Saint Stanislaus Church in Rockford is keeping the pontiff's legacy alive in a very special way.
"He was just like a friend, a father, like a grandfather, whatever you imagine the best person to be he was to me," says Janina Korab of St. Stanislaus Church.
Tears of love rest in the eyes of Janina Korab as she mourns the loss of Pope John Paul II, but his life and legacy, and his roots in native Poland are delicately preserved in Janina's hands and in the hands of parishioners at Saint Stanislaus.
"When the school closed, we had vacant rooms, so we decided to open a Polish cultural center, and what better than to name it after Pope John Paul II?" says Father John Mikula.
Father Mikula was one of the founders of the museum, a museum filled with priceless artifacts celebrating the Polish heritage and honoring the pontiff's history.
"We have photos of him from where he lived and artifacts from places where he hiked, canoed, went skiing, glassware they use in that section of Poland, and so forth," says Father Mikula.
Most of the artifacts are family heirlooms donated by members of the church.
"When the museum started they brought us items that were dear to them and we have a picture of every item and the family’s name," says Korab.
"Pope John Paul II gave us 26 years of good leadership, and we're thankful to God he showed us in his ways, he was a true vicar of Christ and we love him for that," says Father Mikula.
That cherished love is safeguarded in this museum, and the people of Rockford have a special treasure to learn more about the pope's life and honor his greatness.
If you would like to visit the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, please contact the St. Stanislaus Church at 965-3913.