Blessed John Paul II Shrine
|Blessed John Paul II Shrine|
|Location||3900 Harewood Road NE
D.C. 20017 - 4471
|Public transit access||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. 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.
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.". 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.
- "Overview of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Foundation". John Paul II Cultural Foundation. Retrieved 19 Aug 2011.
- CNS STORY: Pope meets interreligious leaders, says dialogue discovers truth
- "Knights of Columbus to Buy JPII Cultural Center in Washington, DC". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 3 Aug 2011.
- Pope John Paul II Cultural Center
- "Knights of Columbus to purchase Pope John Paul II center" National Catholic Reporter (August 3, 2011)
- "Knights of Columbus to Take Over JPII Center in Washington" National Catholic Register (August 14, 2011)
- "D.C. Papal Museum Struggles For Financial Foothold, Focus: 5-Year-Old Catholic Center Facing Debt, Low Attendance" Washington Post (February 12, 2006)
- "Papal center’s spiral costly" Detroit Free Press (March 16, 2006)
- "Papal center problems" Detroit Free Press (March 16, 2006)
- "Of Business Practices and accountability" National Catholic Reporter (March 3, 2006)
- "How can Maida salvage his $75 million gamble?" Detroit Free Press (February 25, 2006)
- "DC Catholic center falling shy of vision" Chicago Tribune (February 20, 2006)
- "Detroit archdiocese investment goes sour" Detroit News (February 19, 2006)
- "Maida says JPII Center received $40 million from Detroit" National Catholic Reporter (February 17, 2006)
- "Maida letter details DC site debt" Detroit Free Press (February 4, 2006)
- "Financially strapped Archdiocese subsidizes troubled Center" National Catholic Reporter (February 10, 2006)