Tuesday, October 14, 2003

First Children’s International Peace Garden Announced: Will Honor Pope John Paul II’s Peace Efforts

Washington, DC – The Pope John Paul II Cultural Center will dedicate the first Children’s International Peace Garden October 27, 2003 at 11 a.m. The children’s peace garden is one of several Cultural Center events honoring Pope John Paul II during the Silver Jubilee of his extraordinary pontificate.

“This peace garden will honor the Holy Father’s unrelenting desire for peace, his special regard for young people, and his steady promotion of inter religious and ecumenical cooperation,” said Cardinal Adam Maida, Archbishop of Detroit and president of the Cultural Center.
The International Peace Garden Foundation, whose mission is to foster world peace, is co-sponsoring the garden and is donating 4000 tulip bulbs to help launch it. The Foundation has established 15 peace gardens all over the world including gardens in Rome, Hiroshima, Pretoria, Costa Rica and Warsaw.

“The Cultural Center is honored by being the first and only Children’s International Peace Garden,” said Father G. Michael Bugarin, executive director of the Cultural Center. “The garden will be an ongoing reminder of the need for everyone to work and pray for peace,” he said.
International Peace Garden Foundation president and founder Paula Savage will help unveil a Peace Garden Stone at the dedication ceremony. "This is the first Children's International Peace Garden to be dedicated by our foundation," Ms. Savage said. "Annually one nation nominates another for the honor of establishing an International Peace Garden, in recognition of that country's peace efforts. The children's garden is one of only two exceptions to this tradition, with the other being the D-Day Anniversary commemoration in Normandy. The Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, in honor of this important anniversary, is a most appropriate venue for the children's garden."

Local political leaders, educators, embassy representatives and cultural groups are also expected to attend the ceremony. Opera singer Daniel Rodriquez and classical singer Izzy will perform at the dedication.

Children and their families are invited to participate in planting the peace garden at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, beginning October 18. Youngsters from all denominations and ethnic backgrounds may plant a “peace tulip” and offer a silent prayer for peace. Families that wish to participate may call 202-635-5475 to reserve their peace bulbs and schedule a planting time.
In addition to the Children’s International Peace Garden, the Cultural Center is celebrating the Pontiff’s Silver Jubilee with a series of four exclusive exhibitions of Vatican photographs. The images bring to life the Pope’s words and his pastoral ministry and present a stunning panorama of his long and extraordinary pontificate.

The exhibit series, called At the Altar of the World, which runs through November 7, 2004, takes its title and theme from Pope John Paul II’s latest encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, illustrating the Holy Father’s devotion to the Eucharist. The photographs, many of which have never been seen before, were selected from the archives of L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s official newspaper.

An upcoming book from the Cultural Center also entitled At the Altar of the World will feature images from the exhibit as well as essays from Church leaders and experts on Pope John Paul II. Other planned events include lectures and a music concert. See www.popejubilee.org for further information.
The museums at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center provide a dynamic environment in which visitors of all ages and denominations engage in an intriguing exploration of faith and culture. Through technology, art exhibitions, and cultural programs, visitors explore spirituality and culture, learn about the faith of others, and engage in inspirational activities designed to put their faith into action in their everyday lives.

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