The Featured Image is the base of the newly erected stained-glass window of St. John Paul II in the Church of St. James, Duluth, Minnesota.
A Message to Father Richard Kunst & His Parish
Papal Artifact shares the joy of Father Kunst and his parish for the stunning renovation of St. James. The aesthetic transformation of all the work undertaken is evident everywhere.
In particularly, on the altar, 3/4 of the saints featured are ones the pastor holds close to his heart. He has had personal contact with two of them–and in the case of Pope St. John Paul the Great, seven encounters—and with the daughter of a third (Dr. Gianna Molla, daughter of the saint). Two letters from St. Mother Teresa are also part of this Collection–the result of corresponce between Fr. Kunst which resulted in answers to him from her.
Congratulations, Father Kunst and your people. On the feast of Pope St. John Paul II we wanted to acknowledge this tremendous & successful undertaking.
(In the images featured below the statue of Pope John Paul II & its base are from the Church of St. John the Evangelist in Duluth, the result of Father Kunst’s devotion to John Paul, his favorite saint.)
The “Few Minutes with the Popes” Series: A Vial of the Blood of Pope St. John Paul II
Here is a link to the Media feature of Papal Artifacts where several more “Minutes” related to St. John Paul and others may be found.
The Pastor’s Message to His Parishioners Regarding the New Windows
Fr. Richard Kunst
This is the part of the project I have been most anticipating, not only because we are restoring St. James as it was built with windows in the sanctuary, but also because at least three of the four windows are personal to me.
Pope John Paul the Great of course is my favorite saint, but I purposefully had him portrayed the way you see the window because the vestment he is wearing is what he wore for the closing Mass of World Youth Day in Denver 1993. Our former bishop, Bp. Schnurr was the executive director of the 1993 World Youth Day, and as a gift of appreciation for his work, John Paul II gave him the vestment after the Mass. Fast forward to 2004, Bp. Schnurr gifted the vestment to me and my collection of papal memorabilia, so the vestment you see the pope wearing in the window, I now own. (There is a whole back story about my getting this vestment which I may share at a later time).
Mother Teresa of course is a beloved saint to all people of all faiths. In 1995 I quit the seminary to seek a career in politics, so I wrote Mother Teresa asking for her prayers and guidance as I discerned my vocation in life. Amazingly Mother Teresa took time out of her busy schedule to respond to me. Her letter, typed with a manual typewriter on both sides of a half sheet of paper was very impactful on me, so I lifted one line from this personal letter and made that as the quote under her image.
St. Gianna Molla was not my first choice, nor even my second choice for the window, but she was the right choice. St. Gianna was a young medical doctor in Italy when she was diagnosed with cancer, she was advised by her doctors to abort her unborn baby so that she could have aggressive treatment to save her life. She adamantly told her doctors No. She said the baby’s life was as important as hers, and that if one life was to be saved it was her unborn baby’s life. St. Gianna died a week after giving birth to a daughter who shares her name. Because of this St. Gianna Molla has become the patron saint of the pro-life movement, and the baby she gave her life for also grew up to be a medical doctor like her mother. The younger Gianna Molla happens to be a friend of mine! She has been to Duluth to visit me and speak at my last parish and we keep regular contact with one another; I have already sent her a picture of the window portraying her “saint mom” as she likes to call her.
Finally St. James the Less needed to be portrayed in our sanctuary because he is our patron. So as you are enjoying the windows, as I write this, I can’t wait to see them.
St. John Paul II
St. Mother Teresa
St. Gianna Molla
St. James the Less
Pray for us!
Please visit Papal Artifacts/John Paul II to view the many items and stories connected to him. Here is a link:
A Reliquary Containing the Blood of Pope St. John Paul II
In May of 1981 papal travel protocol was changed with the assassination attempt of Pope John Paul II. Because of the Pope’s rare blood type there was concern of a shortage for his needs when he lost so much blood from the gunshot wounds.
After he healed his doctors decided to draw his own blood so as always to have a fresh supply in case there was another emergency. So after 1981 everywhere the pope traveled so did a few pints of his own blood just in case. After his death these spare pints of his blood became relics of a saint.
The Church has allowed distribution of some of his blood to various churches and dioceses throughout the world for veneration. I am humbled to have been chosen to received a relic of Saint John Paul’s blood through the assistance of my friend, Archbishop Schnurr of Cincinnati. —Father Richard Kunst
Papal Artifacts extends our gratitude to Archbishop Schnurr and to Father Richard Kunst for their great devotion to this modern day saint and to their abilities to bring him home to us.
Father Richard Kunst’s Homily at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary Upon the Death of Pope John Paul II
Reigned 26 years, 5 months, 17 days
Traveled 775,231 miles, or 30 times around the earth
146 trips in Italy, 104 abroad
Visited 129 countries
Spent 822 days or 2 ¼ years outside the Vatican
Gave more than 20,000 addresses totaling 100,000 pages
Issued more than 100 major documents
Created 1,338 saints, more than all his predecessors in the last four centuries combined
Appointed 231 Cardinals
Met with 1,590 heads of state
Held more than 1,160 general audiences in the Vatican
Was seen live by more people than anyone who ever lived.
John Paul II? No, John Paul the Great! But he will not be known as “the Great” because of impressive statistics, but because of the faithful way he imitated the one who’s Vicar he was. John Paul II always pointed to Christ.
He was convicted that Jesus Christ was the answer to the question in every human life. Very simply, this is why he was the champion of the culture of life. Everybody was made in the image of God, so everybody has a right to life.
On October 8, 1978 days before entering the conclave that would elect him, Cardinal Wojtyla spoke some very prophetic words, “Our Lord conversing with Peter at the beginning of the first pontificate asked about nothing except love: Peter do you love me? This is the only question which we are to examine every pontificate.” This is the only question which we are to examine every pontificate. Do you love me?
I for my part am not amazed at the sea of humanity now converging on Rome. This is not some world wide personality cult because the personality is dead. The people waiting in line for 18 hours are not doing it to see a corpse, they are doing it to see Christ. Even in death John Paul is leading the world to God.