This past Tuesday, hundreds of students filed into Christ the King Chapel to view a first class relic of Pope St. John Paul II (JPII). It was brought by the John Paul II Project in honor of the 40th anniversary of JPII being elected pope.
The relic was placed on a small table in front of the altar. The relic itself was a small drop of JPII’s blood on a piece of fabric displayed is a small golden reliquary. Students lined up and were able to pray for a few minutes individually in front of the relic. There was also a small book where students could write down their prayer intentions to be taken to the John Paul II Be Not Afraid Center and Sanctuary in Krakow, then to the Divine Mercy Shrine.
“It was a real blessing,” said freshman Jacob Condi after the veneration. “You don’t get a chance like this every day.”
The relic was given to Corinne and Joseph MacDonald, cofounders of the JPII Project, by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the personal secretary and friend of JPII.
The MacDonalds founded the program in 2016 following World Youth Day in Krakow. The program operates out of Krakow with the goal of sharing JPII’s teachings with the world.
The MacDonalds are currently traveling around the United States with the relic and their family. They felt they were called by God to start this program and inform young people about JPII’s legacy.
Some initiatives of the JPII Project are study abroad programs in Krakow, as well as a family pilgrimage and a theology of the body course. They are currently offering fall, spring and summer study abroad programs. Students who attend will stay in the John Paul II Be Not Afraid Center, learn about JPII’s life and go on several excursions to Wadowice, Auschwitz and parts of Krakow.
“It’s been really powerful for me,” said Joseph MacDonald. “To bring a piece of him (JPII) to the States is pretty rare … to see so many different universities we’ve been to, (even) here at Franciscan, so many have taken their time to visit this relic. To witness that has been powerful.”
The JPII Project will travel to Chicago next. To learn more about the JPII Project, students can visit https://www.jp2project.org/.