The spiritual fruit of Pope St. John Paul II’s fatherhood continues to spill out, years after his death. One way in which we see this harvest is in the abundance of ministries founded on his spirituality. These ministries run the full spectrum of the human experience. This is unsurprising, considering they are the fruit of a saint who cared so deeply about the whole, human person! Here are 6 ministries or apostolates for you to check out!
If You’re a Young Adult Catholic:
“It is Jesus you seek when you dream of happiness; he is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; he is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is he who provokes you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is he who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is he who reads in your hearts your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle. It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be grounded down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.”Pope St John Paul II
If you’re a young adult Catholic, check out the JP2 Project. They state on their website that their mission is “to help young people become builders of a civilization of love and truth, through programs that enable them to live in the example of Saint John Paul II.” The project partners with the archdiocese of Kraków to create study abroad programs and pilgrimages for young adults that focus on formation of the whole person. Fun twist: the programs in Poland are specificially led by young, married couples. They are embarking on a new adventure, creating “JP2 Homes” here in the United States for young adults to live in community while pursuing their professional and personal goals. The first will be in Brighton, Michigan- click here to check it out!
If You’re a Woman:
“The Church gives thanks for all the manifestations of the feminine genius which have appeared in the course of history, in the midst of all peoples and nations.”
“It depends on [women] to promote a ‘new feminism.'”Pope St. John Paul II
Pope St John Paul II did so much to open up discussion about women and their role and importance in the church. There is a seemingly endless list of ministries we could credit, at least partially, to this saint and his concept of “the feminine genius,” but here is a diverse smattering:
Have you ever read JP2’s beautiful meditation on “givenness”? This principle underlies the mission of the GIVEN Institute, which “explores the feminine response to God’s love, to illuminate the “the feminine genius” that women contribute to families, society, the Church, and the world. [They] desire to help women receive the gift that they are, realize the gifts they’ve been given, and respond with the gift that only they can give.” Featuring a yearly forum, mentoring, leadership training and networking opportunities, this is a fantastic resource for growing as a female leader in the Church!
Begun in Denver, Colorado in 2003, Endow is a ministry focused on small group formation for women in the light of the “new feminism”- the feminine genius. This model provides hearty study guides so that no leader is needed. It is also suited for the busy lifestyle of many American women- everyone learns alongside the other “in the moment,” without need for prep before each meeting. And, sensitive to the current need for online studies and community, they have a strong presence on social media and have created online studies as well. Click here for their online studies!
Letters to Women
Slightly different than the other ministries listed here, Letters to Women is a podcast hosted by Chloe Langr, which explores the feminine genius in its myriad aspects. Each episode features a different, female guest and topic, and speaks to the vastness and freedom of what it means to be an authentically Catholic woman, as well as speaking vulnerably into the challenges we face as modern Catholic women in our daily lives.
If You’re Just Plain Human :
“Man, whom God created male and female, bears the divine image imprinted on his body ‘from the beginning.’ Man and woman constitute two different ways of the human ‘being a body’ in the unity of that image.”Pope St. John Paul II
Theology of the Body Institute
The Theology of the Body Institute is perhaps the best known of all listed here. The purpose of the Institute is “to educate and train men and women to understand, live and promote the Theology of the Body…. Theology of the Body Institute seeks to penetrate and permeate the culture with the true vision of human identity that appeals to the deepest yearnings of the human heart for love and union.” Encompassing podcasts, courses, pilgrimages, written resources, conferences and more, there is something here for every learning style to grow deeper in the understanding and application of the Theology of the Body.
“We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures, we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of His Son Jesus.”Pope St. John Paul II
The JP2 Healing Center
The John Paul II Healing Center, based in Tallahassee, Florida, hosts retreats and conferences both at its Florida headquarters and at parishes all over the country. Their mission is to “provide teaching, healing, and equipping to bring about transformation in the heart of the Church.” The center emphasizes learning your personal story and bringing it to prayer and the sacraments. In the process, you learn how to identify and surrender wounds to the Lord and find deeper healing in the Lord. The center offers a variety of resources in addition to their retreats and conferences, including books, audio conferences, a youtube channel, and a podcast. This is a great resource if you want to lean into the healing required to more and more reflect the glory of the transfigured Christ.
This is just a small sampling of the resources available based on the teachings and spirituality of Pope St. John Paul II. Let’s give thanks to God for these and all other resources that bring us closer to the heart of the Father!
“Remember that you are never alone, Christ is with you on your journey every day of your lives! He has called you and chosen you to live in the freedom of the children of God. Turn to him in prayer and in love. Ask him to grant you the courage and strength to live in this freedom always. Walk with him who is “the Way, the Truth and the Life”!”Pope St. John Paul II