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    45 Years Since Pope John Paul II’s Pilgrimage to Poland

    To mark the 45th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s first pilgrimage to Poland, the IPN’s National Education Office presents an unprecedented exhibition. “Gaude Mater Polonia: John Paul II in the Homeland, June 2–10, 1979” will tour five cities—Warsaw, Gniezno, Częstochowa, Kraków, and Nowy Targ—revisiting the Pope’s historic journey.

    Historical Impact and Exhibition Highlights

    This first pilgrimage was a transformative event, strengthening Polish national identity, bolstering opposition movements, and significantly influencing the rise of “Solidarity.” John Paul II’s words inspired the fight for freedom and human rights, reinforcing national unity and faith.

    The exhibition vividly portrays the pilgrimage, its historical context, and its socio-political aftermath. Highlights include a replica of the papamobile, constructed from original parts and permanently housed in the JP2 Papal Car Museum in Kielce.

    A Unique Retrospective

    Visitors will have a unique opportunity to reminisce or learn about these historic moments. Eyewitnesses can share their memories, preserving them as part of the nation’s collective memory.

    In Gniezno, Częstochowa, and Kraków, the exhibition will feature the documentary “Nine Days that Changed Poland,” incorporating footage from Andrzej Trzos-Rastawiecki’s 1979 film “Pilgrim” and commentary by Piotr Dmitrowicz.

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