Saturday, January 31, 2015

Papal Intentions for February

As we start off the month of February, let us remember Pope Francis’s intentions in our prayers.

His universal intention for the month is for prisoners, especially young prisoners, that they “may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.”

The Holy Father also asks us to pray for the evangelization of separated spouses, that they “may find welcome and support in the Christian community.” 

The imprisoned and the separated often find themselves at the margins of our Church communities. Let us act on Pope Francis’s intentions this month, through prayer and through loving encounter.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Mysteries of Light

Those who take time to pray a Rosary today, will most likely meditate upon the Luminous Mysteries pictured in the icons above. Saint John Paul II called them the “Mysteries of Light.”

In his 2002 Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, the late Holy Father introduced these mysteries in order to give the Rosary “fresh life and to enkindle renewed interest in the Rosary's place within Christian spirituality as a true doorway to the depths of the Heart of Christ, ocean of joy and of light, of suffering and of glory.”

The truth that Christ is the “light of the world” (John 8:12) emerges during His public ministry, and so St. John Paul II suggested that we meditate upon five specific moments—Christ’s Baptism in the Jordan, His “self-manifestation at the wedding of Cana,” His proclamation of the Kingdom of God, His Transfiguration, and His institution of the Eucharist—with Mary’s help.

“Each of these mysteries is a revelation of the Kingdom now present in the very person of Jesus,” the sainted pontiff wrote. They guide us back to the light of Christ’s life and they illuminate the message He gave and still gives: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).

Monday, January 26, 2015

Blessed Michal Kozal, Pray for Us

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (Eph 4:1).

Saint Paul writes this in the Letter to the Ephesians. Today the same words could be addressed to us, his fellow countrymen, by Bishop Michal Kozal, a prisoner in the concentration camp at Dachau. Today is the liturgical memorial of this faithful witness to Christ. The grace which God gave him “was not in vain” (cf. 1 Cor 15:10) and continues to bear fruit today. Blessed Bishop Kozal exhorts us to behave in a manner worthy of our human and Christian vocation, as sons and daughters of this land, the same homeland of which he was a son. Saint Paul shows the greatness of this vocation. We are members of the Body of Christ, the Church, which he instituted and of which he is the Head. In this Church the Holy Spirit continually distributes the gifts necessary for various services and tasks. These make up the great richness of the Church and serve the good of all.

Blessed Michal Kozal, you were beatified by St. John Paul II in 1987 for the faith you showed in the face of great suffering. Please pray for us, that we might grow in our faith on this day of your feast.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Joy Of Following Christ

The Church needs to make known the great gospel values of which she is the bearer. No one witnesses more effectively to these values than those who profess the consecrated life in chastity, poverty and obedience, in a total gift of self to God and in complete readiness to serve humanity and society after the example of Christ.

-Saint John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio

This month, Pope Francis asks us to pray for all of our religious, that in this Year of Consecrated Life, “religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.” Let us join him in praying for all consecrated religious.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Dignity Of The Human Person

We know that man is made for love, because we know that man is made in the image of God (Gen 1:27). In his 1995 encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, Saint John Paul II reflected upon what this means:

Man is called to a fullness of life which far exceeds the dimensions of his earthly existence, because it consists in sharing the very life of God. The loftiness of this supernatural vocation reveals the greatness and the inestimable value of human life even in its temporal phase.

St. John Paul II spent his entire pontificate defending this truth about man. All human persons—including the poor, the sick, the handicapped, the elderly, and the unborn—are called to the fullness of life.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Faith And Forgiveness

Saint John Paul II had a very special place in his heart for the Blessed Mother. His papal motto was “Totus tuus,” or “I belong entirely to you,” and he placed an “M” beside the Cross on his coat of arms, because he wanted to dedicate his entire pontificate to her. 

On May 13, 1981, during an open-air audience in Saint Peter’s Square, an attempt was made on the late Hoy Father’s life. While it was a traumatic event, it was one that affirmed his devotion to Mary.

St. John Paul II attributed his survival and recovery to her, famously saying that, “[o]ne finger fired and another directed the bullet.” It was the feast of Our Lady of Fatima that day, and one year later he visited Fatima in order to place one of the bullets found inside of him in the Blessed Mother’s crown.

Through Mary’s prayers, John Paul II also received the grace to forgive the man who shot him. After experiencing the chilling moment of the assassination attempt, shown in the picture above, visitors to our exhibit journey on to one of our most moving galleries, in which they are called to reflect upon the time when the sainted pontiff visited and forgave Mehmet Ali Ağca.

Please join us here in the coming weeks as we continue to explore the themes of our permanent exhibit. As you learn more, prayerfully consider a pilgrimage to see these themes come to life yourself.

St. John Paul II, Pray for Us!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Way For The Church

As he took the Chair of Saint Peter, Saint John Paul II challenged all people to open wide their hearts to Christ, for it is His “perfect love” that “casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). It is His love that gives man life. In his first encyclical, Redemptor Hominis, the late Holy Father wrote:

Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it.

St. John Paul II taught us much about this love that man cannot live without, and we remember this in our permanent exhibit: A Gift of Love: The Life of Saint John Paul II.

The sainted pontiff showed us this love by visiting his people. Early in his papacy, he made pilgrimages of love to the faithful in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and other places throughout the world.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Most Important Day Of His Life

Yesterday papal biographer George Weigel posted an article in which he reflected upon the baptism of Saint John Paul II:

…in preparing the first volume of my biography of St. John Paul II, Witness to Hope, I described the pope’s return to his parish in Wadowice on his epic first papal pilgrimage to Poland in June 1979. Stepping into the church where he had served Mass, received the scapular, and prayed daily during his youth, the 264th Bishop of Rome went straight to the chapel that housed the baptismal font and venerated the place where he had been "born again" in 1920.

Why? Because Karol Wojtyla knew that that day was the most important day of his life: the day when he was first empowered, by water and the Spirit, to become a friend of the Lord Jesus Christ and a missionary disciple. As John Paul understood it, the most important day of his life was not the day on which he was ordained a priest, consecrated a bishop, or elected pope. The most important day of his life was the day of his baptism. Everything else flowed from that, like the waters in Ezekiel’s vision, flowing from the restored Temple to renew the face of the earth.

As we enter into Ordinary Time, let us remember the mission we received in those baptismal waters: to be Christ’s disciples and to introduce Him to the world.  

Saint John Paul II, Pray for Us!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

To Know The Peoples of Asia

Dear People of the Philippines,

In my desire to know personally the peoples of Asia, I wanted my first papal visit to be to the Philippines. I come here retracing the steps of Paul VI, whose memorable visit to this land is still recalled, I am sure, with love and gratitude, and whose inspiring presence still lives on in the hearts and the minds of the Filipino people. I come here because it is my heart's desire to celebrate with my brothers and sisters the common faith that unites the Catholic population of this land with the See of Peter in Rome. At the same time I mention with satisfaction and pleasure the friendly relations between the Philippines and the Holy See. These relations are indeed a worthy expression of the special affection of your people for the Bishop of Rome.

The Philippine nation is deserving of particular honor since, from the beginning of its Christianization, from the moment that Magellan planted the Cross in Cebu four hundred and sixty years ago, on April 15, 1521, all through the centuries, its people have remained true to the Christian faith. In an achievement that remains unparalleled in history, the message of Christ took root in the hearts of the people within a very brief span of time, and the Church was thus strongly implanted in this nation of seven thousand islands and numerous tribal and ethnic communities.
The rich geographical and human diversity, the various cultural traditions, and the people's spirit of joy and sharing, together with the fruits of the missionary efforts, have successfully blended and have shaped, through periods which were sometimes not devoid of shadows and weaknesses, a clear national identity that is unmistakably Filipino and truly Christian. The attachment to the Catholic faith has been tested under succeeding regimes of colonial control and foreign occupation, but fidelity to the faith and to the Church remained unshaken and grew even stronger and more mature.

St. John Paul II, please pray for the Church, especially for Pope Francis and his apostolic journey to Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

Saturday, January 10, 2015


In this gallery of our new exhibit, we have an exact replica of the Holy Doors in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power. Help the Pope and all those who wish to serve Christ and with Christ's power to serve the human person and the whole of mankind. Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of States, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development. Do not be afraid. Christ knows “what is in man.” He alone knows it.

As he took the Chair of Saint Peter, Saint John Paul II asked all seekers, all faithful, and all doubters to listen to the words of St. Peter: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16). 

As the new Successor of Peter, John Paul II challenged all present to renew their faith in Jesus, who alone has the words of eternal life. As light comes out of the darkness, John Paul II rose out of communist Poland in order to point the entire Church beyond their fears and back to Jesus.

As visitors to our exhibit walk through the doors pictured above, we pray that they heed St. John Paul II’s call to cast all fears aside and open wide their hearts to Christ.

Please join us here in the coming weeks as we continue to explore the themes of our permanent exhibit. As you learn more, prayerfully consider a pilgrimage to see these themes come to life yourself.

St. John Paul II, Pray for Us!