JPII statue finds home in largest poor neighborhood in Chile

The statue of St. John Paul II was blessed after being installed in a poor neighborhood in the district of Puente Alto, of Santiago, Chile. Credit: Ryan Thomas/CNA.

A statue of St. John Paul II donated by the University of San Sebastian in Chile has been moved to the Puente Alto neighborhood, five years after authorities refused to install it in a prominent area in the Chilean capital.

Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati of Santiago blessed the statue during a Mass at the St. John Paul II Park to celebrate the canonization of the late pontiff.

“It was suggested to me that I go to Rome that day, but I wanted to remain here with you to celebrate this occasion of joy and grace,” he told the residents of Puente Alto, which is Santiago’s largest poor neighborhood.

“The figure of St. John Paul II is a seed that descends into the ground of Puente Alto, an area that has been touched by so much pain and abandonment,” Cardinal Ezzati said.

“Today, the Pope comes here to stay with you, to be a seed of justice, fraternity and peace, a seed that will bear fruit in a community in which everyone can feel that they are brothers and sisters and can share in the dignity of the children of God that we have been given through the Lord’s Resurrection.”

The 42-foot bronze statue was donated in 2009, but its installation in Santiago’s Bellavista district was rejected by the National Monuments Commission, which said it was too tall and would not look good.

Cardinal Ezzati said the “pride and self-sufficiency of those who think that art or beauty or truth depends on their own narrow point of view prevented this statue from being installed somewhere else. But in reality that was providential, because the Pope wants to be among the simple, among the poor.”

“From this place, Pope John Paul II will continue to walk with these people, with the people of Puente Alto, he will continue to foster hope in the poor, he will continue to encourage authorities to be committed to bringing about justice and peace in these places in Chile, so that a truly great community of brothers and sisters will be raised up here.”

Cardinal Ezzati said he spoke to Pope Francis about the blessing of the statue. “Holy Father, we are waiting for you,” he told him, “because there one of your predecessors has wished to remain in the hearts of the people.”  

“I hope that in a year-and-a-half or two, when Pope Francis gets the chance to visit us, we can have a gathering as wonderful as this one today.”
 


Voices

Seeking the face of God in the Scriptures

Archbishop José H. Gomez

Prayer is seeking the face of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church recalls the story of how St. John Vianney once found a peasant praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The saint asked him what he was doing, and the man replied: “I look at him and he looks at me.”

Events

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February 13, 2016

  • Saturday, February 13

    World Day of the Sick Mass, Mass and Anointing of the Sick, 12:30 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels,  555 W Temple St, Los Angeles. Archbishop Gomez presiding with other bishops and priests. Special section designated for those in wheelchairs with volunteers available to help. Limited parking available for $8. Carpooling is encouraged. For more info: Chuck Huebner at cjhuebner @gmail.com or Jim LoCoco at flavialococ0@msn.com.

     

     

    Bosco Tech’s Yurak Memorial Run & Kids’ Fun Run, Check in begins at 8 a.m., Memorial Run at 9 a.m., Fun Run at 10 a.m., Bosco Tech, 1151 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead. Race registration is $35 per person. For school groups of 10 or more, the cost is $30. To register online, go to www.boscotech.edu/events or www.yurak.eventbrite.com; same-day registration available at check-in table. Included: racing fees, finisher medal, goodie bag and BBQ lunch. Plaques will be awarded to the top five male and female runners and to the fastest runner under 18.All proceeds to benefit Bosco Tech’s Yurak Athletic Center (YAC). 

     

    Cabrini Literary Guild “Sweetheart Bingo” Meeting, Sat., Feb.13 at Oakmont Country Club, 3100 Country Club Drive, Glendale. Meeting starts at 11 a.m., lunch at 12 p.m. ($30/person), and bingo social at 1 p.m. Bingo cards are $5 each, or $20 for five cards. For reservations, call (818) 790-3485.

     

    Footprints: Making Tracks for Neighbors in Need, 8:30 - 11:30 a.m., Bishop Amat High School track, 14301 Fairgrove Ave., La Puente. Catholic Charities San Gabriel Region will present this annual walk/run fundraiser to increase awareness about poverty, hunger and homelessness in the San Gabriel Region. Proceeds benefit those lacking basic needs, such as food, clothing, transportation and shelter. This is a come anytime, leave anytime event, with the first lap around the track to be led by Bishop David O'Connell. For more information, visit lentenfootprints.yolasite.com or contact Mary Romero at (213) 251-3582 or mromero@ccharities.org.

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