By Bernardino Balabo
A replica of John Paul II’s boyhood home in Wadowice, Poland is becoming a major draw for pilgrims in the run up to the late pope’s beatification ceremony on May 1.
The house in the northern town of Marilao in Bulacan province is situated in the compound of the Parish of the National Shrine of Divine Mercy and was built in 2005 soon after the pope’s death.
Outside is a statue of John Paul. Inside are photographs tracing the life of Karol Wojtyla from his childhood to his death in 2005.
Jaime Corpuz, a local historian, said he feels at peace standing in front of the house. “It feels different. I can sense that it’s sacred,” he said.
“I don’t usually go there, but when I do, I can feel it’s holy,” said Jocelyn Gianan-Clemente, a resident of the town.
The house stands next to a chapel dedicated to Saint Faustina, the nun who started the devotion to the Divine Mercy, which was once prohibited, but later recognized by Pope John Paul II.
Father Vicente Robles, founder of the National Shrine of Divine Mercy, said the house and the chapel are dubbed as their “Little Poland” exhibit.
He said the house was built to promote the life and teachings of the late pope, while the “Little Poland” exhibit as a whole is looking to promote devotion to the Divine Mercy.
Meanwhile, in Bacolod City , Catholic Church officials said they hope to attract Catholics to a new pilgrimage site in honor of Pope John Paul II.
Called the “Pilgrimage for Life with John Paul II”, the site is expected to house 10 shrines, with each one featuring the teachings of the pope, according to Father Felix Pasquin, rector of the San Sebastian Cathedral.