Statue of Pope John Paul II to be unveiled in city today

A life size (6'-6") statue of the widely travelled holy father, Pope John Paul II, will be unveiled in the city on Tuesday. Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, Nuncio to India and Vatican's ambassador to New Delhi, will bless the statue and Bishop of Poona Rt. Rev. Thomas Dabre will unveil it.

During his visit to the city on February 10, 1986, Pope John Paul II had attracted huge crowds and the monument is a memorial of his visit. The Vatican is promoting installation of his statues at all the Catholic dioceses in the world that the Pope had visited.

The statue will be mounted on solid granite block that was removed from the altar of St Patrick's Cathedral during the renovation in 2010. The installation ceremony will be held at 5.15 pm on Tuesday at Bishop's house, near Empress Garden followed by Holy Mass conducted by Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Pope John Paul II reigned as pope of the Roman Catholic Church for almost 27 years. Since his death on April 2, 2005, several people have been supporting the case for beatifying and canonizing Pope John Paul II as a saint. His formal beatification ceremony (a step before he could be declared as a saint) took place on May 1, 2011 in the Vatican City.

The exquisite life size bronze statue of Pope John Paul II has been designed by England artist Fergus Rivers and was made by Monzart Bronze Benny Line Company in Thailand. "The statue is much more than just a statue as it reminds of love and compassion that the Pope practiced in his life. The skillfully carved statue fills one's heart with peace and tranquility," said Vicar General Father Malcolm Sequeira.

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