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Fr Greg Skulski SDS with St John Paul II’s cassock (The Catholic Weekly)

Fr Greg Skulski SDS arrived in Sydney from Poland on February 13 holding on tightly to his hand luggage. In it was the most precious cargo he had ever carried: the cassock of St Pope John Paul II. Source: The Catholic Weekly.

“I didn’t want to risk losing it in my main luggage, otherwise I may not be here speaking to you,” he laughed.

The second-class relic is the latest addition to the shrine dedicated to John Paul II in East Gosford and is on display for one year.

It’s one of the most exciting additions since the shrine opened in October 2022, with the blessing of first-class relics of the saint’s blood and hair.

It’s the first time the cassock has left the Salvatorian mother house in Rome for 19 years after it was gifted to St John Paul II’s friend and fellow polish priest, Fr Tadeusz Styczeń SDS, following his death.

Fr Skulski travelled from Gosford, on the NSW Central Coast, to his homeland to represent Australia at his religious order’s Provincial Chapter, and his general superior left him with more than a general update.

“He had packed the cassock very nicely in a cover, and so it came Down Under.”

The cassock joins the second-class relics of St John Paul II’s stole gifted by his secretary, Cardinal Dziwisz, as well as a ciborium from which the pope distributed communion from during his 1986 pilgrimage to Australia.

“We have a big number of young Catholics and families in the parish, and John Paul II being the patron saint of young Catholics and families is certainly a modern example of someone that responded to the needs of that demographic,” Fr Skulski said.

The cassock will be on display for public visits every Friday between 12:30-1:30pm, or by appointment, for one year at the shrine.


JPII’s cassock: Handle with care! (By George Al-Akiki, The Catholic Weekly)