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June 17, 2009
Cathedral monument commemorates Pope John Paul II
By John Gleason
More than 200 people gathered outside the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception on May 17 to witness Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., bless and dedicate a statue of Pope John Paul II.
The 6-foot statue, which sits atop a granite base, is located on the parish grounds outside the World Youth Day door at the corner of East Colfax Avenue and Logan Street.
Barb Popielak, president of the Colorado Chapter of the Friends of John Paul II Foundation, the organization which spearheaded the project, told the Denver Catholic Register that the turnout was perfect to remember a pontiff who touched so many people.
“So many people came to pay tribute,” Popielak said. “This was history, as the archbishop dedicated a monument which I hope everyone will have the chance to come and visit.”
Popielak said that the foundation and many generous friends were honored to bestow the monument to the Archdiocese of Denver. Although the idea originated within the Polish community, interest and involvement in the project came from a much wider field of people.
“This couldn’t have been accomplished by one group,” she said. “It’s taken more than just the Polish community. People from all walks of life, from all parts of the country have helped make the monument a reality.”
The bronze is the work of Polish artist Jacek Osadczuk, who has created other religious works, including statues of St. Paul, the Blessed Virgin and marble carvings of the Stations of the Cross. The granite base on which the statue rests came from the mountains of Colorado; a quarry not far from St. Malo Catholic Retreat Center, one of the places Pope John Paul II visited during his 1993 visit. Total cost of the project is $61,000 of which $50,000 has been raised. The statue was installed on April 2, the fourth anniversary of the late pontiff’s death. The dedication date was one day before his birthday.
Msgr. Thomas Fryar, V.G., pastor of the cathedral, said the monument makes a wonderful addition to the cathedral.
“Its place on the front lawn in juxtaposition with the World Youth Day doors will continue to draw attention to the marvelous event that took place in 1993 and the fruits it continues to bear,” he said. “Part of that fruit is the community saying that we want to recognize this by honoring this great pope who, God willing, will someday be declared a sai
To make a tax deductible donation toward the Pope John Paul II monument, mail to: Society of John Paul II, 9877 Bayou Ridge Trail, Parker, CO 80134. For information, send e-mail to: email@example.com