Blessings and splendors

Religious-themed exhibits in downtown St. Pete

Florida Holocaust Museum presents a multimedia, interactive traveling exhibit, A Blessing to One Another: Pope John Paul II & The Jewish People. The title is taken from Pope John Paul II's plea on the 50th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising for Christians and Jews to be a blessing to the world, but to first "be a blessing to one another."

The exhibit documents Pope John Paul II's personal and public life via video footage, sculpture, documents, photos, period artifacts and various relics, like the cane he used on his trip to the Holy Land in 2002 and the biretta he wore when he was appointed cardinal. A timeline of his life — beginning with his childhood and the initiation of his longtime friendship with Jewish friend Jerzy Kluger and culminating with the years of his papacy — illustrates his hand in the transformation of the relationship between faiths, as well as the cause of his desire to have all people of all religions work together toward world peace.

An unrelated exhibit, Vatican Splendors at Florida International Museum, features one of the largest touring collections of art, documents and historically significant objects spanning 2,000 years and culled from Saint Peter's Basilica, the Vatican Museums and the Swiss Guard. Among the 200 rare objects are mosaics, paintings, papal rings and jewels, gifts to popes from significant figures like Napoleon and the Dalai Lama, and armor, swords and vestments of the Papal Swiss Guard.

A Blessing To One Another, through April 13, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, 55 Fifth St. S., St. Petersburg, $12 general/$6 ages 7-17 (free admission for children 6 and younger, USF students with ID and members), 727-820-0100, Vatican Splendors, through May 11, 9 a.m.—6 p.m. Mon.-Sat., noon—6 p.m. Sun., SPC Downtown Center, 244 Second Ave. N., St. Petersburg, $20 adults/$17 seniors/$15 military with I.D./$13 children 6-12 and members, 727-898-2100,

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