Exhibits

Vocations Café

The National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC), VISION Vocation Guide, and VocationNetwork.org is sponsoring the Vocations Café, an inviting, relaxed, and comfortable environment where pilgrims can meet and speak one on one with priests, brothers, and sisters about their faith, vocation discernment, hope for the future, joys, sorrows, or whatever is on their heart. Using Pope Francis’ concept of building a “culture of encounter” within our Church, the Vocations Café is intended to assist pilgrims in their prayerful discernment of their life choices and decisions by introducing them to men and women religious from various congregations and charisms who have integrated discernment as part of their vowed life.

Exhibits

Divine Mercy

Sister Faustina Kowalska of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy is one of the Church’s most popular saints widely known for her mystical experiences with Jesus, during which he revealed to her that she should spread devotion to the attribute of His Divine Mercy. He commissioned her to write down her private revelations in a Diary know today as the Diary of St. Faustina Kowalska – Divine Mercy in my Soul, and have an image painted of Himself with the words "Jesus I Trust in You" inscribed upon it. Devotion to Divine Mercy spread during World War II-era Poland and has since continued to demonstrate the compelling response of faith in the face of evil. On April 30, 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized Saint Faustina Kowalska ‘the great Apostle of Divine Mercy’ and declared the Second Sunday of Easter as "Divine Mercy Sunday" for the universal Church. During his homily, he called Saint Faustina "God's gift to our time” who made the message of Divine Mercy the "bridge to the third millennium." 

Highlighting the teachings of St. Faustina's Diary, the holiness of her own life of prayer and mortification and the new forms of worship revealed to her, the Divine Mercy exhibit underlines the importance of trusting in Jesus' endless mercy, and living life mercifully toward others.

Exhibit produced by: The Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy

Auschwitz

All over the world, the Former Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp in Auschwitz has become a symbol of terror, genocide, and the Holocaust. Records hold that 1.1 million prisoners died at Auschwitz, a camp that was initially constructed to hold the Polish political prisoners that overcrowded local prisons. The first extermination of prisoners took place in September 1941. By 1942, Auschwitz became the largest of all the extermination camps established under Nazi rule as the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question”. From early 1942 until late 1944, transport trains delivered prisoners to the camp's gas chambers from all over German-occupied Europe. Prisoners who were not killed in the gas chambers died of starvation, forced labor, infectious diseases, individual executions, and medical experiments. From the creation of the camp to its expansion and liberation, the exhibit walks pilgrims through the devastating effects of the Second World War on the Polish nation, describing life in the concentration camp, prisoner punishments and executions and the evacuations marches of 1945.

Exhibit produced by: Miejsce Pamieci i Muzeum Auschwitz Birkenau. Byly Niemiecki Nazistowski Oboz Koncentracyjny i Zaglady (Memorial and Museum Auschwitz Birkenau, Former German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp)

In Solidarity Towards Freedom

A presentation of Poland’s road to freedom during the era of Communist rule, this exhibit begins with the founding of the Solidarity movement, dating back to the dramatic strikes led by the shipyard workers of Gdańsk in 1980. A collection of archival photos illustrate the effects of Martial Law in Poland, the impact of the workers’ strikes and public demonstrations, and the role of John Paul II in providing the spiritual foundations for the Solidarity Movement’s pursuit of freedom. A key feature of the exhibit is a thorough explanation of the 1989 Round Table Talks, which were instrumental in ending Communist rule in Poland.

Exhibit produced by: The European Solidarity Centre

The Pope of Freedom

Throughout his life, Pope John Paul II experienced a full range of threats to human dignity and religious freedom. He lived under both Nazi totalitarianism and Soviet atheistic ideology. These experiences helped mold his ironclad convictions on the moral foundations of freedom, and the need for society to uphold dignity of the human person. As Archbishop of Krakow, and later as Pope, John Paul fearlessly proclaimed the truth about man fully revealed in Christ. He would play a crucial role in liberating Poland from decades of repressive communist rule, and help inspire the collapse the Iron Curtain in the Revolution of ’89. In calling Western democracies to be faithful to that truth upon which all human freedom depends, John Paul set forth an inspiring vision for Democracies to strive for in the third millennium. The Pope of Freedom exhibit outlines John Paul II’s key role in the promotion of the international cause for human rights and freedoms, highlighting his epic pilgrimages to Poland where he spoke about “the rights of man” and “moral solidarity,” his diplomatic engagements with the Communist governments, his words on the importance of both exterior and interior freedom at World Youth Day in Częstochowa (1991) and his famous crossing of the Brandeburg Gate where he made an appeal for freedom and unity throughout all of Europe.

Exhibit produced by: Centrum Myśli Jana Pawła II (The Center for Thought of John Paul II)

Diocesan Priesthood

God calls ordinary men to a life of holiness as parish priests. Through prayer and trust, the priest can do extraordinary things for the Lord. The Diocesan Priest exhibit focuses on three remarkable diocesan priests: Fr. Michael McGivney, Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko, and Saint John Paul II. The witness of their priestly ministry serves as a model for the simple and sincere gift of self.  Through the power of photography and the written word, the exhibit invites pilgrims to ask themselves ‘Could God be calling me?’ Priests and seminarians from several English-speaking countries will be on site to interact with pilgrims.

"I am often asked, especially by young people, why I became a priest […] At a certain point in my life, I became convinced that Christ was saying to me what he had said to thousands before me: 'Come, follow me!'  There was a clear sense that what I heard in my heart was no human voice, nor was it just an idea of my own.  Christ was calling me to serve him as a priest. -- John Paull II, September 14, 1987

Exhibit produced by: The National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors on behalf of DiocesanPriest.com

Store

Pilgrims will have the opportunity to purchase official WYD merchandise at the Mercy Centre store located on Level 0. The Dominican Liturgical Center Foundation shop will also be selling their products at the store which will include items specially prepared for the Celebration of the 800th Jubilee year of the Dominican Order, as well as devotional items and vestments for priests. George Weigel's City of Saints, a journey across the historic city of Krakow through the extraordinary life of St. John Paul II, will also be available for purchase at the Mercy Centre store.