Pope John Paul II to be recognized in Maspeth street co-naming

Holy Cross
THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

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As Pope John Paul II is about to be canonized a saint, some Queens groups are planning to celebrate his legacy in their own way.

The street on which Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church in Maspeth resides, 56th Road, will be co-named Pope John Paul II Way in a ceremony on April 6, three weeks before the canonization.

The co-naming is the brainchild of the Polish American Congress and the Jewish Historical Society of Queens, and was sponsored by Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley.

As a cardinal in 1969, the pope visited Holy Cross, using his birth name Father Karol Józef Wojtyla.

Members of the organizations said it was Pope John Paul II who strengthened Jewish and Catholic ties because his visit to a synagogue in 1986 was the first for a pope since biblical times. 

“John Paul has been a close friend of the Jewish people,” said Frank Milewski, president of the Polish American Congress. “His extension of friendship as pope to the Jewish community when he visited a synagogue in Rome was a momentous time for the Catholic and Jewish relations.”

Pope John Paul II’s papal leadership was from 1978 until his death in 2005.