On Thursday, October 22nd, the Church will celebrate the feast of Saint John Paul II. In order to honor our beloved Holy Father, we’ve come up with some ways to prepare for this special day.
There is no better way to prepare for St. John Paul II’s feast than by opening ourselves to the Lord in prayer. One idea is to join us in nine days of prayer, seeking the late Holy Father’s intercession for a particular intention. We will begin praying this novena tomorrow. You can also prepare by praying the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, or by attending daily Mass. It is through prayer that God is able to draw close to us, and because St. John Paul II is present in heaven with the Father now, prayer is our best chance of drawing closer to our beloved Holy Father.
St. John Paul II once said that, “prayer acquires power if it is joined with fasting.” Consider fasting in preparation for the great saint’s feast. Give up sweets, meat, or perhaps different forms of media, like Facebook or TV shows. Making some small sacrifice is a powerful way to prepare our hearts for the festal celebrations.
John Paul II often repeated the truth that, man can only find himself through a true gift of self. Consider giving yourself to others in a special way as we prepare to celebrate his feast. Intentionally perform small acts of kindness for your family, your community, or your coworkers. Tithe more than you usually do from month to month. Or on the day of St. John Paul II’s feast, clear off an hour or two of your schedule for service towards the “Gospel of Life”—perhaps at a homeless shelter for pregnant women or at a nursing home. John Paul II was a witness to service, and so this would be a perfect way to honor him in preparation for his feast.
It wouldn’t be a feast without a celebration! As you look ahead to the 22nd, think of ways that you can joyfully remember St. John Paul II. Attend daily Mass, invite friends to join you for a late afternoon hike, or plan a family party with generous amounts of Polish food. Honor the late Holy Father in a special way that brings joy to you and those around you.
If you live in the Washington, D.C. area, we have your celebration plans covered. On the evening of Thursday, October 22nd, from 6:30 p.m. until 10:00 p.m., the Saint John Paul II National Shrine will host a special candlelight procession with a dramatic re-reading of John Paul II’s “Be Not Afraid” homily, a candlelight Mass, and a celebration featuring Polish foods and the late Holy Father’s favorite dessert: Kremówka. Make sure to plan a pilgrimage through our exhibit as well.
St. John Paul II, please pray for us as we prepare for your feast!