Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 13, 2008
John Paul II stands tall by Polish church
Parish, Knights raise funds for a monument for the ages
By RAMON GONZALEZ
“John Paul II is on his way to becoming a saint and we wanted to honour him.”
- Stan Kiryczuk
John Paul visited Holy Rosary years before his election as pope in 1978. He also visited Edmonton in 1994. “This monument will remind people of John Paul’s service to all Catholics,” Kiryczuk says.
Renowned Krakow sculptor and professor Czslaw Dzwigaj — who did the elaborate bronze doors of the Chicago Basilica—designed the 1,200-kg statue. It cost nearly $100,000 to have the statue made and transported to Edmonton by plane.
Installation costs brought the price of the project up to nearly $170,000, most of which has been raised through donations.
Work on the project began two years ago on the initiative of the parish’s Knights of Columbus council. A seven-member committee called John Paul II Monument Committee, which includes Holy Cross pastor Father Roman Majek, spearheaded the work.
The monument is based on a winning sketch chosen by parishioners following a parish-wide survey.
“They picked one where he is blessing the crowds with one hand and holding his cross on the other,” says committee chair Ryszard Kazek. “Fifty-five per cent of participants chose this.”
The 3.8-metre tall statue sits on a rectangular granite base that measures close to two metres from ground level. It cost nearly $70,000 to build the base and install the statue.
“We, who are of the generation that knows John Paul II and whose papacy enriched our lives, the lives of our youth, and the life of the whole Catholic Church, regard it as a privilege and responsibility to remind the people of the world around us of the extraordinary personage of the pope from Poland,” Kazek said in a letter to parishioners some time ago.
“We also wish to thank God for this outstanding witness of the faith and relentless messenger of hope.”
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