As we prepare for the feast of Saint John Paul II, we invite you to continue on this pilgrimage through our permanent exhibit, A Gift of Love: The Life of Saint John Paul II. We hope you will walk through each of the nine galleries with us, so that you can get a taste of the spiritual and informational journey that awaits you here at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine.
This week we will explore the fourth gallery: Man, the Way of the Church. John Paul II showed the world the Gospel message of faith in Jesus Christ and the sanctity of all human life. Visitors to the Shrine will see that, just as the Church walks with each person on his or her pilgrimage to God, this great saint travelled to the ends of the earth in order to be with his people.
Visitors are invited to walk the footsteps of this pilgrim Pope, learning more about his early apostolic visits to Mexico, Canada, Africa, and the US. St. John Paul II visited 129 countries on 104 apostolic pilgrimages throughout his papacy, and our “World Travels Interactive” wall display traces these journeys and encounters with people throughout the world. Visitors can learn about each pilgrimage by reading memorable quotes from homilies and addresses, and they can also see artifacts from many of the Holy Father's journeys, including various papal vestments that he wore.
Pilgrims to the Shrine can learn more about St. John Paul II’s “Theology of Love,” which was developed during Wednesday audiences early on in his pontificate. Through these teachings, he invited men and women to live the vocation to love through a complete and sincere gift of self. He particularly focused on married love, and the importance of this self-giving love in building up the family.
Pilgrims can also learn more about his theology of work. Work is a deeply personal activity, through which people cooperate in God’s creation. John Paul II reminded the Church of this, particularly addressing those living under communist rule. His early travels to Poland encouraged people to have hope in this truth about work and ultimately helped lead to the collapse of the Soviet Union’s rule.
St. John Paul II travelled to the ends of the earth in order to share the Gospel understanding of man. Why is it so important that we understand who the human person is? Ponder this as you continue on pilgrimage with us.
St. John Paul II, Pray for Us!