- Associated Press - Sunday, April 27, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) - Catholics in Washington are celebrating the sainthood of John Paul II by renaming a shrine devoted to his legacy.

On Sunday, the U.S. shrine dedicated to John Paul II was renamed the National Shrine of Saint John Paul II. A ceremony was held just hours after Pope Francis celebrated the canonization of two 20th century popes, John Paul II and John XXIII, in Rome.

The Knights of Columbus purchased the former Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in 2011 to establish the shrine. It includes exhibits about his legacy from 26 years serving as pope and an exhibit about Catholic heritage in North America. The main floor will be converted into a church.

Executive Director Patrick Kelly said it is among the first places of worship in the world to bear the name “Saint John Paul.”

In March, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops designated the center a national shrine. It’s located next to the Catholic University of America. The center was created in 2001 by Detroit’s archdiocese, but it required millions in subsidies to operate and was closed for years, open only by appointment.

Now the shrine is open for tours Mondays through Saturdays.

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