Saint John Paul II National Shrine Filled with Pilgrims Following National Mass of Thanksgiving in Washington for New Pope Saints

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A national celebration of the newly canonized St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II concluded with a procession of several hundred people from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception to the Saint John Paul II National Shrine on Sunday, May 11.

The procession was led by an honor guard of more than 100 Fourth Degree Knights. Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, who served as the principal celebrant and homilist at the Mass, carried the blood relic of St. John Paul II in the procession back to its shrine. Supreme Chaplain, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, had previously carried the relic into the Basilica at the start of the Mass.

Once the procession reached the Saint John Paul II National Shrine, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, read a papal greeting commending the work of the shrine. In his remarks, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson quoted Pope Francis at the recent canonization in which the Holy Father repeated Pope Benedict XVI’s words at the beatification of St. John Paul II:

"He opened to Christ the society, the culture, the political and economic systems, intervening with the strength of a giant strength that came to him from God a tendency which could seem irreversible. With his witness of faith, of love and of apostolic courage, accompanied by a great human drive, this exemplary son of the Polish nation helped Christians worldwide not to be afraid to call themselves Christians, to belong to the Church, to speak of the Gospel. In a word, he helped us not to be afraid of the truth, because the truth is the guarantee of freedom." 

Cardinal Wuerl thanked the supreme knight for his vision in making the Saint John Paul II National Shrine a reality and, in the Shrine’s chapel, presented a painting of St. John Paul II to the supreme knight, supreme chaplain, deputy supreme knight and several other supreme officers and directors, including the Executive Director of the shrine, Patrick Kelly.

The day’s ceremonies were internationally televised on EWTN, Salt and Light Television, Catholic Television of Boston, New Evangelization Television of Brooklyn, and Telecare of Rockville Center.