First-class relic of Blessed John Paul II enshrined at Divine Mercy Shrine
(Photo courtesy of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy)
STOCKBRIDGE – Pilgrims to the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, here, may now venerate a first-class relic of Blessed John Paul II, located in a white marble kneeler in the Divine Mercy Chapel.
The relic consists of a white linen cloth that holds Blessed John Paul’s blood.
The relic was enshrined during a ceremony held on Sunday, Aug. 12. During the enshrinement, Marian Father Kazimierz Chwalek, provincial superior of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, noted that the blood was saved by an administrator at the Agostino Gemelli Teaching Hospital (“The Gemelli”) in Rome, Italy where Pope John Paul II had been hospitalized twice in the weeks prior to his death on April 2, 2005.
The first-class relic was given to the Marians by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz in appreciation for the religious order’s lengthy and pivotal role in promoting the official Divine Mercy message and devotion for more than 70 years. Cardinal Dziwisz presented the relic to Father Chwalek during his recent visit to Poland.
Cardinal Dziwisz, now the Archbishop of Krakow, Poland, was ordained a priest by then-Bishop Karol Jozef Wojtyla and later went on to become a longtime and influential advisor to the pope. He served Pope John Paul II as his private secretary throughout his entire 27-year pontificate. The pontiff’s blood was turned over to Cardinal Dziwisz following Pope John Paul’s death.
The relic was set up inside the Divine Mercy Chapel in close proximity to a relic of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska. Her first-class relic is enshrined on the altar and in a kneeler located at a side altar in the chapel.
During the canonization of St. Faustina on April 30, 2000, Pope John Paul proclaimed that the second Sunday of Easter would be Divine Mercy Sunday. According to Father Chwalek, Pope John Paul stated that spreading the message of mercy was his special task assigned to him by God.
“By coming to our shrine, he came to his spiritual home,” said Father Chwalek during the ceremony. “Even though he never visited our shrine in Stockbridge – we were too small at the time – he belongs here as one of the great promoters of Divine Mercy. Now, we can experience his presence and protection more fully.”
Following recitation of the perpetual novena and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, sung during the Hour of Mercy (3 p.m.), Father Chwalek incensed the relic and then told the pilgrims to pray for Blessed John Paul’s intercession.
Some 300 clergy, pilgrims, volunteers and staff, led by Father Chwalek, who carried a reliquary with the John Paul relic, processed indoors from the Mother of Mercy Outdoor Shrine to the Divine Mercy Chapel, where all were given the opportunity to venerate the relic.
The enshrinement coincided with the silver anniversary of ordination to the priesthood of Father Chwalek and two other Marian priests, Fathers Daniel Cambra and Larry Dunn.
The Chaplet and enshrinement were preceded by a Mass at 2, presided over by Father Chwalek, and concelebrated by Fathers Cambra and Dunn, as well as Marian Father Michael Gaitley, director of the Association of Marian Helpers; Marian Father Joseph Roesch, vicar general in Rome; Father Antoni Debinski, rector/president of the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland; and Springfield diocesan priests, Fathers Stanislaus Sokol and Tomasz P. Parzynski.
Father Cambra, who preceded Father Chwalek as provincial, delivered the homily and recalled the goodness of “the Mercy Pope.” He called Blessed John Paul “a reflection of God for all of us, certainly the three of us celebrating today,” adding that many men likely became priests in part because they were influenced by Pope John Paul II.