Blessed John Paul II Shrine

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Blessed John Paul II Shrine
Blessed John Paul II Shrine is located in District of Columbia
Blessed John Paul II Shrine
Location within Washington, D.C.
Established 2001
Location 3900 Harewood Road NE
D.C. 20017 - 4471
Coordinates 38°56′16″N 77°00′17″W / 38.9377°N 77.0047°W / 38.9377; -77.0047
Type Religious shrine
Public transit access WMATA Metro Logo.svg      Brookland–CUA

The Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, known today as the Blessed John Paul II Shrine, was established to house a Roman Catholic museum and think tank in Washington, D.C. The concept for the center began at a meeting between Pope John Paul II and then-Bishop Adam Maida in 1988. The 130,000-square-foot (12,000 m2) building is set on 12 acres (4.9 ha) adjacent to The Catholic University of America and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The center was opened to the public in a ceremony in March 2001, attended by President George W. Bush, several cardinals, members of Congress and other dignitaries.

The Center's original purpose was to explore the intersection of faith and culture through interactive displays, academic discussion and research, and museum exhibits. The academic discussions and special events reportedly have been successful.[1] However, the center could not overcome optimistic attendance and financial projections that were based upon anticipated paid admissions. The new center was affected by a downturn in visitors following the 9/11 attack in the Washington, DC region just six months after opening and then an economic recession. The building eventually was open by appointment only and put up for sale.

Pope Benedict XVI met with about 200 representatives of Islam, Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center on April 17, 2008.[2]

Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, announced on August 2, 2011 plans to purchase the Cultural Center. The intent is to "create a shrine and museum honoring the life of Blessed Pope John Paul II.".[3] The news was welcomed by Rev. Steven Boguslawski, O.P., executive director of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Foundation, which owns the building. He said the purchase would "bring a new vibrancy" to the building and that the papal memorabilia owned by the Foundation would continue to be displayed in an expanded exhibit managed by the new owner.[1]


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Coordinates: 38°56′16″N 77°00′17″W / 38.9377°N 77.0047°W / 38.9377; -77.0047