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1200 attend new JPII shrine ceremony

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Watched by Fr Greg Skulski SDS and other clergy, Bishop Anthony Randazzo of the Diocese of Broken Bay blesses the new statue of St John Paul II outside St Patrick’s Church in East Gosford last weekend.  Photo: Courtesy of the Diocese of Broken Bay
Watched by Fr Greg Skulski SDS and other clergy, Bishop Anthony Randazzo of the Diocese of Broken Bay blesses the new statue of St John Paul II outside St Patrick’s Church in East Gosford last weekend. Photo: Courtesy of the Diocese of Broken Bay

More than a thousand people gathered at St Patrick’s Church, East Gosford last Saturday to celebrate the inauguration of a Shrine to St John Paul II and the installation of two first-class relics.

Parishioners from across the Diocese of Broken Bay and beyond filled the Church to overflowing with Bishop Anthony Randazzo, dedicating the Shrine and installing the relics of the much-loved saint.

He said the shrine must, first and foremost, be a sanctuary of love because love was the very centre of the life of Saint John Paul II.

“… his life and ministry gave courage to believers across the world to live the Christian vocation without fear.”

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“It was this love, genuinely lived by a man of great human charism, which was so attractive to others,” he said.

“So much so, that his life and ministry gave courage to believers across the world to live the Christian vocation without fear.”

The two relics, some blood and strands of hair saved during St John Paul II’s 27-year pontificate, were processed through the Church and installed in a reliquary.

Relics of the beloved pope-saint are displayed. Photos Courtesy Diocese of Broken Bay
Relics of the beloved pope-saint are displayed. Photos Courtesy Diocese of Broken Bay

A specially commissioned painting of St John Paul II by a Polish artist was also unveiled along with a 3.5 metre statue of the saint, which stands outside the Church’s main entrance.

St Patrick’s Parish Priest, Polish-born Fr Greg Skulski SDS, approached Bishop Randazzo at the beginning of the year for permission to obtain the first-class relics and establish a shrine to the former pope who was canonised in 2014.

An army of volunteers worked for many months to ensure everything was in readiness for the event, held on the feast day of St John Paul II, 22 October.

“Bishop Randazzo publicly thanked Father Greg Skulski for … making the shrine a reality.”

Not only were parishioners, clergy and visitors from greater Sydney present but student representatives from Catholic Schools Broken Bay and community leaders gathered for the event including the Federal Member for Robertson, Dr Gordon Reid and the State Member for Gosford, Ms Liesl Tesch AM.

At the conclusion of the Mass, Bishop Randazzo publicly thanked Father Greg Skulski for his hard work and dedication in making the shrine a reality.

Fr Greg received a standing ovation from those in the Church and the overflow areas, a sign of the strong bond between the much-loved priest and his flock.

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