Pope John Paul II takes a traditional rickshaw ride during his visit to Bangladesh in November 1986.
St. John Paul II, the longest-reigning pope in modern history, was born on May 18, 1920, and the national shrine in Washington dedicated to the pontiff is celebrating the centennial of his birth with a series of virtual events from May 16-22.
The St. John Paul II National Shrine had originally planned several in-person events, including an academic-style symposium, but adjusted its celebration to an exclusively virtual format because of the Covid-19 impact.
One of the highlights is the pontiff's biographer George Weigel leading an installment of the Shrine Webinar Series titled "Centennial Celebration of St. John Paul II's Birth."
A centennial Mass will be celebrated on May 18 with a homily focused on St. John Paul. The same day there will be a Divine Mercy chaplet and reflection with the praying of the Rosary. The event is co-sponsored by the Knights of Columbus Supreme Office.
The "Gospel Gladness" video series launched on May 16 focused on helping families bring the joy of the Gospel into their homes.
On May 17, a video was uploaded to the shrine's YouTube channel as part of the "Art of Prayer" series that explores how Mary was woven into St. John Paul II life; this supplements existing videos in the series.
On May 21, an installment of the "Gospel of Life" webinar series will be held with the theme of accompanying disabled persons, in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the pope's encyclical Evangelium Vitae.
May 22 will see a virtual offering of the "Evenings With the Merciful Jesus" spiritual program led by the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy who actively minister at the shrine.