Pope John Paul II Cultural Center Circa 1998 - 2006


For a number of years this was the website for the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center located in Washington, DC.
Content is from the site's 1998-2006 archived pages.

The current website for the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center is found at: www.jp2shrine.org/en/index.html

Pope John Paul II Cultural Center
3900 Harewood Road, NE,
Washington, DC 20017


The Pope John Paul II
Cultural Center

Washington, D.C.



A Cultural Center . . .
Throughout the centuries, the Church has helped to shape national cultures and has been enriched by them. The Church in the United States in particular has benefited from the richness of many cultures. We cannot fully understand our Catholic heritage without examining the dynamic relationship between faith and culture.
  A declaration of Catholic values . . .
The Center will be a highly visible institution that will ensure that a Catholic perspective will have a prominent place in our national discussion of moral, ethical and spiritual issues.

A center for scholarship . . .
The Cultural Center will house the work of distinguished resident scholars who will research, discuss, teach and write about the interaction of faith and culture.

In honor of the Holy Father . . .
Pope John Paul II will be remembered as one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century and one of the greatest popes, but the Cultural Center is not a memorial to one man. It will focus on the Holy Father's inspiring message of peace, justice, love and respect for every human person and is dedicated to preserving and perpetuating that teaching.




Cultural Center's Advisory
Board of Bishops

Adam Cardinal Maida
Archdiocese of Detroit
President of the John Paul II Cultural Foundation

Most Rev. Francis B. Schulte
Archdiocese of New Orleans

 Most Rev. Donald W. Wuerl
Diocese of Pittsburgh

Francis Cardinal George
Archdiocese of Chicago

Most Rev. John J. Myers
Diocese of Peoria

Most Rev. Thomas V. Daily
Diocese of Brooklyn

Most Rev. Thad Jakubowski
Auxiliary Bishop
Archdiocese of Chicago


Discover the Cultural Center

Situated in a peaceful setting in northeast Washington, DC, the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center offers an environment in which to explore one's own faith and learn about the role of faith in the new millennium. Using interactive and multimedia technologies, the Cultural Center artfully creates a memorable experience for people of all faiths.

On arriving, visitors are struck by the museum's breathtaking architectural design - an impressively modern form distinguished by a wing-shaped roof that seems to float above the facility. Already acclaimed for its strong architectural vision, the building creates an expectant tone for what awaits inside - a unique experience that engages the minds and nourishes the souls of all those who visit.



Benedict XVI
Saint Peter's Square
Fifth Sunday of Lent
2 April 2006

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On 2 April last year, just as today, in these very hours and here in this very apartment, beloved Pope John Paul II was living the last stage of his earthly pilgrimage, a pilgrimage of faith, love and hope which left a profound mark on the history of the Church and of humanity. His agony and death constitute, as it were, an extension of the Easter Triduum.


His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, encourages the Cultural Center's efforts to bring the light of the Gospel and the richness of the Church's intellectual and artistic heritage to bear upon the great issues facing contemporary American society. It is his hope that its activities will always promote that sincere and respectful dialogue between the worlds of faith and culture which was so close to the heart of the late Holy Father, and in this way remain faithful to the lofty vision which inspired its founding.

-- Angelo Cardinal Sodano
Secretary of State
Vatican City



History of the Center

The Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, has called us to be not afraid, but to boldly meet the challenges of the future in fidelity with the Gospel. In 1988, during a meeting with the Holy Father, the then Bishop Maida proposed the building of a Catholic Center that would help people address the challenges of faith and help inspire people in their faith. The concept of the Center developed into a cultural center inspired by the sentiment of the Holy Father that it must not focus on him but on the message, of not only of this Pope, but also, of his predecessors.

The Cultural Center incorporates three major entities. It is an interactive museum featuring modern technology that challenges the visitor to explore their faith and to interact with others in a dialogue about faith. It is an art museum featuring changing art exhibits from the Vatican Museums, as well as other art exhibits. It is, also, a place of scholarly research, exploring the concepts in Catholic thought that have been laid out by Pope John Paul II. With the concept of the Center established, the question became where this idea would be realized. The Holy Father selected Washington, DC, calling it the crossroads of the Third Millennium. The realization of the dream began in 1997 with the start of construction on the Center. The site chosen was a wooded 12 acres adjacent to The Catholic University of America and near both the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In November of 2000, the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center was dedicated in a series of events with American Cardinals Maida, Hickey, Law, Bevilacqua and Keeler and the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo. The dedication served as a sneak peek for those who helped to create the Center through either financial donations or their labor.

In March 2001, the Center opened in a grand ceremony with the presence of President George W. Bush; the Governor of Vatican City, Cardinal Szoka; American Cardinals Maida, Hickey, Keeler, McCarrick and Law; Polish Cardinal Macharski; the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo and elected officials from the United States Congress.

Welcoming visitors to the Center is a statue donated by the Polish Conference of Catholic Bishops, as a sign of their support of the Center's mission. It was officially unveiled during Polonia Day celebrations held at the Center by Polish Cardinals Macharski and Gulbinowicz and American Cardinal Maida on June 9 of 2001. It currently rests on a bed of limestone that is sandblasted with the Center's logo. The logo is a symbol of the Center's mission, and it symbolizes all of the foundational ideas of the Center as a connection to the Bishop of Rome and as a place to challenge and explore one's faith.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops designated the Shrine a national shrine on March 14, 2014.

"You have a facility that offers a unique social and spiritual atmosphere in a top-notch environment. ... your institution has the potential to impact peoples lives and our world in a positive way. We were extremely impressed and inspired by the presentation and effectiveness of your interactive displays."

Plan a Visit Circa 2006

The Saint John Paul II National Shrine welcomes pilgrims who wish to encounter Jesus Christ through the life and teachings of St. John Paul II.
Visitors undertake a spiritual journey with this great saint and leave inspired to continue the New Evangelization he taught was the vocation of every Christian.
Visitors can attend daily Mass and receive the sacraments in the Redemptor Hominis Church and venerate a first-class relic of St. John Paul II in the Luminous Mysteries Chapel


Pope John Paul II Cultural Center
3900 Harewood Road, NE
Washington, DC 20017
Phone: 202-635-5400
Fax: 202-635-5411
E-mail: info@jp2cc.org

Hours of Operation
Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday 12 noon to 5 p.m.
Please call 202-635-5400 for holiday schedule.

Admission to the Cultural Center is by donation.
Suggested Donation: $5 individuals; $15 families; $4 seniors and students

NOTE: According to the current website for the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, the center is:
Open 365 days a year
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily
No admission fee

Group Visits
Group fee: $4 per person
To book a group visit, please fill out the Group Reservation Form (see link above). For additional information about group visits, please e-mail GroupSales@jpcc.org or call 202-635-5475.

The Cultural Center is handicap accessible. Wheelchairs are available and provided free of charge. Please see Admissions Desk staff for assistance.

Light refreshments are available in the Café, including box lunches for $6.50 and soft drinks for $1.00. Visitors are at all times welcome to bring their own food and take advantage of the Café seating area.

Activities for Children
Children 0-5: Build with blocks; create art rubbings of saints, angels and nature; ring the bells; play dress up; and watch Bible stories under a tent.
Children 5-8: ring the bells; discover melody selections from Catholic hymnals; and create an electronic stained-glass window.
Children 8 & up: participate in a scavenger hunt, available at the Admissions Desk.


The Vision

Perhaps the best way to visualize the Center's mission is as a safe haven for those who are journeying on the road to Emmaus. As people come together here, they will, at some point, begin to share their faith. It is through learning about and facing the challenges of faith and also sharing with others along our journey of faith that we come to discover the very presence of God and understand our universal call to holiness as followers of Christ. It is the hope of the Center that it can provide the atmosphere and the resources needed for those who visit to discover their faith or to just reflect on their journey to Emmaus. And although each visitor's stay may be short, the Center invites us to put our faith into action.

It is this vision that makes the Center a place where people can discover the Church's past, participate in its present, and most importantly join in building its Third Millennium.



NEWS 2002-2006

A Dynamic Cultural Center


May 2, 2006
Carmelite Lecture Examines the Many Facets of Mary at Pope John Paul II Cultural Center
WASHINGTON - "Mary and Carmel," a talk by Rev. Emmanuel J. Sullivan, OCD, Ph.D., will examine the many dimensions of Mary as mother, patron, sister, and queen and her presence in the life of members of the Carmelite order at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center on May 13 at 3 p.m.

April 24, 2006
Winners of National Essay Contest Announced
Young Scholars Examine Pope John Paul II's Recipe for Peace

WASHINGTON - Students who explored Pope John Paul II's guidelines for peace earned $23,000 in scholarships in the final round of competition in the national essay contest sponsored by the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center on April 22.

April 19, 2006
Scholarships Announced
CleanItSupply sponsors a merit based scholarship program

Philadelphia - The janitorial supplies distributor has funded a merit based scholarship for Christian Studies in association with the Cultural Center. Applicants may apply during their junior and senior years for awards ranging from $2,500 to $5,000. Awards are announced in July for the following September school year.

First place winner Blaise Blain from Albuquerque received a $10,000 college scholarship for defense of his essay titled "A Christian Response to Terrorism." Second place went to Kelsye Gould from Rapid City, SD, who won a $5,000 scholarship for her essay and discourse "Pope John Paul II: A Pope for Peace." Third place winner Joseph Siddons of San Diego received a $3,000 college scholarship for his essay, "Just Another Day."

April 14, 2006
Pope's Play about Love Comes to Washington: The Jeweler's Shop Opens May 19 at Pope John Paul II Cultural Center
WASHINGTON - Pope John Paul II's acclaimed play about the trials, tribulations and triumphs of love, The Jeweler's Shop, will open at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center on May 19 for a limited engagement.

Newsday called this drama about love and family, "Marvelous. A message for our times." Gannett Newspapers described it as "surprisingly secular" and a "compelling evening of entertainment that touches the audience in unexpected ways."

The three-act play with musical introductions will run Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and on Sundays at 2 p.m. from May 19 through June 18, except for Memorial Day weekend. The Jeweler's Shop was written by Karol Wojtyla in 1960 while he was bishop in Krakow.

February 14, 2006
Spirituality Lectures at Pope John Paul II Cultural Center
WASHINGTON - The second lecture in the Carmelite spirituality lecture series will be presented at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center on February 25 at 3:00 p.m. George Mangiaracina, OCD, S.L.L., will speak about Liturgical Spirituality. The talk bridges spirituality and liturgy with reflections on Vatican II teachings.

The lecture series, A Living Charism: Carmelite Spirituality for a Second Century, is sponsored by the Institute of Carmelite Studies and commemorates 100 years of the Discalced Carmelite Friars in the United States.

March 9, 2005
Nelson Shanks' Papal Portrait Now on View at Pope John Paul II Cultural Center Museums
WASHINGTON - A portrait of Pope John Paul II by famed portrait painter Nelson Shanks is on display at the Museums at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center. The stunning oil on canvas portrait portrays the Pope in St. Peter's Basilica, offering benediction in the area known as the Great Crossing. The portrait, on extended loan, is on view in the Cultural Center's Lower Level. Prior to its display at the Cultural Center, the portrait traveled with the exhibit St. Peter and the Vatican: The Legacy of the Popes to four American cities in 2003-2004. Shanks completed the portrait in October 2002.


July 8, 2004
Papal Tapestry Finds Permanent Home At Pope John Paul II Cultural Center Museums
Washington, DC -A tapestry that was the backdrop for Pope John Paul II as he celebrated Mass in Central Park during his 1995 visit to the United States has finally found a permanent home at the Museums at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center. The Family of Christ tapestry now hangs prominently in the Cultural Center's rotunda. The 55-foot wide, 19-foot high hand-made tapestry depicts families of every nationality placed in the shape of a cross with Christ in the middle, symbolizing the inclusiveness of the Church.


January 13, 2003
Visit Solomon's Temple
New Museum Exhibit Opens at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center

Washington, DC - An exhibit of five detailed models of the temples that were built on the Ancient Temple Mount in Jerusalem opens at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center January 31 and runs through January 11, 2004.

May 1, 2002
Prized Portrait of Popular Saint On View at Pope John Paul II Cultural Center

Washington, DC - A unique, almost life-size, painting of one of the 20th Century's most revered saints now graces a special place at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center. A portrait of St. Therese of Lisieux, affectionately known by Catholics throughout the world as the Little Flower, hangs in the chapel at the Cultural Center. The portrait, painted by her sister Celine Martin (Sister Genevieve), who, like St. Therese, was a nun of the Carmel of Lisieux, is a gift from the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Philadelphia. The extraordinary portrait was considered one of their most prized possessions.



Executive Committee

His Eminence
Adam Cardinal Maida
Archdiocese of Detroit


His Excellency
The Most Reverend
John J. Myers
Archdiocese of Newark

His Excellency
The Most Reverend
Bernard J. Harrington
Diocese of Winona

His Excellency
The Most Reverend
Donald W. Wuerl
Diocese of Pittsburgh

Mr. Michael H. Gorman
Director of Finance
Archdiocese of Detroit