30 Jan Getting to Know Us

The John Paul II Cultural Centre is owned and operated by myself, Martin Roelands, and my wife Rachel. We would like to share a little bit about who we are and why we are starting this Centre.

Both Rachel and I grew up on pig farms north of London. We attended the same high school, where we met and started dating. After high school we both studied at Western University in London, Ontario. I majored in theology and philosophy at King’s University College, an affiliate of Western University, and Rachel studied nursing at Western’s main campus.

While I was in university I began taking courses at the Theology of the Body Institute and entered into their certification program. These courses were instrumental in the creation of the John Paul II Cultural Centre as they provided me with the opportunity to further my education and deepen my understanding of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body while at the same time meeting many exciting and passionate people from all across North America. It was at these courses that I received the inspiration to start the John Paul II Cultural Centre.

During my last year of university Rachel and I got engaged. Shortly thereafter we began looking into purchasing the property which is now the John Paul II Cultural Centre. In April of 2014 I graduated from university and began finalizing the details for the purchase of the property in Port Burwell. We took possession of the property in July of 2014 and I moved into the house which is on the property. Right after moving in I began, with the help of family members and friends, to tear down several of the old buildings which were on the property. Rachel would come down and help out for a day when she had time away from work and wedding planning. On September 12, 2014 Rachel and I were married and after our honeymoon we began working on plans for building a new community centre.

2015 began with the exciting news that we were expecting our first child. In March of 2015 we began construction on our new community centre and for the rest of the summer and into the fall of 2015 we worked on upgrading the facilities on the property. We built the community centre, four bunkhouses, repaired the pool, put in a volleyball court, added a parking lot and upgraded the existing infrastructure. All-in-all it was an incredible year that saw a lot of change to the property which has prepared us for welcoming visitors this coming summer and beyond.

The most exciting part of 2015 was getting to meet our son, Cornelius. Cornelius was born on July 28th 2015 and has been a huge blessing in our lives. Cory brings a lot of joy to Rachel and I and he is teaching us so many things about life and love.

Rachel and I are extremely excited to meet you and help you to have the best experience possible here at the Centre. We are looking forward to hosting many summer camps, retreats and faith formation programs which will enable many people to build lasting friendships, grow in their faith and come to know God in a personal way.

We hope you will come and visit us at the Centre so we can to get to know you.

God bless!

Martin, Rachel and Cornelius Roelands