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Exhibit Profiles Pope John Paul II's Role as an Advocate for Improving Bond Between Catholic and Jewish Faiths

Duquesne University invites people of all faiths to experience the historic exhibit A Blessing to One Another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People, which opens on Monday, May 15 and runs through Friday, Aug. 11 in the Mellon Hall lobby on campus.The interactive exhibit includes photos, video footage, documents and artifacts recording the groundbreaking contributions of Pope John Paul II to advance relations between the Catholic and Jewish faiths.  The four major areas in the display represent the four periods in the life of Pope John Paul II, whose Christian name was Karol Wojtyla.  Among his personal effects featured in the exhibit are his baptismal certificate, the biretta he wore when he was named cardinal, a cane he used during his March 2000 visit to Israel and his white papal zucchetto.

A Blessing to One Another takes its name from Pope John Paul II's commemoration in 1993 of the 50th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.  On that occasion, the Holy Father said, "As Christians and Jews, following the example of the faith of Abraham, we are called to be a blessing to the world.  This is the common task awaiting us.  It is therefore necessary for us, Christians and Jews, to be first a blessing to one another."

Nearly six months before his death on April 2, 2005, Pope John Paul II gave the exhibit his blessing.  He died just weeks before A Blessing to One Another debuted at Xavier University in Cincinnati.  Duquesne is only the third college or university to host the exhibit.

"Hosting A Blessing to One Another allows Duquesne to provide an ideal educational opportunity to bring together people from the region to learn about the landmark relationship between Pope John Paul II and the Jewish community," said Dr. Francesco C. Cesareo.  "It also helps Duquesne University to serve as a foundation for continued dialogue between the two faith traditions."

Cesareo, dean and professor of the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts at Duquesne, is an expert on the papacy and had two private audiences with Pope John Paul II.

"Pope John Paul II really had a powerful, historic impact on strengthening relations between Catholics and Jewish people.  He lived a great love for Jewish people and had a deep respect for Judaism.  He really helped Catholics and Jewish people to see each other not primarily as rivals, but as allies.  He helped them to understand that they could be a blessing for one another," added Rabbi Aaron Mackler, associate professor of theology at Duquesne.

A Blessing to One Another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People is free and open to visitors weekdays from 12 to 8 p.m. and on weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Private viewings for groups are available weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon by calling 412.396.6388 or e-mailing sculimbr@duq.edu.  Reservations for groups are required.  For more information, visit www.duq.edu/blessing.

A Blessing to One Another was created and produced by Xavier University, Hillel Jewish Student Center and The Shtetl Foundation. The lead financial sponsor is The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati with major financial support from Xavier University in partnership with The Pope John Paul II Cultural Center of Washington D.C.  Pittsburgh sponsors include the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts, the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, Marcia and Stanley Gumberg, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and P. David Pappert.

Rose Ravasio 412.396.6051/cell 412.818.0234
Karen Ferrick-Roman 412.396.1154/cell 412.736.1877

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.