Former Papal Secretary Helps Dedicate Altar
At Saint John Paul II Shrine
Cardinal Dziwisz served at pope’s right hand during entire pontificate
WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 3, 2015 – The main altar at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington was dedicated on Friday, October 2, at 3 p.m. with the help of the man who worked alongside Pope John Paul II as his personal secretary during the saint’s historic nearly 27-year papacy.
Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, now the archbishop of Krakow, Poland, made his first visit to the shrine for the altar dedication that took place during the Mass. Serving as principal celebrant and homilist was Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington. Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, supreme chaplain of the Knights of Columbus, concelebrated the Mass, which was attended by Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson, Shrine Executive Director Patrick Kelly and other K of C officials.
The new altar is the work of noted Italian sculptor Edoardo Ferrari and features sculptures of the apostles. Following the Mass there was an advance screening of the new Knights of Columbus-produced documentary, Liberating a Continent: John Paul II and the Fall of Communism.
Stanisław Dziwisz was ordained a priest by Bishop Karol Wojtyła in 1963. He served as Wojtyła’s secretary in Poland, and was with him in Rome when he was elected pope in 1978. Father Dziwisz accompanied the pope on his numerous trips abroad and physically supported John Paul in the critical moments following an attempt on the pope’s life in 1981. Archbishop Dziwisz continued to serve John Paul until the pope’s death in 2005.
The Saint John Paul II National Shrine has recently undergone a major renovation, which included the creation of the new Redeemer of Man Church and a reliquary chapel, which also contains a new Edoardo Ferrari altar. Together, the altars contain first-class relics of 11 saints connected to St. John Paul II or to the evangelization of the North American continent. The walls of both sanctuaries are decorated with mosaics by Jesuit Father Marko Rupnik.
Designated as a national shrine by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2014, the shrine is primarily a place of prayer and pilgrimage. Its permanent exhibit, “A Gift of Love: The Life of Saint John Paul II,” allows visitors to walk in the footsteps of John Paul II by exploring the major events of his life and themes of his papacy. More information is available at: www.jp2shrine.org.
– Agnes King
Saint John Paul II National Shrine