A NEW SANCTUARY OF JOHN PAUL II IN USA
FR. CEZARY CHWILCZYŃSKI
A new sanctuary of blessed John Paul II was proclaimed in the United States. The Church of the Polish-American parish of St. Theresa in Linden in the archdiocese of Newark was raised to the rank of the sanctuary. The sanctuary was erected by archbishop John Myers on 29 September.
The Church of St. Theresa in Linden has been a place of cult and prayer through intercession of blessed John Paul II for years. In the church there are relics of the Polish Pope and souvenirs given during visits in the parish by cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, among the others: blood and hair of blessed John Paul II, a zucchetto, mozzetta (papal cape), a rosary. During ceremonies of proclaiming the sanctuary archbishop Myers gave a chasuble in which pope John Paul II celebrated Holy Masses during his pilgrimage to the United States in 1995.
Archbishop Myers said: - John Paul II had a big influence on life of our archdiocese Newark. During his pilgrimage to the United States he visited the cathedral in Newark and raised it to the dignity of the minor basilica. Personally, as many believers, I have a special divine service to blessed John Paul II. I believe that he was a pastor and a man of our times and he will surely be called John Paul II the Great in the future. Poles living in New Jersey are a significant part of our archdiocese. I am very grateful for a possibility of ministry in this archdiocese, also among Poles. Pope John Paul II also appointed me a bishop and archbishop: it gives me another reason to be grateful to him. The sanctuary of blessed John Paul II is our homage for the pontificate of the Pope and I trust that in this place we will discover the teaching of the Holy Father of his 27 years of his pontificate anew which he left to us.
The Holy Father Francis greeted participants of the ceremony and the Apostolic Penitentiary gave the sanctuary a privilege of receiving a plenary indulgence. Francis expects that this special place of cult of blessed John Paul II will become a strong light of faith in the United States in the third millennium.
The idea of establishment of the sanctuary was realized by the custodian of the sanctuary – Fr. Mirosław Król in cooperation with cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz. In a letter addressed to participants of the ceremony the Metropolitan of Cracow pointed to the great call, which is addressed to the priests of the new sanctuary, for which an office of Foundation of friends of John Paul II ‘Do not be afraid!’ is functioning.
From the nomination by cardinal Dziwisz, Fr. Król also has a function of the chairman of the Foundation of John Paul II in the United States and he is a great worshipper of blessed John Paul II with whom he often met personally. It was him who has been developing the cult of the Polish Pope in the United States with the parish community in the recent years.
The ceremony of proclaiming the sanctuary was attended by Tomasz Adamek, a famous Polish boxer, living in the United States, who said: - I am very glad that the sanctuary of blessed John Paul II was established in Linden. It is a reason for us to be proud and remember about our great Compatriot. I hope that more and more people will meet together here and pray to God through his intercession. I often pray personally through the intercession of John Paul II.
The significance of the new sanctuary in the Eastern coast of the United States is proved by the fact that on 22 October the representative of the Holy See, archbishop Edward Nowak from the Canonization Issues Congregation arrived at the first indulgence ceremonies.
The ceremonies were preceded by weekly preparations: Holy Masses, adorations, lectures, theatrical performances and religious concerts of Diaspora choirs.