St. Pope John Paul II Statue
Resurrection Cemetery, Justice, IL
In 1969 and again in 1976, before he became Pope John Paul II, Karol Cardinal Wojtyla the Archbishop of Kracow, walked the grounds of Resurrection Cemetery in Justice, Illinois. In 1969, the Cardinal visited Resurrection Cemetery to see and bless the Polish Millennium Shrine honoring the 1000th anniversary (966 - 1966) of Christianity in Poland.
Cardinal Wojtyla again visited Resurrection Cemetery in 1976 with fifteen other Catholic Bishops from Poland. This time he visited the Resurrection Indoor Mausoleum. On the Terrace floor of the Mausoleum is the history of the Polish Christianity in America. Depicted in mosaics in this area are various saints dear to the Polish community.
Because of the strong ties to the Polish Community in the Archdiocese of Chicago, in 1983 a few years after becoming Pope John Paul II, a small community Mausoleum was erected in the cemetery honoring the pope and recalling his visits to the Archdiocese in 1979. A number of photos in the Mausoleum memorialize this visit.
How can one honor a man of Polish heritage, who was of great faith, and who served his God and the church as its pontiff from 1978 until in death in 2005; and who once walked the very grounds of Resurrection Cemetery you may ask? What better way than with a heroic size statue!
On Memorial Day, May 30th, 2016; Archbishop Cupich blessed a 20 foot tall bronze statue of Saint Pope John Paul II that's placed on an eight foot tall American black granite base located in Resurrection Cemetery directly behind the cemetery's office building.
Commissioned by the Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Chicago in 2013 and designed by Teresa Clark of Clark Design. The statue weighs approximately 8000 pounds and rests upon a black granite base of 86,000 pounds.
Starting with Teresa's 18" clay sculpture, the staff of The Crucible Foundry in Norman OK worked over 52 months to maintain Teresa's tool marks and thumb prints of the model throughout the wax and sand casting, as well as the assembly of high quality silicone bronze that makes up the St. John Paul II statue. Teresa's image did not reflect a certain time of Pope John Paul's life but captured the essence of the saint over the years of his pontificate.
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