This coming February, Avila University will bring the A Blessing to One Another exhibit, a detailed look at the life of Pope John Paul II, to Union Station as a gift to the community.
Through the generous contributions from community partners, the traditional ticket fee has been waived. Not only is Avila bringing the inspirational exhibit to Union Station at no cost to the public, they are also bringing in renown lecturers, an interfaith panel, choral performances and a theatrical play to coincide with the exhibit.
“The exhibit paints a vivid picture of the world during Pope John Paul II’s lifetime,” said Greg Reichert, vice president for advancement. “It details his impact on the world through his leadership and vision.”
Avila University President Ronald A. Slepitza said the exhibit's story is about the power of prayer and hope. He said the exhibit tells a moving story about the relationship between a man destined to become Pope, Karol Wojtyla, and childhood friend Jerzy Kluger, a man who became not only his friend, but a trusted advisor. The exhibit follows the life of Pope John Paul II from his childhood through his role as pope, celebrating his contributions to relations between the Catholic and Jewish faiths. The historical walk through time is divided into four sections, including his childhood, the dark years of World War II, his rise from priest to bishop to cardinal, and his reign as pope.
“The exhibit depicts a deep abiding relationship between the Jewish people and this priest, bishop, cardinal, and pope,” Slepitza said. “It is a relationship based on the premise that if there is ever to be peace in the world then the major religions of the world must be the source of that inspiration.”
Reichert said he hopes that this project will be a catalyst leading to further opportunities to explore interfaith relations and ways to bring about peace.
The Blessing Exhibit will be on display from February 3 to March 27, 2009, at Union Station in the newly-renovated Arthur Stilwell Room. The exhibit includes 105 free-standing wall panels with 350 secondary images and text panels, 20 flat panel LCD monitors displaying historical footage, an 8-foot replica of the Krakow Ghetto gate and wall, a 20-foot long replica of Jerusalem's Western Wall and more.
Slepitza said that he is proud to bring this exhibit to the Kansas City community as a gift from the university and proud that the University is leading the way for new exhibits.
“For me, a docent when the exhibit first appeared, I found it personally powerful and inspirational,” Slepitza said. “I think for visitors to this exhibit, they too will be moved and similarly inspired. It is my hope that they will be inspired to work for peace, see the power of interreligious dialogue and the understanding it brings.”
The A Blessing to One Another exhibit is brought to Kansas City with community and financial support from local corporations, foundations, and individuals.
For more information about the A Blessing to One Another exhibit, the special events or to volunteer, go to www.avila.edu/blessing/ or call Avila University public relations specialist Michelle Key at (816) 501-2434.
Avila University is a private, co-educational, values-based liberal arts institution founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, offering undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree programs. Avila University is located at 119th and Wornall Rd in southwest suburban Kansas City, Mo.