The Pope of Families and the Pope of the Young

Logo w kształcie łodzi z jednego ze spotkań z młodzieżą na drewnianej tarczy.

Family life, its importance and mission, was a matter of great concern to the Pope and one of the main topics of his teachings. Colourful boards in this zone display fragments of John Paul II’s Letter to the Children (1994) and Letter to Families (1994). A particular form of a family important in the Pope’s life since the 1950s was the Little Family, i.e. a group of students that started to take shape when priest Karol Wojtyła the academic chaplain took them on a mountain excursion for the first time.  In addition to prayer meetings and retreats, Rev. Karol used to invite young people to mountain trips, kayaking or skiing trips, or to social meetings. This place allows visitors to see some unique memorabilia from the Little Family's travels, including the canoe used by the future Pope and a list of provisions for one of the trips, objects of daily use and a special decree from Primate Wyszyński allowing Father Wojtyla to celebrate Mass on a portable altar. It is also possible in this part of the exhibition to read the memories of the members of the Little Family located under plates with archival photographs from canoeing trips. You are my hope! One of the walls in this zone features hundreds of colourful plates that form a big picture of John Paul II surrounded by young people. Standing by it, one can see themselves in the mirror on the opposite side and symbolically feel part of the photograph. Fragments of videos, e.g., from the World Youth Days, can be watched on small screens. John Paul II was their initiator. It would be hard not to smile at this point, listening to the joyful dialogue with young people when the Pope was teasing and joking while standing at the papal window in Krakow. Other showcases display wooden plates with crests of eight World Youth Days (1986–2000) commemorating the Great Jubilee Year of 2000.


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