Shopping at Gateway Mall, Araneta Center this week until the 24th of April, might be a bit crowded around the Oasis area. Totus Tuus group has set up a 50-piece exhibit of Blessed John Paul II’s relics and memorabilia there where people are milling around on foot or in wheelchairs.
Inquirer newspaper was there and talked to some of the faithful praying and writing notes to the late pope who is scheduled to be canonized in Rome with Blessed John XXIII on April 27.
One of them, Christina Bisana, 28, stopped in after seeing the relics displayed in the middle of a bustling shopping mall in Quezon City on Thursday.
The single mother was just passing by Gateway Mall at Araneta Center on her way to Makati City on an errand when she saw the exhibit, part of the two-month “Totus Tuus” tour of the relics in the Philippines.
Here’s what Bisana prayed for at the prayer corner.
The exhibit caught my attention too. It included Pope John Paul II’s blood stain and hair strands
a cassock, a purificator, a piece of a chasuble that he used, a rosary and a strip of the sheet from his deathbed.
Some of the relics came from Rome and some from Poland. The others were borrowed from the personal collections of nuns, priests and lay people who met the Polish-born Pope during his two visits to the Philippines.
Blessed John Paul is fondly remembered for his last visit to Manila for World Youth Day in 1995. I was most impressed by his visit to Bacolod City on Negros island in 1981. It was during massive hunger on the island where thousands of the children grew severely malnourished allegedly due to the drop in the world price of sugar, the islands main product. Non-government groups working with farmers and sugar plantations workers blamed “unjust” socio-economic systems.
Here is, for me, a powerful memorabilia of Pope John Paul II’s visit to Bacolod City on Negros Island which the late Bacolod Bishop Antonio Fortich described then as a “social volcano” .
Blessed John Paul II’s visits to the Philippines were commemorated at the exhibit of his memorabilia at Gateway Mall Araneta Center, Quezon City. The exhibit set up there until April 24 included chairs and items used during his visits. NJ Viehland Photos
A statement last September announced that Pope Francis had decreed that the two popes would be canonized together on April 27. Among groups that hailed the decision to canonize the two heads of the Church was the Anti-Defamation League which wrote the following month: “For us in the Jewish community, Popes John Paul II and John XXIII have already been saints for a long time.”
League National Director Abraham Foxman was quoted calling the popes “towering men whose visionary leadership and groundbreaking reforms transformed Jewish-Catholic relations and reversed two thousand painful years of church-based Antisemitism,” said Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman, who met Pope John Paul II on several occasions, in a statement.