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National Day for Saint John Paul II
To Be Held On October 17, 2015

By on June 29, 2015

The National Polish Apostolate Committee and the Saint John Paul II National Shrine are hosting a National Day of celebration of the legacy of Saint John Paul II on Saturday, October 17, 2015. The observance will take place at the National Shrine of St. John Paul II in Washington DC. This event will be celebrated annually closest to October 16, the day Karol Cardinal Wojtyla was elected to the See of St. Peter in 1978.

St. John Paul II left an enormous wealth of teachings on the meaning of life, value of the family, purpose of living, human dignity, and the formation of character of young people, etc., to serve as a source of evangelization in our increasingly-growing, secularist culture. As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of his death this year, and the first anniversary of his Canonization, we have an opportunity to express our gratitude to God for the great gift of St. John Paul II to the Universal Church and humanity. In his pastoral journeys, John Paul II always had a message for the Polish community and emphasized that his religious and Polish cultural heritage served him well to govern the Universal Church.

Under the leadership of Adam Cardinal Maida, Polonia in the United States, together with other constituencies, played a major role in establishing the John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, DC. Its dominant purpose was to promote the legacy of Pope John Paul II in our country. The Polish American community was very instrumental and supportive of this endeavor. With the dawn of the great recession and other factors, the Center was acquired in 2011 by the Knights of Columbus who generously assumed the challenge of perpetuating and assuring that the purpose and mission of the Center would endure for generations to come. In God’s Providence, Pope John Paul II was raised to the honors of the Altar and canonized in 2014. Upon the request of Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, DC, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) designated the Center as the National Shrine of Saint John Paul II in the United States.

Following on their promise, the Knights of Columbus have invested substantial financial resources and established a beautiful museum worthy of one of the greatest Church and world leaders. The museum is a superb tribute to a great Polish Pope, Saint John Paul II. The artistic arrangements of the exhibits amplified by the latest technology present the life of Karol Wojtyla as a student, priest, bishop, and pope in an engaging and captivating manner. His life, which was greatly affected by Nazi occupation and Communist rule, is portrayed with vivid reality. The difficult conditions of his life, his deep personal faith in God, and a solid doctrine prepared him to be a spiritual leader, statesman and pastor of the world who led the Universal Church as the successor of St. Peter for twenty-seven years.

We invite all the Polish American parishes, national organizations, and especially those who have emotional ties to the original Pope John Paul II Cultural Center to attend this special day dedicated to our great countryman Saint John Paul II. The National Polish Apostolate Committee and the Knights of Columbus are dedicated to perpetuate the legacy and mission of Saint John Paul II at his National Shrine in Washington, D.C.