Relics of St. John Paul II — who was canonized in April — will visit New York City this weekend as part of a tour that began last month that will several U.S. cities over the next several months. The relics have already been to Boston and Baltimore with Philadelphia the next stop on the weekend of July 19-20.
The relic will be available for public veneration at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in mid-town Manhattan throughout the afternoon on Saturday, July 12, beginning with the noon Mass and again following the 5:30 p.m. vigil Mass. Veneration on Sunday, July 13, will begin following the 10:15 a.m. Mass and conclude following the 5:30 p.m. Mass that will be celebrated by Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
In Philadelphia, at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, the relic will be available for veneration on Saturday, July 19, from 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. during the sacrament of penance and reconciliation, and after the 5:15 p.m. anticipated vigil Mass. On Sunday, July 20, at the conclusion of each Mass there will be a blessing with and veneration of the relic. Masses are at 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. (Spanish). At 6:30 p.m. there will be a solemn stational Mass in the basilica, celebrated by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M., Cap.
The relic is similar to one displayed at the April 27 canonization of Pope John Paul in Rome. It consists of a vial of his blood that was entrusted to the Knights of Columbus for the Saint John Paul II National Shrine by his longtime personal secretary Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow.
“There was no greater champion of human rights in our lifetime than St. John Paul, who reminded us that those rights begin with religious liberty and the rights of conscience,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “He did this most memorably in the first year of his papacy when he returned to Poland and brought there the hope of freedom, and and again when he spoke so clearly on behalf of religious freedom at the U.N. in New York.”
John Paul II’s visits to Poland and his defense of human rights and religious freedom are widely considered key elements in the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe.
St. John Paul visited the New York area twice as pope, in 1979 and 1995, with Masses celebrated at Yankee Stadium, Central Park, Giants Stadium and Aqueduct Race Track. He addressed the United Nations twice, held a festive audience for young people in Madison Square Garden and was treated to a ticker-tape parade in lower Manhattan. The Mass at Aqueduct was unique in that it was co-sponsored by the Knights, a lay organization, along with the Diocese of Brooklyn.
“St. John Paul spent more time in the United States than any other pope before or since, shaping an entire generation of Catholics here and throughout the world,” said Anderson. “Bringing his relic to communities throughout this country will recall for many Catholics his saintly life, his unswerving commitment to the dignity of every human person, and his emphasis on the call to holiness for each one of us.”
The relic is normally housed at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine, which is administered by the Knights in Washington, D.C. The site was designated a national shrine by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops earlier this year. This summer, it will debut a new 16,000-square-foot, state-of-the art exhibit on John Paul’s life and legacy.
More information is available at http://www.jp2shrine.org