POPE JOHN PAUL II CULTURAL CENTER
Written and researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewski)
"With the exception of the Vatican, there is nowhere people can fully experience the impact which the Papacy has had on the Church, on history, and on cultures worldwide", as stated by Adam Cardinal Maida, Archbishop of Detroit. To help people comprehend the nature of the Papacy, Cardinal Maida conceived a unique facility in Washington, D.C. This structure is named for the late Pope John Paul II. The Cultural Center was envisioned by its originator as "a gathering point for the reflection on and discussion of the cultural and sociological implications of papal teaching and ministry".
The Cultural Center was modeled after the libraries of the U.S. Presidents. It will be situated on a 14-acre site adjacent to the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. It will include the following:
1. A museum that will enable visitors to appreciate the historical significance of Pope John Paul II and other Popes.
2. A library where students and researchers can probe theological, philosophical and moral dimensions of contemporary issues.
3. An intercultural forum for discussion among world leaders and scholars regarding the cultural and ethical significance of Papal teaching.
4. A setting for ecumenical debate and discussion.
The Center is designed as a series of three pavilions: the Papal museum and library, a great hall, and intercultural forum enclosing a courtyard inspired by the Vatican Gardens. It is open to the public, as is the nearby National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which draws hundreds of thousands of visitors yearly. At least six endowed chairs will be established, each one focusing on a different area of study that is close to the heart of the late John Paul II, a current candidate for sainthood. It is anticipated that these chairs will represent various cultural heritage's, including Polish, Italian, Korean, Hispanic, Irish and Jewish. Expectations are that the scholars invited to occupy these chairs will engage in scholarly research on Christian culture from their respective discipline's perspectives and that the results of their efforts will be published. "It is hoped that their thinking and writing will have a significant intellectual impact on our cultures and societies today", the Cardinal said. The library and museum will hold artifacts and displays that will help visitors understand and appreciate the life and teachings of His Holiness, and the great hall will be the site of receptions, concerts, lectures and art exhibits from all corners of the world and from many cultures.
Among the items already a part of the museum's collections are:
1. Original manuscripts of books and other works by and about late Pope John Paul II. 2. Personal effects of His Holiness, the late John Paul II, including his fountain pen, biretta, white cassock, succhetto and red shoes.
3. Original portraits of John Paul II personally autographed by the late Holy Father.
4. More than 100 photographs depicting the Holy Father's public and private moments, as well as some showing Karol Wojtyla as a young man and newly ordained priest.
5. Hundreds of commemorative coins and stamps issued in honor of His Holiness by governments around the world.
Fundraising is continuing. At least $30 US million was originally estimated for construction, and an additional $30 US million was projected to endow the Center's operation. Taking a leadership role in raising funds for the center was the Catholic Church's 600 Polish-American parishes. Preliminary appeals were conducted in the 200 Polish parishes of New York, New Jersey and New England; in an effort to help fund a Polish Heritage chair at the Center. The Most Reverend Alfred J. Markiewicz, Bishop of Kalamazoo (from 1995-1997), was the original head of this phase of fundraising. Upon his death this was continued by a committee of directors.
"Although the Cultural Center is by no means a Polish center, " said late Bishop Markiewicz, "a number of Polish fraternal organizations expressed an interest in being among the first to participate in this program. And it is only natural to begin with the Polish community, given the special affection we Poles have for His Holiness, the late John Paul II".
The Mailing Address for the Pope John Paul II Center:
Pope John Paul II Cultural Center
3900 Harewood Road, NE
Washington, DC 20017
Telephone: (202) 635-5400
Fax: (202) 635-5411
Museum Hours of Operation Tuesday - Saturday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday: noon - 5 p.m.
By contributing to the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, you help us to continously improve the museum experience for all visitors. It allows us to provide the extensive family programs and special exhibits on which we pride ourselves.
It is expected that there will be information about the late John Paul II's proposed sainthood.
Mail your check, payable to Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, to:
Pope John Paul II Cultural Center
PO Box 97303
Washington, DC 20090-7303
We are called to witness our Christian disciplines by living daily as responsible stewards and co-sharers of God's gifts, using our personal resources of time, talent, and treasure in a spirit of love. Being a Christian and good steward is a lifelong process.
Loving and gracious God, touch our hearts and the center of our souls that we may truly surrender them to you without reserve, vowing to live our lives as good stewards in all that we do.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen
These are the words of Adam Cardinal Maida, Archbishop of Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
Biography of Cardinal Adam Maida ... Archdiocese of Detroit
Project Life ... Orchard Lake Polish American Archives
Detroit, Michigan ... Kalamazoo Diocese