Polonia’s Fall Pilgrimage to Saint John Paull II National Shrine
in Washington, D.C. on November 12, 2016
On Saturday, November 12, 2016, the second annual Pilgrimage to the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D. C. will take place during this Extraordinary Jubliee of Mercy in commemoration of the death of and of the anniversary of the elevation of Karol Cardinal Wojtyla to the See of St. Peter. In this extraordinary year, pilgrims from the entire catholic world will be traveling to various sanctuaries, such as the tomb of Saint Peter and Saint John Paul II, a true apostle of the Mercy of our Lord, who introduced Divine Mercy Sunday to the liturgical calendar. In the continued spirit of thanksgiving, the National Polish Apostolate Committee calls upon all of Polonia to undertake this pilgrimage and to submit prayerful honor to the greatest saint of our times.
During the morning hours when pilgrims arrive after 9:00 a.m., they can privately visit the museum, chapel and exhibits. They can encounter the interactive and dynamic presentations of the unforgettable life of St. John Paul II in “A Gift of Love.” After lunch, several speakers will attest to their witness of the Pontificate of St. John Paul II, such as the Sisters of Mercy from Lagiewniki Krakow, various bishops and priests, including Father Tomasz Kraj from Krakow. Pilgrims may also partake in the sacrament of reconciliation at this time. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will follow in the chapel at 3:00 p.m., followed by a blessing with the relics of Saint John Paul II. This one-day prayerful pilgrimage will conclude with a solemn concelebrated Mass at 4:00 p.m. with Bishop Francis Reiss as main celebrant and homilist.
For all Poles and Polonia, the choice of such an extraordinary Pole to lead the Holy See was more than an emotional occasion. It held great religious, national and symbolic meaning. Today, we can reflect on his Pontificate, resulting in canonization merely ten years after his death. Pope John Paul II is the greatest witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as many are coming to Rome or His Shrine in Washington, DC.
Of course, Saint John Paul II achieved many great works during his lifetime. After his passing into God’s Eternal Home, his influence is still intense and more powerful in the Church of Christ. The power of His prayer was already evident during his life when many individuals received the gift of healing. Our joint presence in his Shrine will be an occasion to submit prayers for our personal needs and to sincerely thank God for his mercy and gifts.
Polonia of the United States shares a special bond with St. John Paul II and promotes his enormous legacy for the benefit of the Universal Church. The one-day pilgrimage will gather Polonia of the United States in common prayer for our country, families and our personal intentions. All those whose hearts beat stronger at the word “Poland,” who share roots from that country on the Vistula, spiritually connect and feel the constant need for the intercession of Saint John Paul II. We seek to further the spiritual unity necessary for the continued growth of the Universal Church, especially for all Polonia in America. That is why we seek to obtain God’s blessing for our future as Polonia, not to lose sight of the achievements obtained over so many years.
Polonia has sought to maintain and cultivate His faith, dedication and promote His spirituality, culture and legacy. The John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, DC was declared the National Shrine of Saint John Paul II in Washington D.C., by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops - its current care entrusted to the Knights of Columbus.
The Washington, DC Chapter of the John Paul II Foundation, under the guidance of its president Bozena Buda-Ortnis, has also sought to maintain the Papal legacy through educational and cultural programs. By so working together, in the few years of its existence, the Shrine has attracted many visitors and pilgrims to pray to God in thanksgiving. The Chapel which contains the relics of Saint John Paul II is a most popular site, especially with the daily recitation of the Chaplet to the Divine Mercy.
To honor the beautiful celebration of this annual pilgrimage, we invite choirs from various parishes to provide the musical program during the Mass. We welcome talented musicians, childrens’ choirs, soloists. If anyone would like to arrive early, hotel accommodations are available at the local Hilton. For more information, and all tour operators are asked to, please contact Cecilia Glembocki at 703-501-6152. Individual parishes will be arranging bus tours.