"The Christianity of history is not Protestantism. If ever there were a safe truth it is this, and Protestantism has ever felt it so; to be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant." (-John Henry Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine).

"Where the bishop is, there let the people gather; just as where ever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church". -St. Ignatius of Antioch (ca 110 AD)a martyr later thrown to the lions, wrote to a church in Asia Minor. Antioch was also where the term "Christian" was first used.

“But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.” 1 Timothy 3:15

"This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic." -CCC 811

Monday, March 14, 2016

CNS: Auschwitz sets up tour dates just for World Youth Day pilgrims

Posted on March 11, 2016
By Nancy Wiechec
Catholic News Service

Visitors look over displays of photographs of concentration camp prisoners outside the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and State Museum in Oswiecim, Poland. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)
OSWIECIM, Poland (CNS) — The Auschwitz memorial and museum is setting aside days exclusively for World Youth Day pilgrims who want to tour the former Nazi death camp.

The museum has set aside July 20-28 and Aug. 1-3 for participants in World Youth Day, which runs July 26-31 in Krakow, about one-and-a-half hours away.

World Youth Day officials set aside 300,000 spots and asked participants to register for the dates. In early March, they said about 57,000 spots remained. Participants who wish to visit the museum on the designated days must register at http://mlodzi.duszpasterstwa.bielsko.pl/auschwitz.

A record 1.72 million people visited the Auschwitz memorial and museum in 2015. It was the largest group ever to tour the former Nazi death camp in any given year.

The largest number of visitors came from Poland, 425,000; the United Kingdom, 220,000; and the United States, 141,000. Young people made up the majority of visitors, according to the museum’s annual report.

Between 1940 and 1945, more than 1 million Jews and tens of thousands of Poles, Roma, Soviet POWs and others were murdered by the SS at Auschwitz. The SS, which originated as the elite guard of the Nazi Party, later became units of fanatical soldiers and concentration camp guards.

Auschwitz was the largest camp complex established by the Nazis. The main camp, known as Auschwitz I, was expanded to include Auschwitz II (Auschwitz-Birkenau) in 1941 and Auschwitz III (Auschwitz-Monowitz) in 1942.

Among those killed were St. Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar, and St. Edith Stein, a Jewish philosopher who converted to Catholicism and became a Carmelite nun.

The starvation cell, where St. Maximilian and others spent the last days of their lives, can be viewed in the basement of Block 11. It is known as “the death block” because it was used by the SS to inflict torture.

Auschwitz has stood as testament to the Holocaust for 70 years. Education, preservation and research is a large part of the museum’s ongoing mission.

Among the exhibits are heaps of eyeglasses, shoes, suitcases, Jewish prayer shawls, clothing, kitchenware, baskets and other personal items belonging to victims. A mound of worn hair and shaving brushes is on display in one room. Along a wall in another, clumps of human hair, shaven from those imprisoned and killed in the camp, are piled behind glass.

Polish Catholic leaders have expressed hope that Pope Francis might visit Auschwitz in July when he comes to Poland for World Youth Day. St. John Paul II visited in 1979 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2006.

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