October 17 will be National Day for St. John Paul II

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, Oct. 17, 2015. The observance will take place at the National Shrine of St. John Paul II in Washington D.C. 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. 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, D.C. Its dominant purpose was to promote the legacy of Pope John Paul II in the United States. 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 assumed the challenge of perpetuating and assuring that the purpose and mission of the Center would endure for generations to come.

Pope John Paul II was 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.

The Knights of Columbus have invested substantial financial resources and established a museum worthy of one of the greatest Church and world leaders. The museum is a tribute to a 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 and a solid doctrine prepared him to be a spiritual leader, statesman and pastor of the world who led the Church for twenty-seven years.

Source: Polonia Media Network

Pope John Paul II Day recognized in Canada

Jason Kenney, a Member of the Canadian Parliament representing Calgary Southeast, announced via the internet in December, that the Act to Establish Pope John Paul II Day recognizing St. John Paul II as a champion of human dignity and freedom, has finally become law in Canada.

The Pope John Paul II Day Act was proposed by Wladyslaw Lizon, MP, and was adopted by the House of Commons on June 12, 2013, by a vote of 237 to 42. The bill then went to the Senate where its final consideration was delayed for a year and a half. However, the bill was finally adopted by the Senate and received Royal Assent to become law on December 17, 2014.

Bill C-266, An Act to establish Pope John Paul II Day, was introduced to the House of Commons as a Private Members’ Bill by MP Lizon in 2011, and designates the second day of April annually as “Pope John Paul II Day.” As stated in the Bill, “Pope John Paul II Day” is not a legal holiday or a non-juridical day.

“Pope John Paul II’s work transcended so many boundaries,” said Lizon. “He promoted the values of peace and tolerance along with his strong stand against human rights violations. These are values that resonate deeply in our country and with Canadians. This was the motivation of this legislation.”

MP Lizon’s Bill passed with substantial support from all parties in the House of Commons in April, 2013. This culminated with passing a final vote in the Senate and receiving Royal Assent.

“As a Canadian Parliamentarian I can truly say this is a humbling experience. I am deeply honored,” added Lizon.

Source: Polonia Media Network

Poland’s favorite son ascends the altar

Robert Strybel, Warsaw Correspondent

Millions of Poles stayed glued to their TV screens on Mercy Sunday (April 27) to witness the long-awaited elevation to sainthood of their favorite son, Karol Wojtyła, better known as Papież Jan Paweł Drugi. And tens of thousands of Poles were among the estimated one million pilgrims who personally attended the joint canonization of John Paul II and his Italian predecessor John XXIII. It was the first time two popes were ever simultaneously proclaimed saints and the first time two pontiffs – the currently reigning Francis and his retired predecessor Benedict XVI – took part in the canonization liturgy.

It was no coincidence that Pope Francis decided to co-canonize those two pillars of Roman Catholicism at a single ceremony. Pope John XXIII had launched the Second Vatican Council to revitalize the Church and open dialogue with other religions, while his Polish successor John Paul II was to make ecumenism a cornerstone of his papacy. It has been said that John XXIII opened the doors of the Church to air it out, while John Paul II walked through those doors and took the message to some 130 different countries world-wide. There were slight differences in style between the kindly, rotund John XXIII and his charismatic Polish successor. But both were religious leaders deeply committed to the service of God and man who never lost their common touch and people-friendly ways despite all the protocol, pomp and celebrity treatment they had to deal with.

During the days preceding the canonization, thousands of enthusiastic Polish pilgrims – including entire families, nuns, priests and seminarians, scouts, university students, soldiers and policemen – streamed into Rome. Most had come by plane, train and car, but some chose motorcycles and bikes and a few even made the more than 800-mile journey on horseback or on foot. White and red flags were everywhere to be seen, and Polish was the most common foreign language heard on the streets of the Eternal City. US and Canadian flags identified many smiling North American Polonians in attendance.

In tightly packed St Peter’s Square, where large banners with portraits of the two about-to-be-canonized pontiffs adorned the façade of the basilica, Pope Francis recited the Latin saint-making formula, “After mature deliberation, numerous requests for divine assistance and in consultation with our Brothers in the Episcopate, we hereby declare and define the sainthood of Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II and enroll them among the saints, decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the entire Church.”

In his homily, the Holy Father described the two pontiffs as “men of courage” who bore witness to God’s mercy. “They were priests, bishops and popes of the 20th century who experienced that century’s tragic events, but they were not overwhelmed by them. For them, God was more powerful, faith was more powerful – faith in Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of man and the Lord of history.”

Praising the Second Vatican Council which had helped bring the Church to the people, he said, “John XXIII and John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit to restore and update the Church according to its original shape, the shape with which saints have endowed it over the centuries.” Pope Francis referred to the Polish Pontiff as “the pope of the family” and noted that he was planning a special synod devoted to family affairs.

Attending the ceremony was an official Polish delegation led by President Bronisław Komorowski and accompanied by the country’s remaining two democratically presidents, Lech Wałęsa and Aleksander Kwaśniewski. Also present and were some 40 additional heads of state and prime ministers. President Obama sent a low-level delegation headed by his adviser John Podesta. Many Poles felt Jan Paweł II had already been a saint during his pontificate, a conviction echoed at his funeral in 2005 by Italian young people who called for immediate sainthood chanting “Santo subito.” A similar view was expressed in a rare interview by the Polish Pontiff’s immediate successor, Benedict XVI, who said, “In the years in which I collaborated with him, it was ever clearer to me that John Paul II was a saint. My memory of John Paul II is filled with gratitude. I couldn’t and shouldn’t try to imitate him, but I have tried to carry forward his legacy and his work as best I could.”

It was German-born Pope Benedict (Joseph Ratzinger) who accelerated his Polish predecessor’s beatification in May 2011, a mere six years after his death. By the standards of the Roman Catholic Church, whose mills grind slowly, Karol Wojtyła’s canonization can only be regarded as fast-track sainthood. Co-canonized John XXIII had to wait more than half a century to become a saint. And medieval Poland’s Queen Jadwiga was beatified (in 1979) and canonized (1997) by John Paul II, nearly six centuries after her death.

Pope John Paul II to be canonized on April 27

Vatican City (PMN)—Pope John Paul II will be canonized on April 27, 2014. Pope Francis had let it be known earlier in a private conversation that the Sunday after Easter is the date he wanted for the ceremony. On September 30, a consistory of cardinals formally approved the canonization date.

Pope John XXIII, who was pontiff from 1958 to 1963 and convened the Second Vatican Council, will also be canonized on the same date.

During a papal press conference on his return from Rio de Janeiro July 28, Pope Francis said both Popes will be canonized “together,” but said it was unlikely the canonizations would take place during the autumn or winter as many Poles will be traveling to Rome for the ceremony by bus, and the road conditions could be bad.

Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi had previously told Newsmax Magazine, “We can say that April 27 is very likely, given that the Pope made an explicit reference to [Divine Mercy Sunday] in the interview on the return flight from Rio, saying that he realized that in winter, it would be difficult for pilgrims from Poland and countries of Central and Northern Europe to attend, and so it was better to postpone until the spring.”
 
Divine Mercy Sunday is a special day for John Paul, who established the feast day in 2001. Its origins date back to Polish nun Faustina Kowalska, who had a devotion to the Divine Mercy after an encounter with Jesus. In visions and conversations with Jesus, Kowalska, who lived from 1905-1938, said Jesus asked her specifically for a feast of Divine Mercy to be established so mankind would take refuge in Jesus.
 
John Paul II died on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday in 2005.
 
The theme of mercy is also central to the pontificate of Pope Francis, who has frequently said, “This is the time for mercy.” Father Lombardi told Vatican Radio July 30 that Francis has “great effectiveness in helping people understand the theme of God’s love and mercy, which reaches out to soothe and heal the wounds of humanity.”
 
Pope Francis signed a decree July 5, 2013, that gave the go-ahead for the canonizations of both John Paul II and John XXIII. Usually two miracles attributed to a candidate’s intercession are required to become a saint. A French nun, who was inexplicably cured of Parkinson’s disease, led to John Paul II’s beatification on May 1, 2011.
 
A second miracle, which must occur after a beatification, involved a Costa Rican woman who was cured of a cerebral aneurysm the very day of John Paul II’s beatification.
 
For John XXIII, Pope Francis took the rare step of waiving the requirement of a second miracle, paving the way for his canonization.
 
Often it can take centuries between the death of a person with a reputation for holiness and their canonization. But for John Paul II’s cause for canonization, the process was partially expedited after pressure was placed on Benedict XVI to waive the usual five years between a candidate’s death and the opening of their cause. Benedict agreed to the waiver in May, 2005.
 
When the late Polish pontiff is elevated to sainthood on April 27, it will have been only nine years and 25 days since his death.

Source: Polonia Media Network