The mission of The John Paul II Project is to help young people become builders of a civilization of love and truth, through programs that enable them to live in the example of Pope Saint John Paul II. Students have the opportunity to live and learn in John Paul II’s ‘beloved Kraków’. From inside the classroom to on-site excursions, students are brought into conversation with the culture, the history, and the man, Karol Wojtyla.
An immersion in Polish culture takes place through an exchange with Polish young adults in the university community, Polish families in the Church community, and those in need through local service. Students can experience the vibrancy of the Catholic faith in Poland, with its strong Marian devotion, through opportunities for liturgy and prayer, and a chaplain’s spiritual accompaniment. Complementing the academics is the human formation springing from a joyful community life fostered in the residence. In the footprint of young Karol Wojtyla, students are exposed to truth and beauty through music, art, theater, history, nature, people, and a living relationship with Christ.
The JP2 Project partners with The Pontifical University of John Paul II (UP JP2)
in Kraków to offer classes in English that are in symphony with a Catholic liberal arts education and highlight the patrimony of the city, Kraków, Poland. Students choose two of the following courses for a total of six credits:
HIST/HIST OF ART 303: The Most Significant Works of Art in the Krakow History: the analysis and interpretation of selected examples
This on-site course takes students through the city to discover significant works of art in Krakow from different periods in history. These works will be analyzed and interpreted according various methods of art history. The principal of this study is to discover their value and cultural meaning.
PSYC 415: Personalist Psychology of Karol Wojtyła/John Paul II
This course considers the foundations of a personalist psychology within the thought of Karol Wojtyła/John Paul II. Wojtyła’s Catholic anthropology is pondered in conversation with the enduring questions within psychology. Wojtyła’s theological, philosophical, and dramatic writings are analyzed for themes regarding human nature, human motivation, human development, and human personality. Wojtyła’s contributions are considered as a potential unifying paradigm within the fragmented field of contemporary psychology.
THEO 300: Morality, Holiness, and Love in Veritatis Splendor
This course offers a close reading of Pope St. John Paul II’s encyclical on morality, Veritatis Splendor. Topics covered include the Great Commandments, love of God and love of neighbor, the moral law and the universal call to holiness, the reality of intrinsically evil acts, and martyrdom. We will also devote significant attention to philosophical errors from the Enlightenment that have strongly influenced contemporary moral thinking. Because St John Paul II firmly rejected the notion that the call to holiness is somehow disconnected from the moral law in such a way that the call to holiness is only for extraordinary Christians, we will consider the implications of this encyclical’s teaching for the spiritual life. Besides Veritatis Splendor, we will read from John Paul II’s Redemptor hominis, Dominum et Vivificantem, and Crossing the Threshold of Hope. Some shorter supplementary readings will also be used.
COM 302: Communications Inside & Outside the Church, according to Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis
John Paul II revolutionized the image of the Papacy not only because of his genius personality but also because of his revolutionary approach to the media. The course aims to analyze communications within and outside the Church, based on John Paul's media-attracting actions as a pope and papal teachings on communications. The course will not only focus on JPII, but also examine communications strategies of Pope Francis. As pope, he faced the challenging modern media world of social networks, as well as archaic Vatican media institutions that needed reform, which was brilliantly overtaken in the last months. The course includes analysis of papal messages for World Communications Days of Pope Francis and John Paul II.
Accommodation & Meals
Students have the privilege of residing in the Be Not Afraid- John Paul II Center
. The center, complete with a two-level sanctuary, museum, and housing facilities, was founded in 2006 “to commemorate the great legacy and pontificate of God’s servant, Pope John Paul II…so that his example and word are passed onto future generations.” The residence is a place where all participants can live a community life, with large shared suites, shared spaces for recreation and study, shared meals , and some shared responsibilities for meals and care-taking of the property. It is located within a 10-minute walk to the Divine Mercy Shrine, accessible by a pilgrim 3 footbridge. The city center can be reached in 30 minutes by public buses, which stop at the JPII Center’s parking lot.
All meals are provided: breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. Cleaning supplies and weekly laundry service are also included.
Spiritual & Cultural Opportunities
The following excursions and activities are included in the cost of the program:
- Outdoor Weekend Retreat
- Educational Weekend Pilgrimage to Warsaw & Częstochowa
- Visit to Wadowice, John Paul II’s hometown
- Guided Tour of Auschwitz
- Guided Tour of Wieliczka Salt Mines
- Local tours of Kraków
In addition, students have the chance to engage in fruitful service to those less fortunate in the city of Kraków. The nature of the service opportunities varies from feeding the homeless to hosting English-speaking Pilgrims.
Students may live out their Catholic faith and deepen their personal relationship with Christ through daily Mass and adoration at the John Paul II Center, as well as at the nearby Divine Mercy Shrine. Frequent confession in English is available. The program benefits from the services of a local chaplain who ministers to the spiritual needs of the students and staff, through the sacraments and spiritual direction. In addition to occasions for prayer and sacrament celebrated for the students at the residence, the chaplain also accompanies students on special outings and pilgrimages, according to his availability.
- The Ambassador Novak Award: $200 award for a student with a minimum 3.0 GPA and experience in the political sphere. Past or current experience in political work, activism, or public policy on the local, state, federal, and international level is considered. Early February deadline. Apply here.
- The Clare Crockett Award: $200 award for a student with a minimum 3.0 GPA who has served as a missionary or participated in mission work. Particular consideration will be given to those candidates who have served at the international level. Early February deadline. Apply here.
- The Jon Scharfenberger Award: $200 award for a student with a minimum 3.0 GPA who is active in the pro-life movement. Past or current experience in pro-life initiatives and ministry of all kinds, and especially related to pregnancy support, are considered. Early February deadline. Apply here.
- Program Assistant Discount: Only available to accepted participants of the study abroad program, the position requires the student to arrive one week prior to the start of the program for 40 hours of training and work, work 10-12 hours per week during the program, and remain 4 days at the end of the program for 25 hours of work. The Program Assistant position is offered to one eligible student and is granted a $2,000 discount from the total program fee. Interested students should email email@example.com for the application link no later than mid-March.
Additional scholarship options are listed on the Office of Education Abroad's scholarships webpage