October 16th will mark 40 years since the election of Pope John Paul II. I’m not sure how much JP2 fans around the world see this as cause to celebrate. I do know that here in Krakow, plans are underway to honor, relive, and commemorate that pivotal point in history when the Polish cardinal accepted the call to shepherd a global flock.

The hand of God was tangible, already in 1978, when the keys of Peter were passed on to a communist bloc bishop. But those of us who have been affected (in fact transformed) by the fruits of John Paul II’s papacy, can and should testify, with our lives, to that powerful movement of the Holy Spirit.

I’m one of the babies of the JP2 Generation. As I shared in a previous post, my first World Youth Day as a teen was John Paul II’s last World Youth Day. Now what about those who aren’t in the JP2 Generation?

Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely fell in love with Benedict XVI during my years living in Rome, as I listened to countless homilies and addresses, and immersed myself in his writings. I cherish the fact I got to personally witness the election of Francis, and already taste the freshness of the Gospel he was bringing to the Church in those first years of his pontificate.

But we are the John Paul II Project for a reason. This great saint, recognized as such by both successive Popes (his beatification through Benedict, and his canonization through Francis), created a legacy too great to be stuck in his time. John Paul II’s heritage must be carried on by the future generations. 

His personal secretary for 39 years, Stanislaw Cardinal Dziwisz, emphasizes this point in our new promo video, with his invitation to the young people of America. (Watch the short video here!)

That’s why our family is flying from Krakow to the other side of the pond tomorrow: to spread the mission of the Project, created to continue building the civilization of love and truth through young people, following JP2’s example and exhortation! Our tour begins in Orlando, FL, on the feast of Our Lady of Częstochowa, and stretches beyond JP2’s feast day, October 22.

We have the joy of bringing with us a FIRST CLASS RELIC of our patron! On the tour, there will be holy hours, with veneration of the relic, as an occasion to inspire and strengthen young people to generous vocations of all sorts in the Church. (Spoiler Alert: Holy Cross Parish of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis will receive this relic as a gift on JP2’s feast day!) Thank you, Cardinal Dziwisz, for your support and trust in this mission.

We need help to organize, fund, and logistically make the tour possible. See the map and needs on our site. If you want us to come to an institution within your network – university, young adult group, parish, school, family and friend community – let us know! Plans are still underway, and we are open to go where the Spirit calls!

It would be great to see old friends and meet new ones who feel passionate about the mission. Don’t let us miss you if you are on the route! We’ll be hard to miss: two toddler girls being chased by parents wearing [somewhat] matching JP2 Project shirts, living out of a backpack for 2 months. Yep, should be an adventure!

Corinne MacDonald,

President at the John Paul II Project