Knights purchase Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington

This afternoon in Denver Supreme Knight Carl Anderson announced that the Knights of Columbus will purchase the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington. The announcement came during the business session of the Knights 129th annual convention, being held Aug. 2-4 in the Mile High City.

Anderson, delivering his annual report, said over the next year the fraternal organization will build a shrine to Blessed John Paul and put up related exhibits on the property. “True to Pope John Paul II’s vision, and using the story of his life as inspiration, the shrine will be an opportunity to evangelize and spread the good news of the Gospel through a new evangelization,” he said.

(CNS photo by Nancy Wiechec)

The center sits on on 12 acres near The Catholic University of America, the center cost $75 million to build and the property has been valued at $37.7 million. The selling price had not been disclosed.

The complex, which went up for sale sometime last year, has been overseen by a foundation chaired by Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington.

The center, which opened in 2001 with financial backing from the Detroit
Archdiocese, has experienced financial difficulties throughout its history as it
never attracted the number of visitors it expected. In 2006, because of low
attendance rates, it discontinued museum activities and focused on being a place  of research on the pontiff.

The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist signed an agreement with the Archdiocese of Detroit last August to buy the facility as a house of studies for its members, but the order said in March it decided not to go through with the purchase after determining it would cost too much to remodel the space to meet its needs.

In May the center was opened for a celebration of Pope John Paul II’s beatification.

Vatican liturgist ready for World Youth Day; missal published

VATICAN CITY — Msgr. Guido Marini, the master of papal liturgies, is ready for World Youth Day.

The chief Vatican liturgist has posted on the Vatican website the multilingual missal of prayers Pope Benedict XVI will use Aug. 18-21 in Madrid.

The missal includes descriptions — in Spanish and Italian — of each event and the texts of the prayers to be used at events like the welcoming ceremony and the meeting with the disabled, as well as at the Masses.

The introduction to the missal says, “Young people from every part of the earth, from every ethnic group and culture, will arrive in Madrid because they want to remain solid in the faith, rooted and grounded in Christ.”

Spanish sculpture that will be part of the WYD Way of the Cross service (CNS/WYD Madrid)

The theme, “Planted and Built Up in Jesus Christ, Firm in the Faith,” uses “metaphors of the root and of construction to show the depths of union with the Lord, the strength of the bond and the key to its vitality. To be rooted signifies belonging; one who is rooted maintains strong bonds with his or her origins,” the presentation said.

The missal includes the prayers the pope will say at the beginning and end of the Way of the Cross service Aug. 19, but does not include the text of the meditations that were written by Spanish Sisters of the Cross. The description says that in remembering Christ’s suffering, the meditations will remind people of “the suffering and pain that many young people in different parts of the world experience because of war, fratricidal conflicts, persecution because of their faith, marginalization and drug addiction. In addition, the victims of abortion, terrorism and natural catastrophes will be remembered.”

The book also describes the “Celebration of Forgiveness” being held in Madrid’s Retiro Park. It says 200 confessionals will be set up in the park beginning Sunday, Aug. 14, and priests from around the world will hear confessions in dozens of languages. The pope will hear the confessions of a small group of pilgrims Aug. 20.