William & Mary

Film examining Pope's historic visit to Poland to be shown Sunday

William & Mary’s Catholic Campus Ministry is hosting a screening of "Nine Days that Changed the World," a documentary film examining the impact of Pope John Paul II’s nine-day pilgrimage to his Soviet-controlled homeland of Poland in June, 1979.

The screening will take place Sunday, Feb. 13, 7 p.m. at the Sadler Center’s Commonwealth Auditorium. Introducing the film and participating in a panel discussion afterwards is Vince Haley ’88, the film’s field producer. Joining Haley on the panel will be Rev. Father Jan Dolny, priest-in-residence at St. Bede Catholic Church, and Anna Muto ’09, whose academic research focused on Polish Catholicism.

The event is open to the public and admission is free.

Almost one-third of the Polish population turned out in 1979 to see Pope John Paul II in person, while the rest of the country followed his pilgrimage on television and radio. Within 16 months, Solidarity became the first officially recognized free trade union in the Communist bloc, with over 10 million members. The momentum of this nine-day visit would eventually lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The film’s exclusive interviews include President Lech Walesa, President Vaclav Havel, Polish Free Trade Union leaders Krzysztof Wyszkowski and Anna Walentynowicz, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency James Woolsey, and Secretary Jim Nicholson.