Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Papal Visit a Boon to the Struggling John Paul II Cultural Center

Pope Benedict XVI's visit will be a much-needed boon for the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center - Greg Trotter (Medill Reports, March 19, 2008):

The pope has scheduled a conference of about 200 religious leaders – of the Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist and Jain communities -- in the rotunda of the center in Washington on April 17. The leaders and youth representatives on hand will hear a papal address on world peace, provide greetings of their own and present symbolic gifts to the pope.

The pope’s visit will also help the center reinvent itself.

“We’ve shifted our focus from destination museum to place for interreligious dialogue,” said Hugh Dempsey, deputy director of the John Paul II Cultural Center, “and we look at the Holy Father’s visit as a confirmation of that shift.”

Conceived by Detroit’s Archbishop, Adam Cardinal Maida, the center first opened its doors in 2001 as a think tank, research center and religious art museum. It also features technologically interactive exhibits, a Polish history exhibit and a room containing unique artifacts belonging to John Paul II, such as his snow skis and running shoes.

Abundant with exhibits, and critically-acclaimed architecture, the museum seemed to have everything but visitors. . . . More