Relics of Saint John Paul II coming to Merchantville


A priest who frequently shared meals and conversation with Saint John Paul II will share stories of the celebrated pontiff at Saint Peter’s Church in Merchantville for three nights, from Feb. 20-22.

Father Bronislaw Jakubiec, SDS is the guest speaker for the parish’s annual Saint Peter Triduum.

The parish event is held around the feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, Apostle (Feb. 22), which reflects on the call and mission passed down by Christ to Peter, and continued in unbroken succession to, today, Pope Francis.

A member of the Society of the Divine Savior, Father Bronislaw worked at the Vatican during John Paul II’s papacy and often concelebrated Mass with the pope in his private chapel, along with eating at his table and engaging in personal meetings.

Residing today at the Salvatorian Monastery at the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Merrillville, Indiana, he will travel to South Jersey with relics of the saint that he inherited from Father Tadeusz Styczen, a good friend of John Paul II’s.

A first class relic (lock of hair), second class relics (a piece of his cassock, and his skullcap), and others will be available for veneration during the triduum.

In addition, a chair used by Pope Francis during his 2015 visit to Philadelphia and a zucchetto worn by Blessed Pius IX will be showcased in the church.

The three days will “remind us of the gift of the papacy that is ours as Catholics. Through it we are brought to unity and solidarity,” said Father Timothy Byerley, parish pastor.

“Everyone’s invited to hear (Father Bronislaw’s) amazing stories, and venerate this recently-canonized saint of our times,” he continued.

On Monday, Feb. 20 and Tuesday, Feb. 21, there will be veneration of relics from 3-6 p.m., followed by, beginning at 7 p.m., Exposition, a presentation by Father Bronislaw, and Benediction.

On Wednesday, Feb. 22, faithful can venerate the relics from 3-6 p.m. At 7 p.m., a solemn Mass will be celebrated, with a homily by Father Bronislaw.

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