NEW YORK, July 9, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An important relic of St. John Paul II will be available for veneration at New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral on Saturday, July 12, and Sunday, July 13. The tour is being sponsored by the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C., and the Knights of Columbus.
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 a lay organization, the Knights of Columbus, along with the Diocese of Brooklyn.
The relic will be available for public veneration at St. Patrick's 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.
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.
Relics of St. John Paul will also make visits to several other cities in the United States, including Philadelphia, in the months ahead. The tour will highlight the close connection St. John Paul had to the United States as a frequent pilgrim to this country while he was pope. It will also provide the faithful who were unable to attend the ceremony in Rome an opportunity to pay their respects to this great man.
"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 Knights of Columbus 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 again when he spoke so clearly on behalf of religious freedom at the U.N. in New York."
Pope John Paul's defense of human rights and religious freedom is widely considered to be a key element in the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe.
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
SOURCE Knights of Columbus