About the Shrine


The Saint John Paul II National Shrine is a gift of the Knights of Columbus to the Church and to the world. The establishment of a shrine dedicated to St. John Paul II in Washington was made by Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson in his 2011 annual report at the Knights of Columbus’ 129th Supreme Convention.

“True to Pope John Paul II’s vision, and using the story of his life as inspiration, the shrine will be an opportunity to evangelize and spread the Good News of the Gospel through a new evangelization,” said Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson. “Because of his tireless evangelization efforts, an entire generation of Catholics has become known as the ‘John Paul II Generation,’ and certainly we are honored to continue to spread his profound and powerful message of hope for our country, our continent, and our world.”

Designated a national shrine on March 19, 2014 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the shrine welcomes pilgrims from the United States, Mexico, Canada, and the world. “The American bishops are pleased to reflect the love of Catholics in America for John Paul II by designating this location a national shrine,” said Archbishop Joseph Kurtz in the bishops’ decree he signed as USCCB president. “This national shrine is truly America’s fitting tribute and remembrance of his legacy.”

“In his own service to the People of God, St. John Paul II was the pope of the family,” noted Pope Francis in his homily at the canonization of St. John Paul II and St. John XXIII. This national shrine is dedicated to preserving the life and memory of this saintly pope, and to promoting prayer and devotion to St. John Paul II, the “pope of the family.” Here pilgrims may venerate two first-class relics of St. John Paul II as they join in the Shrine’s liturgical life of prayer and devotion.

We welcome you to be a part of the spiritual family of St. John Paul II as you make a pilgrimage to this national shrine.

The Knights of Columbus and St. Pope John Paul II

The Knights of Columbus worked closely with St. John Paul II throughout his papacy, cosponsoring his Mass at Aqueduct Racetrack in New York in 1995, assisting with other papal trips, providing support for restoration projects at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and supplying resources for papal communications initiatives. The Knights also supported the foundation of the U.S. session of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, located at The Catholic University of America.

Review historic moments in the papacy of St. John Paul II, and his relationship with the Knights of Columbus.

The Knights of Columbus in Washington, D.C.

For more than a century, the Knights of Columbus has had a history of involvement with Catholic institutions in Washington, D.C., many of them within a few blocks of the shrine. The Knights’ work includes substantial support for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, and The Catholic University of America.