Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 24, 1999
Knights give facelift to papal dove
Special to the WCR
The local Knights of Columbus are helping to restore the largest visible reminder of Pope John Paul's 1984 visit to Edmonton.
The Dove of Peace is currently being fitted with a covering by Soldan Fence, a maker of chain-link fences.
The dove, at that time covered with canvas, rose above the altar when Pope John Paul celebrated Mass for more than 100,000 people in a farmers' field north of Edmonton on Sept. 17, 1984.
After the Mass, the dove was put into storage until, with the blessing of Archbishop Joseph MacNeil, the St. Joseph's fourth degree assembly of the Knights of Columbus initiated a plan to put the dove on permanent public display.
The Knights, Edmonton Catholic Schools and the Junior Chamber of Commerce raised $15,000 to have the dove placed on a concrete base in Gallagher Park near the Muttart Conservatory.
Beside the dove, a time capsule was buried to be opened in 2084.
However, the original canvas on the dove had deteriorated and so the dove had to be erected as a skeleton. Once the dove was erected on the site, it was obvious that as a skeleton it looked unappealing.
The fourth degree Knights took 10 years raising the $21,000 required to cover the dove as well as obtaining city permits and finding an appropriate contractor.
Work began on the project last fall and started again in April. Trucks can only access the site when the ground is dry so the job of welding the 49 pieces of chain-link material to the dove has proceeded slowly.