WASHINGTON, April 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Following a unanimous vote by its board of directors, the John Paul II Cultural Foundation has dissolved and transferred its assets to the John Paul II Shrine and Institute, home to the Saint John Paul II National Shrine.
The foundation initiated and oversaw the development of the Pope John Paull II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C. to communicate the faith, life, and mission of the Catholic Church through the life and the pontificate of John Paul II, along with a focus on the intersection between faith and culture. The center opened in 2001.
In 2011, the Knights of Columbus purchased the cultural center's building and transitioned it into a shrine dedicated to St. John Paul II, featuring the Redemptor Hominis Church as a center of pilgrimage and prayer and showcasing exhibits on the saint's courageous life and spiritual legacy. In 2014, on the occasion of the canonization of St. John Paul II by Pope Francis, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops pronounced it a national shrine.
The contents of the exhibits that were on loan from the foundation, and now owned by the shrine, will continue to be part of the shrine's major permanent collection. The artifacts highlight significant events in St. John Paul II's life and his momentous influence as the spiritual father of one billion Catholics and as a world leader.
Among the items from the collection that can be viewed by visitors are a Congressional Gold Medal awarded to St. John Paul II by a vote of the United States Congress and presented Jan. 8, 2001, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, presented to Saint John Paul II by President George W. Bush on June 4, 2004. Additionally, on display is the red cape, white cassock and gold pectoral cross owned and worn by Pope John Paul II throughout his papacy.
Saint John Paul II National Shrine Executive Director and Deputy Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus Patrick E. Kelly said, "It's an enormous honor for the shrine to be entrusted with sharing Pope John Paul II's dynamic life with both those who were touched by him and with younger generations who now are eager to know him. His unwavering faith and courage stirred the hearts of people from all over the world as pope, and he continues to inspire today as a saint. We are grateful and committed to carrying out the John Paul II Cultural Foundation's mission."
Msgr. Charles Antonicelli, executive director of the John Paul II Cultural Foundation, commented, "On behalf of the John Paul II Cultural Foundation Board of Directors, we wish to express our gratitude to the many supporters and benefactors who helped realize the vision of the foundation to educate and inspire the world by sharing the life and messages of St. John Paul II."
Individuals and estates with matters or bequests related to the John Paul II Cultural Foundation may contact Msgr. Charles Antonicelli at (202) 347-2713 as it finalizes winding up. Individuals may also contact Mr. Fred Salancy at (203) 251-3071 regarding donations, bequests, or other matters now under the supervision of the John Paul II Shrine and Institute at 3900 Harewood Rd NE, Washington, D.C. 20017.
About the Saint John Paul II National Shrine and the Knights of Columbus
The Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C. is a place of worship, religious formation, and cultural renewal that welcomes tens of thousands of visitors each year. It is a major pastoral initiative of the Knights of Columbus, the world's largest Catholic fraternal organization with almost two million members around the world. From its conception, the Knights of Columbus intended the shrine to serve as a response to St. John Paul II's call for a "new evangelization," a mission successively proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.
Pilgrims to the shrine are invited to celebrate the Eucharist at daily Mass in the Redemptor Hominis Church and to pray in the Luminous Mysteries Chapel, both decorated by renowned mosaic artist Father Marko Rupnik. The Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy at the shrine promote devotion to the Divine Mercy message, which was entrusted to St. Faustina Kowalska and brought to the world by St. John Paul II. A first-class relic of St. John Paul II's blood is displayed for public veneration.
The shrine also features an extensive and interactive self-guided exhibit entitled, A Gift of Love: The Life of John Paul II. Although currently closed due to the ongoing health crisis, there are numerous ways to virtually engage with its work and mission. Visit www.jp2shrine.org for more information.
SOURCE Knights of Columbus