On April 27, 2014, Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope Francis canonized Blessed Pope John Paul II. He attended the Second Vatican Council initiated by Pope John XXIII, who is also being canonized on this day. Born Karl Wojtyla, Pope John Paul was an actor, poet, athlete, playwrite, priest and philosopher. As Charles Chaput, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia stated: He proved by his life the words of St. Irenaeus that “the glory of God is man fully alive.”
St. John Paul II visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa on two occasions while a cardinal. Karol Cardinal Wojtyla first visit was in 1969 and again in 1976 while attending the Eucharistic Congress held in Philadelphia. He became the 264th Pope of the Catholic Church two years later in 1978. John Paul II was the first non Italian pope since Pope Adrian VI who died in 1523.
John Paul II created Divine Mercy Sunday which is celebrated on the Sunday after Easter. It is originally based on the devotion to the Divine Mercy that Saint Faustina Kowalska reported as part of her encounter with Jesus. St. Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun reported visions and visitations from Jesus and conversations with Him. John Paul II beatified Sr. Maria Faustina Kowalska on April 18, 1993 and canonized her on April 30, 2000.
The Order of St. Paul the Hermit was founded during the first half of the 13th century in Hungary. The members of the Order were actual hermits who lived in the caves in Hungary. For their patron they chose St. Paul the Hermit, thereby acquiring the name “Pauline Fathers”. John Paul II had an affection for the Pauline Fathers religious order, and helped persevere the order in Poland. The Pauline Fathers, like John Paul II, have a strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Their main monastery is in Czestochowa, Poland, where they continue to reside. The Pauline Order received permission from the Holy See to establish a monastery in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and subsequently built Our Lady of Czestochowa Shrine.
In the main church is the Miraculous Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, which was blessed by Pope John XXIII on February 10, 1962, who also became a saint. The Icon of Our Lady hangs behind the altar in the main nave and depicts the Holy Trinity. God the Father, with His arms stretched out like the wings of a large bird, enfolds Jesus Christ and all God’s people. Above them is shown a dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit. Below them, a choir of angels, with their golden horns, extol the glory of God.
The Chapel of Our Lady of Czestochowa, located at The National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa on Adoration Day.
This chapel is a replica of the chapel found at the Jasna Góra Shrine in Poland. At the heart of the chapel is a copy of the Miraculous Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, blessed by Pope John Paul II, now a Saint.