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Celebrations in Honor of St. John Paul II

Celebrations in Honor of St. John Paul II
On Sunday, October 25, at our Shrine in Doylestown we have celebrated the closing of the hundredth anniversary of the birth of St. John Paul II. On this occasion, two solemn Masses were celebrated at the Shrine, which were also broadcasted via the Internet and radio, so that the faithful could join in prayer with our liturgical congregation. The Mass in Polish at 9:30 was presided by Father Bartlomiej Marciniak OSPPE, while Father Sebastian Hanks OSPPE celebrated the Mass in English at 11:00 am.
As we have been celebrating the anniversary of the birth of St. John Paul II, it is worth mentioning many places at our Shrine, which recall his presence and teachings. They influenced the legacy of American Czestochowa, as well as the mission that the Pauline Fathers in Doylestown wish to fulfill today in the spirit of this saintly Pope.
In the Main Church, in the center aisle, there is also a depiction of his coat of arms with some soil from his hometown of Wadowice enshrined in the floor. In lower Church, the Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, which was crowned one year ago, has been blessed and signed (in the lower right corner) by St. John Paul II in Castel Gandolfo in 1980, and dedicated to our Shrine in Doylestown.
Also at the lower level, there is an Art Exhibit of St. John Paul II, where one can find many images, paintings, medallions and other memorabilia related to this Saint, donated by the pilgrims who visit our Shrine. The most precious items in our collections are: John Paul’s cassock, his zucchetto, and his shoes, as well as the chasuble (with his blood on it) in which He has celebrated Holy Mass, few days before his death in 2005. The chasuble has been donated by Cardinal Dziwisz, his former secretary. Next to the Art Museum, there is the St. John Paul II Meeting Room, which hosts meetings of small groups, family counseling services (NFP), and inside there is the Shrine Media Office, which coordinates many of the Shrine’s initiatives relating to the new evangelization and communication.
It also worth mentioning that as a Cardinal (Karol Wojtyla), John Paul II has visited our Shrine twice in 1969 and 1976. His first visit to the American Czestochowa was a more private one. Despite this, the visit’s schedule was quite tight. The cardinal often used different means of transportation, traveling thousands of miles to be able to participate in numerous religious ceremonies and Polish-American meetings. In our guest book, Cardinal Wojtyla left such an entry: “Being deeply moved on the day when together with Cardinal Krol, Archbishop of Philadelphia, we have celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of Mass at American Czestochowa.”
In his sermon delivered at our Shrine in September 1969, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla expressed his joy at coming to American Czestochowa and his encounter with the Mother of God. He also emphasized the need for Poles to be close to Mary, wherever they live in the world:
“My dear fellow countrymen, what a great sentiment I feel that I can be here on American soil today. And here on American soil also to go to Czestochowa. Although it is called Doylestown in English here, we know that it is American Czestochowa. (…) Likewise here you have invited the Mother of God to your American Czestochowa, that she would be among you, that she would understand the same as she understands at Jasna Gora; that she would answer you in the same way as she would at Jasna Gora; that we would be one in presenting our matters to her and that she would hear from us here and there one thing and that she would be able to answer us in the same way as in Cana of Galilee. (…) And we would like to keep these two Czestochowas permanently in close communication. Constantly keep one, one as the Shrine of the history of salvation among God’s people on the Polish soil and one among Poles outside of Poland. (…) Apparently Poles will not go anywhere in the world without Czestochowa. This is our fate and a blessed fate. Poles will not go anywhere without Czestochowa. And without the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa, who speaks to them, tells them about themselves. It is such a special image that depicts the Mother of God and tells us Poles about ourselves!”