John Paul II’s newly acquired title of saint means signs bearing his name need an update.
This week the Denver Archdiocese is replacing signage at its headquarter entrances along Steele Street and Arizona Avenue to reflect the pontiff’s April 27 canonization.
The nearly 37-acre campus named after John Paul II, who came to Denver for World Youth Day 1993, was renamed The Saint John Paul II Center for the New Evangelization.
The archdiocese’s corporate name will also be updated to include “saint.”
Denver chancellor David Uebbing said Archbishop Samuel Aquila changed the name to reflect the Church’s recognition of the late pope.
“Archbishop Aquila has chosen to change the name of the pastoral center to The St. John Paul II Center for the New Evangelization, because it reflects the heavenly reality and the Church’s recognition of it,” Uebbing said. “It also calls to mind the powerful intercession we have in St. John Paul II, who is a powerful intercessor for advancing the cause of the new evangelization and will continue to beseech the father, son and Holy Spirit to make it fruitful.”
The archbishop signed a decree making the change official April 28.
Workers began to install new brick signs etched with brown lettering this week at two entrances.
The Denver Archdiocese has its roots in the early 1900s when the center’s campus was purchased by the Vincentians. Rapid growth along the Front Range made the southeast Denver land ideal for the order’s new seminary. Historians cite the St. Thomas Seminary (now St. John Vianney Theological Seminary) as one of the greatest assets of the Church in Northern Colorado.
In subsequent decades, more buildings were added to the campus, including the Italian Renaissance-style St. Thomas Seminary Chapel (now Christ the King Chapel), a two-story brick convent that housed 16 nuns, and a theology wing. The campus also features a prominent bell tower and the Cardinal Stafford Library.
In Feb. 1996, the archdiocese purchased the property and announced that the campus would be renamed “The John Paul II Center for the New Evangelization” after the inspiration of the pope’s 1993 visit to Denver.
Later, two seminaries were founded on the campus: the Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary in 1996, and the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in 1999. The archdiocesan ministry offices were also moved to the campus.
In recent years, the archdiocese has added an addition and a chapel to the Redemptoris Mater seminary and the Spirituality Year House for first-year seminarians.
This year, the archdiocese began construction on the Holy Trinity Center. The new multi-use facility is designed to address space woes and serve as an asset to faithful for the next 100 years.
See the timeline for more details about the campus’ history.