On October 16, 1981, John Paul II established the Foundation that carries his name. It was a response to the great enthusiasm and involvement of Poles around the world after the election of Cardinal Karol Wojtyla to the Chair of St. Peter. The Foundation came into being 3 years after this historic event that had such great influence on the fate of our contemporary world. The Holy Father described the work and purposes of the new Foundation, but in order for them to be realized there had to be individuals who would engage themselves in this work. Chapters of Friends of the John Paul II Foundation were organized in many countries. The purposes of each one of them was above all to report on the activities of the Foundation as well as a better knowledge of the teachings of John Paul II. The members of the Chapters—to the extent of their ability—also support the work of the Foundation financially.
The Friends of John Paul II Foundation of Toronto was established on November 13, 1998, at the residence of Danuta and Zygmunt Warszawski, in the presence of the Foundation Administrator, Msgr. Stefan Wylezek and other numerous guests, the Friends of John Paul II Foundation Inc., came into being. On November 16, 1998 Danuta Warszawski, the founder of the Chapter of Friends, Elzbieta Wolska, producer of “Varieties” on TV CMFT, and Stanislaw Stolarczyk, editor of Zwiazkowiec,” opened an account at the St. Stanislaus and St. Casimir’s Credit Union in Toronto for the Friends of the John Paul II Foundation—Nr. 83690. At the same time Danuta Warszawski and Elzbieta Wolski contacted their friends and invited them to become members of the newly-founded Chapter of Friends. The response was the most positive. Forty individuals constituted the first membership. Donations began to flow in and were deposited in the account at the St. Stanislaus and St. Casimir’s Credit Union in Toronto.
The first task of the newly-established Chapter of Friends was to draft statutes in the spirit of the requirements of the John Paul II Foundation in Rome as well as the requirements of charitable organizations in Canada. We also had to acquire the statutes that govern charitable organizations in Canada. All of these efforts took two years. Walter Lalka and Henryk Slaby were very instrumental in acquiring the statutes as well as the number for the charitable foundation. On March 30, 2001, we received the Letters Patent, and on August 5, 2002, we received a positive response from the Canadian government informing us that we are a charitable foundation as of January 1, 2002. This decision was very important for the activities of the Friends Chapter because it allows donors to claim the donation on their income tax forms.
The Main Characteristics of Chapter Activities
Most members of the Friends of John Paul II Foundation of Toronto Inc., live in Ontario, but there are some from Quebec and the United States. They also represent various religions and ethnic backgrounds. The person and work of John Paul II unite all of us. At various moments of his life he became for all of us the supreme earthly authority and spiritual leader. He bequeathed this work to us as a testament. The annual meetings of the Friends of the John Paul II Foundation of Toronto Inc., take place in the fall. Later we change the date to the spring time. We begin with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The meeting is conducted in Polish and in English. The Administrator of the John Paul II Foundation is present at the annual meeting. The financial help we receive from our members is given to the administrator of the John Paul II Foundation in Rome. It is designated—within the activities of the John Paul II Foundation—for scholarships for students from East-Central Europe who are studying at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin based on the educational program of the Foundation.
The John Paul II Foundation, was established by Pope John Paul II by a special decree published on October 16, 1981, as a response to the historic event of the election of Karol Wojtyla to the See of St.Peter. It is an ecclesiastical foundation – a not-for-profit – whose purpose is to support and implement initiatives of a scholarly, cultural, religious and charitable nature associated with the pontificate of Pope John Paul II. Cognizant of what a great gift Blessed John Paul II was and remains to the Church, Poland and the world, the Foundation wishes to preserve and develop the spiritual heritage the Pope represents and hand it on to future generations.
THE SPECIFIC GOALS OF THE FOUNDATION ARE:
To provide assistance in the formation of religious and lay individuals from Central and Eastern Europe
To collect and preserve documents and materials related to Pope John Paul II and to sponsor research on the subject of his pontificate and teachings, cooperating with institutions with similar purposes.
To host pilgrims in Rome who are the guests of the Foundation.
THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE FOUNDATION IN ROME ITALY
The John Paul II Foundation seeks to cooperate with organizations and institutions that are dedicated to the promotion and promulgation of the teachings of John Paul II in their Christian dimensions and in cooperation with the Apostolic See.
Some specific activities include:
Short term scholarships for individuals who come to Rome to do research on the teachings of John Paul II.
The Office maintains contact with all of the benefactors of the Foundation members of the organized groups of Friends of John Paul II Foundation as well as individuals who wish to be part of the Foundation’s activities associated with the pontificate of the John Paul II. There are 48 groups in 19 countries on four different continents. The Office makes the Foundation present wherever possible and promotes the purposes of the Foundation. It also edits the semianualy Bulletin, which informs its readers about the work and activities of the Foundation.