The Shrine of St. John Paul the Great
“For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Cor 5:19)
St. John Paul the Great was a truly universal man, who “could speak… in a connected way about everything,” from ski poles to deep scientific theory, from the complexity of the human person to mystical experience, all unified in Christ. As the Vicar of Christ, God was truly active in Him reconciling and restoring all things. The Shrine and Foundation act as stewards and ambassadors of his human, intellectual, spiritual and pastoral heritage, connecting existing movements, apostolates and institutes of the Church to the Shrine and the Institute in Krakow in order to make accessible his entire legacy. Enlivened by his fourteen encyclicals, the other papal writings, the Theology of the Body, his spirituality and his sense of “world-church,” these ecclesial communities will be better able to reach all human beings, regardless of their heritage or nationality, with Jesus Christ who is “the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.” In addition, individuals are invited into direct affiliation with the Shrine and the Foundation in order to grow in relationship with Jesus Christ through the unique spirituality of St. John Paul the Great, steeped in his intellectual thought and inspired by a vision of a man fully alive.
Jedność zakłada dążenie ludzkiego umysłu do osiągnięcia zrozumienia zaś ze strony ludzkiego ducha — pragnienie miłości. Gdy ludzkie istoty próbują zrozumieć otaczającą je mnogość, gdy usiłują, nadać sens doświadczeniu, czynią to przez włączanie wielu czynników do wspólnej wizji. Zrozumienie jest osiągane, gdy wiele danych jest jednoczo- nych przez wspólną strukturę. Jedno oświeca wiele; to nadaje sens całości. Prosta, zwyczajna mnogość jest chaosem; intuicja, pojedynczy model, może nadać temu chaosowi strukturę i przybliżyć go do intelligibilności. Do jed- ności zmierzamy tak samo, jak w życiu zmierzamy w kierunku zrozumienia. Ale jedność jest również konsekwencją miłości. Jeśli miłość jest prawdziwa, zmierza ona nie do asymilacji jednego przez drugie, ale do jedności z drugim. Ludzka wspólnota ma początek w pragnieniu jedności, tam gdzie tej jedno- ści nie ma, i jest dopełniana w radości, gdy ci, którzy byli daleko, osiągną zjednoczenie. (Jan Pawel II, POSŁANIE JEGO ŚWIĄTOBLIWOŚCI OJCA ŚWIĘTEGO JANA PAWŁA II DO OJCA GEORGE’A V. COYNE’A DYREKTORA OBSERWATORIUM WATYKAŃSKIEGO)
“Unity involves the drive of the human mind towards understanding and the desire of the human spirit for love. When human beings seek to understand the multiplicities that surround them, when they seek to make sense of experience, they do so by bringing many factors into a common vision. Understanding is achieved when many data are unified by a common structure. The one illuminates the many; it makes sense of the whole. Simple multiplicity is chaos; an insight, a single model, can give that chaos structure and draw it into intelligibility. We move towards unity as we move towards meaning in our lives. Unity is also the consequence of love. If love is genuine, it moves not towards the assimilation of the other but towards union with the other. Human community begins in desire when that union has not been achieved, and it is completed in joy when those who have been apart are now united.” (St. John Paul the Great, “Letter to George V. Coyne, S.J., the Director of the Vatican Observatory”)
To develop the Shrine of St. John Paul the Great into a global instrument of God’s grace (hub) in which the universal man and saint becomes for all people of good will an inspiration and model through a synthesis of faith, culture and life. This will be accomplished by preserving and promoting his legacy through a rich and diverse set of leadership programs, educational activities and evangelization efforts. This will be incarnated through the work of the Shrine and the Foundation as a catalyst for development of a multitude of small Christian communities around the world. These communities will connect existing movements, apostolates and the local Church to the Shrine.
Vision in 10 Years
- The Shrine is a global pilgrimage destination with completed infrastructure, annual meetings and institutes for priests, religious leaders, bishops, evangelists, scientists, academics and students.
- There is a global apostolate with prayer groups and study groups creating relationships with universities, apostolates and movements.
- The Shrine is focused on training, equipping and renewing priests, religious and lay ecclesial ministers for evangelization. This will also involve the same for missionary volunteers working in digital outreach, outreach to the needy and evangelization.
- Resources: We will make accessible the 14 encyclicals, the Theology of the Body and the spirituality of St. John Paul the Great (Sacraments, Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, prayer meditation) via study guides, retreats and small group guides.
- We will seek to have St. John Paul the Great declared as a Doctor of the Church
Vision by WYD 2016
- The apostolate is in existence with a clearly defined structure.
- First encyclical study guide is completed.
- Digital book and physical banners featuring the Shrine present at WYD, including a digital identity which all can access.
- An invitation to create small Christian communities that are harmonious with and supportive of the local Church.
- Registration for 2018 seminars in science, arts and culture, bringing them into dialogue with the Catholic Faith.
- A communications plan is in effect that is initially made up of video messages from Cardinal Dziwisz with invitations, stories and topical commentary. One is a 45 second spot; one is an under five minute spot. These will be accompanied by other video messages on St. John Paul the Great.
As a man, priest and pontiff, St. John Paul the Great drew the whole world into community, becoming a living channel of grace and communion. In all of its activities, the Foundation and the Shrine will emphasize encounter, dialogue, and fraternity as key virtues to be practiced. This will be done first through a communion with the bishops, priests, religious and faithful of the Church, and secondarily with all peoples of good will. In order to achieve the first, we must be clear in our goals and relationships with the apostolates, movements and institutes of the Church and in our perpetual devotion and submission to the hierarchy of the Church. Our goals as “stewards and ambassadors” of the whole legacy of St. John Paul the Great is to make accessible to all groups that seek to be fed by this legacy the corpus of his public witness, his spirituality and his intellectual accomplishments. These will first be delivered in study guides translated into many languages and formats tailored to the specific contours of the meetings of these various groups. Second, the study guides will be enriched by a variety of media both for these groups and with the help and collaboration of these groups. These enriched study guides will be used as a means for evangelization, enabling all to be missionaries both in person and by traveling to today’s digital shores. In every case the goal is to build and renew the local Church.
The Foundation and the Shrine will create additional materials to be used as a catalyst for the creation of small Christian communities. Each visitor to the Shrine will be exhorted to not only encounter Jesus Christ but to return to their homes to join or create such communities. In particular the Foundation will focus upon the Spirituality of St. John Paul the Great in order to build community among Priests and Religious to serve their needs as they serve the people of God.
The Shrine seeks to be the home for young people, for engaged couples, for the newly married, young parents, and all families. John Paul the Great has built a house of prayer and hope for the domestic Church and a refuge for those who seek healing.
Conversion through Community
In today’s world of constant contact, limitless touches and connectivity, we as a people, and particularly young people, suffer from loneliness at the deepest levels. The real need for community and authentic relationships is one of our deepest, and people are losing the ability to have such relationships. In Tertio millennio advenientes St. John Paul the Great exhorted the Church to create small Christian communities as a medium for renewal. He believed that small Christian communities are a means by which the Holy Spirit will renew the face of the earth.
In this regard, the Foundation believes that St. John Paul the Great can do more for the world in heaven than he did as pontiff. His witness of building relationships and forming communities is an icon of health, happiness and holiness for which the world longs. We believe that in a fully human life, relationships that encapsulate all the dimensions of authentic existence allow for the unique individuality of each person as a gift from God and the gifts that they can bring to the world. Mindful of this, the Foundation must be clear in the understanding of the dynamic by which all people, young and old, are drawn into community, hear the Gospel, and conversion occurs.
Elements of Renewal and Evangelization
To experience the community of the Body of Christ by the individual is to be animated by:
- The Witness of Christian Community
- An Invitation to Community
- The Proclamation of the Gospel by the Community
- Personal Response to the Gospel
- Insertion into the Sacramental Life of the Church
- Commitment to Community – Loving the Other as Other
- Faithful participation in the apostolic goals of the Church
In order to achieve an authentic witness a Christian Community must be:
- Open to others and to the world, practicing loving acceptance of the other as other
- Oriented, side-by-side, towards the Good, the Truth that is Jesus Christ
- Characterized by humility, freedom and joy
- Animated by personal and communal responsibility for each other’s good
- Drawing new members into growth through conviction, not coercion
The Foundation, as a Public Association of the Faithful will be a work of the People of God in support of the Shrine and the Institute of Interfaith Dialogue under the patronage of the Cardinal Archbishop of Krakow.