William Zlepnig shows A Stamp Tribute to John Paul II DVD. Photo by Roland Pirker/Rollframe

John Paul II DVD raises funds for Ottawa basilica

  • December 16, 2011

William Zlepnig was flabbergasted when he saw a stamp exhibit dedicated to Blessed John Paul II on display in Ottawa last April. He liked it so much he decided to sponsor the creation of a DVD that would keep the exhibit alive forever while at the same time helping to raise money for the restoration at St. Patrick’s Basilica.

“The basilica did a whole restoration outside and it’s (cost) up in the millions of dollars,” Zlepnig, a member of the St. Patrick’s Basilica Knights of Columbus, told The Catholic Register.

Titled A Stamp Tribute to John Paul II, about $4 or $5 of every DVD sold will go towards the restoration fund, he said.

“Any profit that’s made will go towards the basilica,” said Zlepnig, who held a launch for the DVD in November.

The exhibit was created from the extensive stamp collection of Anthony Sales, a member of the Knights of Columbus from Richmond, B.C. Mounted on 160 frames, the stamps tell the story of Blessed John Paul II’s life, his travels around the globe as well as important anniversaries and commemorations.

The DVD features footage of the entire stamp collection with music as a backdrop and narration to describe the significance and history of specific stamps.

Upon seeing the exhibit displayed at St. Patrick’s Basilica, Zlepnig wondered if someone could film the display since “once you take it down, it’s gone,” he said. “And this is a historic piece of evidence.”

Zlepnig then contacted Roland Pirker, director and cameraman for Rollframe Productions Inc. Pirker didn’t charge Zlepnig for the shooting and editing of the video, saving more than $20,000, he said.

In total, Zlepnig spent about $8,000 to fund the DVD project through the Southway Hotel in Ottawa, which he owns.

“Hopefully it’s going to sell… and hopefully we’ll get money for restoration and if we get millions of dollars, then we can turn it over to charity.”

The DVD is 59 minutes long. It costs $24.95 and can be purchased by calling St. Patrick’s Basilica Bookstore at (613) 235-7963 or e-mailing stpatricksgiftsandbooks@gmail.com.

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