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