Paul II made with so many.

Catholic New Media Coverage of the Canonizations

This was really the first canonization of a modern saint that had such modern media coverage with radio, tv, internet, and social media, that brought many more stories to light that was not true of any similar canonization before.  It was also historic having two current popes in attendance who are canonizing two saint popes.  Below are some of the best stories and media that I was able to see during this event that offer some unique insights and behind the scenes that you may not have seen just watching or hearing from one media source.

Behind the Scenes in Rome

It was fun to follow and number of great priests who were helping to tell the stories of the saints and what was happening in Rome.

Fr. Robert Barron was reporting for NBC News, but also was made five behind the scenes videos that are worth watching:

The Church’s One Purpose (Word From Rome #1) — more in link below.

Fr. Roderick VonHogen was reporting for SQPN and produced 18 videos (more in link below) showing how it was to be a pilgrim from the crowd perpective at the events in Rome.  Fr. Roderick is a wonderful priest who started podcasting at the funeral of Pope John Paul II, and has grown a network of the best Catholic podcasters through work of many around the world and help from the Holy Spirit.  Here he is visiting the tombs of both John XXIII and JPII.

Fr. Leo Patalinghug was reporting for Grace Before Meals, and cooked up a meal in honor of what the two saints would like to eat.  Fr. Leo is an inspiring priest, chef, and media personality who helps preach his message of faith, food, and family.

Pilgrims, priests, sisters, and kids in Rome dancing to Pharrell Williams Happy:

Students from John Paul the Great Catholic University read the inspirational Letter to Artists by Saint John Paul II

 

Saint fans having fun with Social Media

Here is an entertaining cartoon regarding the two new saints by Jason Bach:

JasonBach 2

Here is a fun photo showing the Fab Four Popes walking a Roman Road to the Abbey:

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Saint John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Dies Domini

To end Divine Mercy Sunday, I attended an event hosted by the Institute of Catholic Culture at St. Veronica’s in Chantilly, Virginia.  The speaker was my cousin, Monsignor Charles Pope, who offered a very insightful and heart-felt speech about this important papal document from Pope John Paul II.  I urge you to please view this video, and the speech starts at the 11:30 mark

Monsignor Charles Pope talking at the Insitute of Catholic Culture

Monsignor Charles Pope talking at the Insitute of Catholic Culture

Video of Monsignor Charles Pope for the Institute of Catholic Culture

 

LINKS

Saint John Paul II National Shrine

Divine Mercy (Marians of the Immaculate Conception)

Institute of Catholic Culture

Fr. Robert Barron’s Word From Rome

Fr. Roderick Vonhogen – The Catholic Insider

Many More Links in the “Popefest” edition of  John Clem’s Sweet Tweets

 

Sign for Saint John Paul II National Shrine

Sign for Saint John Paul II National Shrine

 

 

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Cold Hard Truth — March for Life 2014

It was a cold five degrees today in Washington, D.C. for the 41st Annual March for Life, but that did not dampen the enthusiam for tens of thousands of people from across America advocating for the dignity of life from conception to natural death in this country.  I was very moved at the fortitude of so many people coming out in harsh weather conditions to fight for a noble cause in saving innocent life.  Life that is under constant threat regarding abortion, aging, healthcare, and developemental disability rights.  It is sad to report that the count is now up to 55 million babies murdered since the passage of Roe v. Wade on January 22, 1973.

Many arriving at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for prayers and Masses.

Many arriving during snow storm at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for prayers and Masses.

The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

There were thousands of people who came to visit the National Shrine on Tuesday for many activities including, Eucharistic Adoration, Mass, and Confessions, and Prayer Vigil for Life that filled the many chapels and the Basilica with faithful from around the nation.  It was so upilifitng to see the youth of today practicing their faith so devoutly.

Pilgrims arriving to pray at Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel

Pilgrims arriving to pray at Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel

Blessed John Paul II Shrine

I then went to visit the Blessed John Paul II Shrine which is just a few blocks away from the National Shrine.  I was blessed to attend a Mass at the Shrine and the chaplain invited attendees to  venerate a new relic that was a piece of the vestment that Pope John Paul II wore when he was shot.  It was a moving experience for many, and especially this year when he will be officially canonized on April 27th (Divine Mercy Sunday) along with Pope John XXIII.  During our Mass there was a lot of construction noise as the Knights of Columbus are busily getting the Shrine ready for events in April.  There will be many events announced soon for the canonization including a Masses at the National Shrine and a procession of the Holy Eucharist up the road to the “Saint John Paul II Shrine.”  There will be a new 400 seat chapel unveiled for the canonization that includes a new sacristy and confessionals where the sacrament of reconciliation will be offered every day.  They are also remaking a 14,ooo square foot area in the basement featuring interactive displays on the life and teachings of Saint John Paul II, but unfortunately will not be ready until July.

Veneration of a new Blessed John Paul II relic (his vestment when he was shot).

Veneration of a new Blessed John Paul II relic (his vestment when he was shot).

March for Life 2014

I arrived early at 10am on the National Mall and was one of the first to see all the crews setting up the sound system.  I was really psyched to meet Matt Maher as he arrived for his sound check in fridged tempertures to play an accoustic guitar.  I have included a link to his last music album below from SoundCloud – definately worth a listen.

Matt Maher warming up for March for Life performance

Matt Maher warming up for March for Life performance

I was also priviledged to meet Gus Lloyd and Fr. Jonathan Morris from The Catholic Channel on XM/Sirius Satellite Radio.  Great to see them in action providing wonderful Catholic radio programming accross the nation.  I also met Teresa Tomeo, from EWTN, and seeing their camera teams in action offering live TV coverage interviewing many eager participants in the march.

Gus Lloyd braodcasting for XM/Sirius Satellite Radio

Gus Lloyd braodcasting for XM/Sirius Satellite Radio

Catholic New Media

The March for Life became more involved with using social media including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.  The March for Life also unveiled a new logo for 2014.  There were also two new Apps that became good resources for the March for Life this year.

  • The March for Life App offered a list of events, maps, ticket links, news, video, take action, and education resources.
  • Nine Days for Life App offering a nine day novena from January 18-26.  It offered prayers, meditation, and suggested exercises of faith.  I also like that it offered the time of day you could select to get a reminder text sent to you from the USCCB.

New Ways in Saving Lives

Save The Storks Bus

Save The Storks Bus

Save the Storks is a new program offering mobile vans that offer loving support to women thinking about abortions.  The vans are equipped with a screen to watch supportive pro-life videos, and offer 3-D sonograms of their babies.  Pregnancy resource centers are able to park these units outside abortion clinics to show Christ’s love and compassion to help women in making a lifesaving decision.  Save the Storks is looking to grow this program to more communities, and has made a wonderful start in serving the Archdiocese of Boston over the past three years.

Interior of Save the Storks van.

Interior of Save the Storks van.

Lifeboat Coffee is a new coffee company that offers gourmet coffee in both ground and whole-bean.  All the proceeeds from the sale of these coffees go to help for the cause of the pro-life movenent.  You can find out more about their wonderful story and how to get their coffee at the link below.

LifeBoatCoffee

 

 

 

 

 

Bagpiper playing Hail Holy Queen

Bagpiper playing Hail Holy Queen

The Supreme Court

Monsignor Charles Pope in front of the Supreme Court

Monsignor Charles Pope in front of the Supreme Court

The crowds from many walks of life marched up Capitol Hill to the Supreme Court.  When I arrived with the other photographers before the crowd turned the corner, I was pleased to see my cousin, Monsignor Charles Pope there praying the rosary.  He is a wonderful priest for the Diocese of Washington, and is the main writer for the diocesan blog which now has many readers.  He recently rededicated the Ten Commandments monument which is just behind the Supreme Court which had been vandelized.  I continue to pray for the end of legalized abortions and the protection of innocent life in our country and thankful for so many people who came out for the 2014 March for Life — God Bless you all.

The Ten Commandments Monument

The Ten Commandments Monument

God’s Grace

I did have one other casualty on the March for Life — my iPhone battery.  It was so cold that it drained much quicker than anticipated.  I think the Holy Spirit intervened– while visiting a Starbucks, some very kind young people from Florida who were here for the March for Life, let me borrow their charger, which was a life-saver (God Bless you again).

Angels from Florida

Angels from Florida

LINKS

March for Life

National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Blessed John Paul II Shrine

Matt Maher on SoundCloud

March for Life App (iTunes)

March for Life App (Google Play)

9 Days for Life Website

9 Days for Life App (iTunes)

9Days for Life App (Google Play)

Save the Storks

Lifeboat Coffee

Crowds Marching up Capitol Hill

Crowds Marching up Capitol Hill

 

March for Life 2014 up Capitol Hill

March for Life 2014 up Capitol Hill

 

A person's a person no matter how small (Dr. Suess)

A person’s a person no matter how small (Dr. Suess)

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Fortnight for Freedom–Baltimore

Fortnight for Freedom

 

 

 

 

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

 

 

The Fortnight for Freedom started on June 21st in Baltimore with an Opening Mass for the Feast of St. Thomas More & St. John Fisher.  I was privileged to attend this beautiful service that was filled with people from many dioceses including many bishops, priests,  nuns, and lay faithful.  This was a very special Mass that everyone in attendance felt a great energy of spirit, faith, and patriotism.  Archbishop of Baltimore, William Lori, was the celebrant and homilist and he delivered a fantastic homily that was met with enthusiastic applause (rare during a Mass, but this was a special and important event in the history of the American Catholic Church).  Archbishop Lori delivered a sermon that showed the history and wisdom of our faith, and how serious the gravity of the issues of religious freedom are now being threatened.   Archbishop Lori and all the U.S. Bishops calling us all to stand united in prayer and action in defending religious freedom.  I was very impressed with Archbishop Lori who took the time to shake hands with all the people who attended the Mass afterwards–very good shepherd of the church.  Here is a link from USCCB of the full text of the homily from Archbishop Lori (June 21, 2012):

Homily of Archbishop William Lori at Opening Mass of Fortnight for Freedom

Archbishop William Lori

Archbishop William Lori

 

Archbishop Lori offering an inspiring homily

Archbishop Lori offering an inspiring homily

 

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) started this Fortnight for Freedom as a campaign to get all the diocese to participate in prayer, fasting, education, and action to support the protection of religious freedom.  A fortnight is a period of fourteen days, and this fortnight will culminate ceremoniously  on July 4th in Washington D.C.   There are great resources of reflections, prayers, and suggested activities for parishes and diocese on their website for Fortnight for Freedom, they even just added a new text messaging feature (Text “Freedom” to 377377).

The event in Baltimore was a peaceful event, and there were a handful of demonstrators across from the Basilica.  Ironic that the people demonstrating across from the church gain their freedom of right to free speech and to peacefully assemble from the 1st Amendment where the right to freedom of religion also is protected.

Protestors of the Fortnight of Freedom

Protestors of the Fortnight of Freedom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To begin the Fortnight of Freedom, the bishops chose the Basilica of the National Shrine to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, because of its importance as the cradle of religious freedom in American Catholic history.  It was the first metropolitan Cathedral in American dedicated in 1821, and designed by Henry Latrobe, who was also the architect of the United States Capitol.  Many historic events have taken place at the Baltimore Basilica including the funeral Mass of Charles Carroll, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence and cousin of Archbishop John Carroll.  The Councils of Baltimore held here in the 19th century established the parish system, mandated parochial schools, launched the Catholic University of America, and commissioned the famous Baltimore Cathechism.

Interior-Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Interior-Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

During the last 200 years, visitors to the Basilica have included dignitaries and historical figures from around the world including Blessed Pope John Paul II, Saint Teresa of Calcutta, President Andrew Jackson, the Marquis de Lafayette, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Chief Whitefeather of the Sioux Tribe.  At least 15 saints or potential saints have prayed in the Basilica.  It is worth your time to visit this holy site that has much more to offer than I can include in this blog–more in links below.

Restored Dome (Bicentennial Restoration--2006)

Restored Dome (Bicentennial Restoration–2006)

Altar in Batimore Basilica

 

Mary's Assumption on the West Nave Dome

Mary’s Assumption on the West Nave Dome

St. Teresa of Calcutta in Baltimore Basilica

St. Teresa of Calcutta in Baltimore Basilica

 

Statue in Pope John Paul II Memorial Garden at Baltimore Basilica

Statue in Pope John Paul II Memorial Garden at Baltimore Basilica

Cardinal Timothy Dolan has just written a book, True Freedom:  On Protecting Human Dignity and Religious Freedom, to help educate the faithful about the religious liberty and he illustrated this from many supporting texts in the Bible and from saints and church doctrines.  The book can be downloaded with excerpts from his recent book, A People of Hope, for just 99 cents at many outlets including iTunes and Amazon.  I have just read the 26 page book on my iPad and highly recommend it on your reading list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The patron saint for religious freedom is St. Thomas More who stood up for his Catholic faith and paid for it with his life.  Fr. Robert Barron has a great short video about St. Thomas More, and about the movie A Man for All Seasons below:

Father Barron also commented on the recent statements from Secretary Sebalius and Maureen Dowd:

Catholic Vote is an organization that is also behind an effort to support religious freedom came out with a very well made short video that illustrates the importance of the issue very well.

I will be blogging on a few more events for the Fortnight of Freedom, stay tuned:

1) I will be attending the Diocese of Richmond Mass with Bishop Francis Dilorenzo at Sacred Heart Cathedral on June 24th.

2) Please consider joining us for a prayer service, Sunday, July 1st at 7pm at the 1st Amendment Monument on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall.  We will be singing songs and praying, and people are encouraged to write on the Free Speech Wall.

3) I will be attending the concluding Mass on July 4th at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C.  My cousin, Monsignor Charles Pope, will also be concelebrating with Cardinal Wehrl and Bishop Chaput.

LINKS

Fortnight for Freedom (United Conference of Catholic Bishops)

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Religious Liberty (EWTN)

Cardinal Dolan’s True Freedom: On Protecting Human Dignity and Religious Liberty (Amazon)

 Previous Blog on Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally

 

Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty (USCCB)

O God our Creator,

Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.

We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart
to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard
on behalf of the rights of your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.

Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
so that, with every trial withstood
and every danger overcome—
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us—
this great land will always be “one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

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World Day of Peace–Assisi, Italy

World Day of Peace 1986

Today marks the 25th Anniversary of the first World Day of Peace.  It was 1986 this day in Assisi, Italy that Pope John Paul II called together many world religions and leaders to pray and work towards world peace.  Today Pope Benedict is celebrating the Anniversary by having a “Day of Reflection and Prayer” and has assembled the world religions and leaders in this same holy place of Saint Francis and Saint Clare.  The Pope emphasized that peace must be achieved through truth, justice, peace, and love.  Yesterday he spoke to pilgrims saying, “Dear brothers and sisters we want to ask God for the gift of peace, we pray that He make us instruments of peace in a world still torn by hatred, by divisions, by selfishness, by war. We ask that the meeting Thursday in Assisi might encourage dialogue among people of different religious affiliations and bring a ray of light that might illuminate the minds and hearts of all men, so that rancor will give way to pardon, division to reconciliation, hatred and violence to love and gentleness: that peace reign in the world”.

Assisi, ItalyPope Benedict XVI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pope Benedict has approached more peoples for this gathering than his predecessor did in 1986.  Pope Benedict has invited non-believers, 170 religious leaders from many faiths, and 50 Muslim delegations.  There were only 11 Muslim delegations in 1986.

I find it fascinating that minutes before this meeting the European Union came to an agreement to help save the euro, and perhaps the world economy.  To have world peace also requires that we have strong and vibrant economies across many nations.  I pray that the world continue to find ways to keep strong economies which is necessary to help with peace, justice, health, and poverty.

Compendium of Social Doctrine

(Recommend you read Chapter 4 about truth, peace, justice, and economics)

Official Note on Financial Reform from the Pontifical Council on Peace & Justice

(Note:  Note on Financial Reform is not an official papal document that was released on Monday, and only a recommendation, there was confusion that the Pope was proposing a new world bank which is NOT the case).

Saint Francis

The Franciscan Choir sang one of the most famous prayers of Saint Francis “Make me and Instrument of Your Peace.”  Below is a wonderful rendition by Sarah MacLachlen.  Saint Francis is a symbol of the efforts of faith and peace, and I hope this gathering will have lasting fruits for all those touched by its message.  Now that our world population is passing the 7 billion mark at the end of this month-we all need to live in peace together.

 

 

 

 

 

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Pope John Paul II Cultural Center SOLD!!!

Pope John Paul II Cultural Center

Pope John Paul II Cultural Center

I am very please to report that Knights of Columbus announced this evening that they will be purchasing The Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C.  They will continue the mission and message of Blessed John Paul II, and continue the work of the this great Catholic Museum located next to Catholic University of America.  My prayers have been answered that a good steward would be found for this fine institution.

The Knights of Columbus have accomplished many great works for the Catholic Church and charitable work throughout the world.  In the past year, they helped finance the new vatican news website, and gave to charitable causes with $154 million and over 70 million man-hours.  They also are financing much of the upcoming World Youth Day in Spain.

Knights of Columbus

Website for Pope John Paul II Cultural Center

Previous Blog about my visit to the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center

New Vatican News Website

2011 World Youth Day

UPDATE (August 3, 2012): 

The Knights of Columbus announced the plans to build a Shrine to Blessed John Paul II on the grounds of the present Cultural Center:

website with updated announcement

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John Paul II Cultural Center for Sale?

Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C.

I was very excited that Blessed Pope John Paul II (Karol Józef Wojtyła) was beatified recently and think that his teachings and legacy should be passed down to future generations.  It is with great sadness that the museum in Washington, D.C. that was dedicated to Blessed Pope John Paul II in March 2001, is presently up for sale.  The 100,000 square foot building on 12 acres is adjacent to the Catholic University of America. The grounds are presently owned by the Archdiocese of Detroit and they are looking for a buyer.  The center is currently only available to visit by appointment, but very much worth your time.

The Pope John Paul II Cultural Foundation runs the facility with its mission:  to continue the work of the late pontiff, John Paul II, in bringing the wisdom and faith experience of the Catholic Church. [and vision]   To provide the atmosphere and resources needed to promote Interfaith Dialogues and Days of Faith and Culture that transcend the boundaries of culture to discover the all-inclusive compassion and similarities that serve to unite us in our faith journey. (from foundation’s website)  On April 17, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI met with about 200 representatives of Islam, Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism at the Cultural Center.

Inside the museum are many items of historical significance from Pope John Paul II’s pontificate, and interactive museum displays for teaching children and adults the faith and wisdom of this great saint.  There are gifts, and artwork from many politicians, and religious leaders, and many faiths, including a buddha from The Dalai Lama.  A display called the Hands of Peace has bronze castings of famous people working for the cause of peace including Pope John Paul II’s hand.

The well-worn bronze casting of JPII's hand

John Paul II's skis

Stone from the tomb of Saint Peter in Rome

In addition to the museum, EWTN has a television studio on the second floor that is used for the Live broadcast each Thursday for the show The World Over with Raymond Arroyo.  I e-mailed a request for tickets, and was privileged to be invited to attend the studio audience on May 19th.  Raymond has a one-hour live program that starts with a news brief about Catholic news from around the world, and then he usually has two other guests interviews that allows callers to ask questions.  That day his first guests were Emily and Charles Colson, who spoke about supporting a family member with Autism.  They co-authored a wonderful book about their journey called Dancing with Max. His second guest was Dr. Bill Donohue, from The Catholic League, who commented on the recent report to the American Bishops about the clergy scandal.  Raymond Arroyo has a great crew working with him to provide this top-rated broadcast, and it was fascinating to watch behind the scenes.  I spoke with Raymond after the show and asked him if he was going to be able keep his studio, and he replied that it depended on who the buyer will be and what they will do with the building.  I hope that whomever buys this facility will keep its current mission, and keep the television studio going to help continue the faith and teachings of Blessed John Paul II.

Do you know any people or organizations that could help in saving this great museum?  What are your favorite inspirations of Blessed John Paul II?

Raymond Arroyo interviewing Dr. Bill Donohue--The World Over--EWTN Studio

Raymond Arroyo & John Clem

LINKS:

John Paul II Cultural Foundation

EWTN

Raymond Arroyo’s Blog

Dancing with Max

The Catholic League

Note:  Blessed John Paul II has one more miracle to be verified, which surely will happen, before finally being canonized a saint.

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