The Saint John Paul II National Shrine, previously named The Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, is a Roman Catholic museum located in Northeast Washington, DC next to Catholic University and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The cultural center offers interactive and multimedia exhibits that explore the Catholic Church and its role in history and society. The facility was renamed in April 2014, when Pope Francis declared John Paul II a saint. The center also displays personal memorabilia, photos, and artwork of the late Holy Father and serves as a research center and education facility promoting Catholic principles and faith.
The Shrine is open from 10:00 am to 5 pm daily. Check the official website for holiday, mass and exhibit hours. Admission to the Saint John Paul II National Shrine is by donation. Suggested Donation: $5 individuals; $15 families; $4 seniors and students
About Saint John Paul II
John Paul II was born Karol Józef Wojtyla on May 18, 1920, in Wadowice, Poland. He served as Pope from 1978 to 2005. He was ordained in 1946, became the bishop of Ombi in 1958, and became the archbishop of Krakow in 1964. He was made a cardinal by Pope Paul VI in 1967, and in 1978 became the first non-Italian pope in more than 400 years. He was a vocal advocate for human rights and used his influence to effect political change. He died in Italy in 2005. He was declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church in April 2014.
A Gift of Love: The Life of St. John Paul II. The exhibit is comprised of nine galleries created by renowned exhibit designers, Gallagher, and Associates, and traces the timeline of St. John Paul II’s life and legacy. Beginning with an introductory film, visitors learn about his birth and young adulthood in Nazi-occupied Poland, his vocation to the priesthood and his ministry as bishop during the Communist period, his election to the papacy in 1978, the major themes and events of his remarkable 26-year pontificate.
The exhibit allows visitors to immerse themselves in the life and teachings of John Paul II, through personal artifacts, texts, images and interactive displays that illustrate the Pope’s historic election, his passion for “Christ, the Redeemer of Man” and his defense of the dignity of the human person.
The Shrine is an initiative of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization with approximately two million members around the world. Faithful to the mission and legacy of the John Paul II Cultural Center, which previously occupied the premises, the Knights began the renovations required to convert the building into its present form: a place of worship seamlessly integrated with a major permanent exhibition and opportunities for cultural and religious formation.
3900 Harewood Road, NE
Closest Metro station is Brookland/CUA