National Shrine of Pope John Paul II to Lead U.S. Celebration of Canonization

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April 26-27 weekend events will track John Paul’s elevation to sainthood by Pope Francis

The National Shrine of Pope John Paul II will be a major focal point of U.S. observances of the canonization of Pope John Paul II by Pope Francis on Sunday, April 27. In one of the weekend’s highlights, the facility will be renamed the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in a ceremony at 9:30 a.m. — just hours after the canonization in Rome.

On March 19, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops recognized the shrine’s importance as a national place of prayer dedicated to John Paul II when it designated the Knights of Columbus facility at 3900 Harewood Road, in northeast Washington, as a national shrine.

“As the premier site dedicated to Pope John Paul II in the United States, we are grateful to be able to welcome pilgrims here on such an historic weekend,” said shrine Executive Director Patrick Kelly. “It will be among the first places of worship in the world to bear the name Saint John Paul II.”

Events marking the canonization will begin on Saturday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m. and include a procession, midnight Mass for Divine Mercy Sunday and a live simulcast of the canonization ceremony from Rome.

In addition to liturgical celebrations, live music and a gathering of young people, the weekend will include adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, confession and opportunities to venerate a relic of the new saint that is a shrine centerpiece. It consists of a vial of John Paul II’s blood, entrusted to the Knights of Columbus by Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, the archbishop of Kraków and John Paul’s longtime secretary.

Pope John Paul II will be canonized along with Pope John XXIII.

“These two saints have each left very important legacies for the Church and important examples of holiness for all of us,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “Pope John XXIII led the Church into the Second Vatican Council, and Pope John Paul II served as its key interpreter, leaving the Church a profound legacy that continues to shape the third millennium of Christianity.”