In addition to the National monuments and the Basilica of the National Shrine of Immaculate Conception, Washington DC is the home of the Saint John Paul II National Shrine. Designated a National Shrine in 2014, the church is dedicated to bringing people closer to God through his saint, Pope John Paul II. A 16,000 square feet permanent exhibit called, “A Gift of Love: The Life of Saint John Paul II” takes visitors through the life and 25 year papacy of St. John Paul II through a series of 9 galleries that includes interactive displays, one of a kind personal artifacts, and educational films.
The Shrine also gives pilgrims the opportunity to venerate two first class relics of Pope St. John Paul II. The first relic is a glass ampoule of St. John Paul II’s blood suspended in an ornate reliquary (pictured left). The second relic is a piece of blood stained cloth from the cassock worn by John Paul the second during the assassination attempt on his life in St. Peter’s Square (pictured right).
Pope John Paul II was born Karol Wotjayla in 1920 in in Krakow, Poland. After World War II he entered a reopened seminary and became a priest in 1946. He became Pope in 1978 and severed the second longest Papal term since St. Peter. He was beatified on the feast of Divine Mercy, which he implemented when he canonized St. Faustina, and was canonized himself on April 27, 2014.
Pope St. John Paul II, pray for us!
Find other pilgrimage sites on the Sites by State page.