Be a Part of the Blessing
People of all faiths came together in the summer of 2005 and shared in a historic exhibition: “A Blessing to One Another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People.” This first-of-its-kind exhibit, which ran from May 19, 2005 -July 15, 2005 at Xavier University in Cincinnati, included photos, video footage, documents and artifacts recording the extraordinary contributions of Pope John Paul II to relations between the Catholic and Jewish faiths.
In the course of his papacy, John Paul II shattered the chain of 2,000 years of painful history between Catholics and Jews, becoming the first pope ever to enter a synagogue, officially visit and recognize the State of Israel, and formally engage in an act of repentance for the Catholic Church’s historical treatment of Jews.
The exhibit draws its name from the Pope's 1993 appeal marking the 50th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising: “As Christians and Jews, following the example of the faith of Abraham, we are called to be a blessing to the world. This is the common task awaiting us. It is therefore necessary for us, Christians and Jews, to first be a blessing to one another.”
After its inaugural run in Cincinnati the exhibit moved to the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., (now The Saint John Paul II National Shrine) where it was on display until 2006. From there it moved to the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City. It has since toured the United States for almost 9 years exhibiting 18 venues equally divided between Catholic and Jewish institutions. The exhibit has been visited by more than a million people. In July of 2015 the exhibit opened to world-wide recognition at the Vatican Museum. At the closing ceremony at the Vatican the exhibit was presented as a gift to the Saint John Paul II Center and Sanctuary in Krakow, Poland. It will become part of the permanent exhibition at the new Saint John Paul II Museum.
Many institutions, groups, museums and individuals have contributed to the success of the Blessing exhibit. Particular gratitude is due those institutions who have supported us from the beginning and as we now move to the Vatican and Europe:
Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH
The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati
The Saint John Paul II National Shrine, Washington, DC
Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia, PA
The Exhibit was created and managed by:
Dr. James Buchanan
Rabbi Abie Ingber
Dr. William Madges