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News

​Bishop Janak blesses Pope St. John Paul II statue, parish center expansion in St. Hedwig

May 18, 2021 | posted by Deacon Mike Drumm

Topics: In the Press, Breaking News


Bishop Janak blesses Pope St. John Paul II statue, parish center expansion in St. Hedwig

“Amazing. Amazing and beautiful.” Auxiliary Bishop Gary Janak quietly exclaimed his surprise as he stood in the Pope Saint John Paul II Parish Center in St. Hedwig April 25, mildly stunned at the size and presence of the new Pope Saint John Paul II statue. At 15 feet tall the statue is magnificent in its size and exquisite in detail. It truly seems to capture not just the appearance, but the presence, and the love of our beloved Holy Father and now saint. Bishop Janak related that he had a similar feeling when he first saw the piercing blue eyes of Pope Saint John Paul II in Rome when he was a seminarian.

Bishop Janak’s dedication and blessing of the new extension to the JPII Center and the statue were a part of a special day for the parishioners of Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church. Traditionally this was the day of the parish feast, but due to restrictions caused by the pandemic, the parish festival will take place next year. More importantly however, Bishop Janak was there to provide the sacrament of confirmation to 10 confirmandi from the parish. Bishop Janak first met with the young people in the JPII Center, blessed the center and the statue, and then all processed to the church for the confirmation Mass.

The liturgy was of great reverence and beauty and Bishop Janak’s loving words seemed especially relevant. He related how he would visit cousins in the mountains north of Phoenix during the summer, where temperatures were cool and comfortable. There, each summer, he would watch the shepherds as the guided and protected their flocks of sheep. He noted that the shepherds always found a vantage point where they could monitor the sheep movements and watch for strays. He made the connection to Our Lord Jesus always watching over us and always working to keep us together because of his limitless love for us. The bishop made the point that God gave us the sacrament of confirmation to give us strength for when we are tempted, but also for when we stray. Lastly, he asked only one thing of the confirmandi. He asked that they make a little room in their lives for the Holy Spirit. He assured them that if they would do that, then God would be there to help them make right decisions for all of their lives.