Poland's Roman Catholic church plans to build a center devoted to interfaith dialogue in honor of late Pope John Paul II at the site in southern Poland where he toiled during the Nazi occupation of his country, a church official said Friday.
The center is to be named "Be Not Afraid" after one of the Polish-born pontiff's best-known mottos. Plans foresee it being built on land near Krakow where Karol Wojtyla, the future John Paul, performed forced labor in a quarry during World War II, said Rev. Robert Necek, spokesman for the Krakow Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz.
Necek said the idea for the project came from Dziwisz, John Paul's longtime personal secretary and friend who in August was installed as archbishop in the city where John Paul has served in the same position.
"This is an attempt to put the pope's teachings into practice," Necek told The Associated Press. "And to bring together people of good will, regardless of race and religion, from Krakow, from Poland and from the world."
Necek declined to give more details. He said Dziwisz would give more details about the project during a Mass on Sunday, a national day of remembrance for John Paul throughout his native land.
The Zycie Warszawy daily reported that the center would include a museum, a library, exhibition halls, a boarding school, a hospital, a conference hall and sports facilities, the AP says.
John Paul was much loved and respected in overwhelmingly Roman Catholic Poland and various events and projects have been started to honor him after his death on April 2.
Among them, the parliament voted to make Oct. 16 a national day of remembrance. It was on Oct. 16, 1978 that Wojtyla was elected pope.