Hello again from Krakow! The MacDonald family has safely returned home to (as our 3-year old daughter calls it) “John Paul II’s house!”. The US Tour was amazing: thank you for being a part of that. We’ll be rolling out some of the big developments for 2019 that have sprung from that incredible journey. Stay tuned! This year is going to be momentous!
We have a BIG goal to start off the year: finally purchasing a van for our programs! We absolutely need your help, especially since we want to raise all the funds in less than 2 weeks, before our Spring Study Abroad group arrives!
Until now, we’ve been managing with Krakow’s public transportation. But as our programs grow and we hit all seasons, it is time to professionalize our operations here. The van will serve to cover basic needs of running errands, from groceries to laundry, to transporting our participants to and from the airport, and securing the safety measure of having our own wheels for when we need them most.
What are the dream wheels? A 9-passenger All-Wheel-Drive van. This will provide safe and efficient transportation for all our program’s operations, no matter what the weather.
Yes, the young Karol Wojtyla walked to work at night in the winter in wooden clogs; he didn’t have an AWD van! But he also lost his entire family, was hit by a nazi truck and suffered multiple assassination attempts, including being stabbed and shot. No need for literal imitation of the saints in every situation :)
To help us purchase this clutch van for our programs here in Krakow, we are asking for matching gift donors. If you would like to talk about this, please reach out to me at +1 407 906 0073, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the biggest fundraising campaign we are launching, and it is just one of our many needs this year (which include salaries for staff, travel for chaplains, and student sponsorships).
We want to thank all of you for your financial support, all your many prayers and your hospitality during 2018. We are so excited to have such a wonderful family of supporters to accompany us into 2019 as we accomplish this great work our Lord has set before us, together!
You and your families are in our prayers!
Co-Founder and VP Operations
The John Paul II Project
In addition to our prayers, we thought there is nothing better to share with you this Christmas than a glimpse into the fruits of the JP2 Project. Macie, a senior at Benedictine College who is studying (and living) the New Evangelization, studied abroad with us last summer. She will be one of the young adult mentors for our 2019 high school pilgrimage and one of the 4 students representing the JP2 Project at SEEK. Macie wrote this testimony just a few days before she left Krakow, and could say a lot more now after digesting and living the fruits of her experience.
“When being called to Poland I did not know what the Lord was calling me to. I had never been out of the country, let alone I had never flown on a plane. I was scared, I was not capable, I was not ready, but the Lord called me and I answered yes. Maybe it was the first words given by JPII as Pope, “Be Not Afraid.”
My time in Poland has been blessed beyond belief. I hardly have words to describe my experience. I have met many saints here, little ones, the biggest of ones, and ones in the making. I have rediscovered beauty here in Poland. In the churches, beauty. In the people, beauty. In the nature, beauty. And in the Eucharist, beauty. What brought me to Poland the most was the family. JPII once said, the way the family goes, so does all the world go. In the world today the family is under attack. I feel charged to pray for and strengthen the family. I have discovered beauty in the family in Poland.
I have learned to pray while in Poland, have experienced so many spiritual graces, I have truly been transformed in my entire person...JPII said that friendship is one of the most important things in life. On this trip I have discovered this is true. I have met many new friends on this trip that have given me a better understanding on friendship and on life in general.
The day that I leave Poland will be one of the hardest days of my life. That is because this is where I have found God...I know that I must leave Poland, so that I may bring its flame and joy back to the U.S. I know that I must leave Poland so that I may one day come back to this beautiful place I am honored to call my home.
Thank you for helping me, on this my journey to discover beauty. Thank you for being not afraid to be an instrument that was able to play to allow me to experience Poland and God’s mercy.”
The US Tour certainly became more of an apostolic mission than we could have hoped for.
OUR HEARTS ARE OVERFLOWING WITH GRATITUDE THIS THANKSGIVING! THANK YOU:
In these past weeks of celebrating the 40th anniversary of our patron’s election of the papacy, his feast day on October 22, and the 100 year anniversary of Poland’s anniversary, God certainly let his grace pour forth upon all those involved in the JP2 Project.
We can’t wait to see what else he has in store!
THANK YOU AGAIN and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
-Corinne MacDonald, President
Everyone asks me, “how is the tour going? How is it traveling for so long with 2 small children?” My honest answer is, “it’s crazy!” But when you’ve got nothing, things are nuts, and your limitations are a bit too apparent, then God’s manifestations become quite apparent. In honor of today's Feast of St. Faustina, Secretary of God's Mercy, we thought it fitting to share two stories of how God has shown his merciful love through this US Tour.
An Answer to Prayer
In New Hampshire, this young husband and father of a sweet little toddler was recently diagnosed with a grave heart condition. Reading in Scripture about how the people traveled miles simply to touch Our Lord’s garment to be healed, that night he makes this prayer: “Jesus, if I can only somehow touch a piece of your cloth”. The next morning we show up at his parish with some flyers about the Project, and the relic. At this particular Mass, Joe was asked to make an announcement, where he invited people to venerate the relic, which he explained was a drop of John Paul II’s blood on a piece of cloth (not a detail we normally highlight in a one-minute announcement). The man in the pew with the heart condition is pierced by these words as an answer to his plea the previous night. All four of us (he, his wife, Joe and I) remain blown away by how the Lord answers those who call upon him and guides us with his loving Providence.
Our Favorite Problem
The event at Franciscan University of Steubenville was scheduled to begin at 6pm and end at 7:30 pm. When students started trickling in at 5:40PM, in anticipation of veneration of the relic, it was clear this night may be different from the rest. The students did a beautiful job setting up the altar where the relic was to be placed, draping it with beautiful materials and decorating it with fresh flowers. Hundreds of students came in to venerate the relic of St. John Paul II that evening, to have a private conversation with their beloved saint about the intimate concerns of their vocation (our main goal in bringing the relic on tour).
Just when it seemed to die down, more groups kept arriving from their previous commitments, like the soccer and rugby teams after practice. The line was out the door and wrapping around in the chapel for a while. The few not-so-young among the crowd were getting nervous that they may never see the relic, but the young people were willing to wait. Reminds us of the crowds pressing in on Jesus, like the Scripture passage read by our New Hampshire friend in the aforementioned story. When 7:30pm hit, the Residence Director on staff who invited us didn’t want to leave the hungry souls without a chance to pray with their saint. She stayed with the relic in her residence hall until the last person venerated it around 8:45 PM, over an hour past the official end time.
To say I’m grateful for these encounters is an understatement. Both of these events, at the parish and at the university, were last minute additions on the tour.
Both show that people are hungry for the Lord, and the JP2 Project, in all it’s littleness at this point, is showing itself to be a means to satiate the hunger for the Lord.
Jesus, I trust in You!
C0-Founder | President
We’ve had countless encounters on this US Tour with those who share the mission in their hearts, but perhaps haven’t made the jump to be a part of it. There are many ways to contribute, but I’ll highlight 5 simple but impactful contributions. If you think "this is awesome", pick at least one! Your participation is absolutely needed to make this mission a reality.
October 16th will mark 40 years since the election of Pope John Paul II. I’m not sure how much JP2 fans around the world see this as cause to celebrate. I do know that here in Krakow, plans are underway to honor, relive, and commemorate that pivotal point in history when the Polish cardinal accepted the call to shepherd a global flock.
If you keep a pulse on the Project, you may be wondering where we’ve gone. Answer: to the John Paul II Center - our new family residence and the home to all program participants
Easter springtime is already beginning to dawn for us in the JP2 Project as our [sometimes grueling] behind-the-scenes preparations are permeated with a new light. With our first group of students solidified for the summer study abroad program, work just became a bit more exciting.