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DZIWISZ Jun-26-2008 (420 words) With photos posted June 25. xxxn

Cardinals celebrate Marian spirituality of Pope John Paul II

By Geoffrey A. Brooke Jr.
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Polish Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, one of the men who knew Pope John Paul II the best, celebrated Mass in Washington June 25 in honor of the late pope's Marian spirituality.

Cardinal Dziwisz served as personal secretary to Pope John Paul for nearly 40 years. Joining him in concelebrating the Mass at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center were Cardinals Adam J. Maida of Detroit and Theodore E. McCarrick, the retired archbishop of Washington.

"We know the achievements which were made during the pontificate of John Paul, who totally entrusted himself to Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, our Mother," said Cardinal Dziwisz, who gave the homily in his native Polish. An English-language text of his homily was released at the Mass.

Cardinal Maida read the English translation, alternating with Cardinal Dziwisz speaking in Polish.

There was a strong presence of Polish-Americans at the Mass. At the end of the liturgy, three children in traditional Polish attire presented the cardinals with flowers. The total attendance for the Mass, which was open to the public, was around 250 people.

"The history of Polish immigrants in America is filled with many touching pages, characterized by obstacles, strenuous work, the industriousness of our countrymen and their descendents," said Cardinal Dziwisz.

Addressing the congregation before the Mass began, Cardinal Maida, the founder and president of the Pope John II Cultural Center and himself a Polish-American, described the late pope as "a pastor throughout the world."

Cardinal Dziwisz commended Pope John Paul for his role in defeating the oppressive system of communism. He said it was symbolic that the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center is located in the capital of the U.S.

In speaking of the center, Cardinal Dziwisz said it "desires to bring the contemporary man closer to the truth and to open his heart to the world of virtue, so ardently proclaimed by God's servant, John Paul II."

The cardinal also noted the meeting Pope Benedict XVI held with interreligious leaders at the center during his recent apostolic journey to the U.S. The pope met with about 200 representatives of Islam, Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism April 17.

Before and after the Mass, there were several events at the cultural center, including a rosary in the morning, a forum in the afternoon and Benediction in the evening. They all focused on the day's theme of the Marian spirituality of Pope John Paul.


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