In the Footsteps of John Paul II
Almost wherever you turn in Kraków, mementos of Pope John Paul II can be found. Beginning with the course in Polish Studies that the young Karol Wojtyła began in 1938, through the turmoil of the war, to the time of his later pastoral duties, Kraków was his home.
We can divide the visit into three days. On the first day we stay in the centre of Kraków, visiting among others the Palace of Kraków Bishops, the Cathedral (in whose vaults Father Wojtyła sang his first mass), the Archdiocesan Museum with its lavish collection of mementos of the Metropolitan Bishop of Kraków, and St Florian’s and St Mary’s – the churches the future Pope served in. The day will finish with a walk on Błonia Common, where the so-called Papal Stone commemorates the congregations counted in hundreds of thousands that gathered here for the services celebrated by John Paul II.
The second day of the visit will take us somewhat further: to the Ark of the Lord Church in Bieńczyce, the first house of worship built in the new communist town of Nowa Huta thanks to the support of Bishop Wojtyła, to the sanctuaries of Łagiewniki: of the Divine Mercy and of St John Paul II (whose relics are treasured within), and to the favourite leisure area in Zakrzówek, today a partially inundated stone quarry, where young Karol worked during the Nazi occupation.
We will close the tour in the footsteps of John Paul II on the third day with an excursion (by bus, train, or car) to Wadowice near Kraków and a visit to the museum in the family home of Karol Wojtyła.