Feast Day of St. John Paul II
Two beautiful liturgies, Eucharistic adoration, moving testimonials, and the unveiling of a new statue were some of the highlights of the celebration of the feast day of St. John Paul II on October 22, 2016.
More than 1,000 people came on pilgrimage to the Saint John Paul II National Shrine to celebrate the life and legacy of our patron and to participate in our first World Youth Day Unite, an event focused on continuing the spirit of World Youth Day as envisioned by St. John Paul II.
Speakers for World Youth Day Unite included Fr. Dave Dwyer, host of Busted Halo on SiriusXM’s The Catholic Channel, and Christina Shabo, a Chaldean Catholic whose family has been persecuted by ISIS and who spoke on the need to pray for one’s enemies. The Shrine also welcomed two former professional athletes, Eric Mahl and Rebecca Dussault, who shared how their faith has driven them to be messengers of God’s love.
The day also included the unveiling of a new statue on the Shrine’s front plaza depicting St. John Paul II during his celebration of Mass at Washington D.C.’s National Mall in 1979. This impressive 11-foot statue is the work of renowned artist Chas Fagan, who also sculpted another statue of our patron, which resides outside the Shrine’s permanent exhibit, A Gift of Love: The Life of Saint John Paul II. While introducing the new statue on the plaza, Fagan remarked that he sought to ensure that anyone who looked at it felt the kind and warm gaze of St. John Paul II looking back at them.
The day culminated with Mass for the feast day celebrated by Monsignor J. Brian Bransfield, General Secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and an evening of praise and worship adoration led by the band Out of Darkness.