Hundreds of people gathered in the forecourt of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Parramatta on Saturday 5 September, 2015 for the unveiling of a new monument dedicated to St John Paul II.
The monument, created by renowned Sydney artist, Linda Klarfeld, was commissioned by the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta as a tribute to its founder – St John Paul II.
Sydney’s Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP led the unveiling ceremony. Also in attendance were local dignitaries and hundreds of youth from Western Sydney.
“St John Paul II was truly the saint of the youth. He founded World Youth Day, which enabled millions of young people to experience the faith in a new and almost revolutionary way,” Archbishop Anthony said.
“He also established the Diocese of Parramatta to better serve the Catholic people of Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains, one of the youngest and fastestgrowing areas of Australia.”
St John Paul II visited the Diocese of Parramatta during his pontificate shortly after its creation in 1986. The Principal of St Thomas Aquinas’ Primary, Sergio Rosato, was a young worker at Transfield in Seven Hills when Pope John Paul II visited the factory in 1986.
“This company provided employment and dignity for many men and women, including many migrants – my late father was one of those,” Sergio said.
“During his address in workshop five at Seven Hills, the Holy Father shared his meditation on the dignity of work as part of the Creator’s design and plan for the world.
“I recall vividly his strong voice as he proclaimed, ‘You may know that I, too, was a worker for some years in a quarry and in a factory.’
“He went on to say that Australia was a great country because working people go about their tasks day after day with both cheerfulness and seriousness, earning their bread by the sweat of their brow, producing goods and services for their fellow citizens, and thus gradually bringing to perfection a world that was created by a good and loving God.”
Klarfeld said commissioning and creating a sculpture of someone was a real gesture of love. “Pope John Paul II is my favourite Pope because he was instrumental in helping to end communism in Eastern Europe. This meant that I was reunited with my grandparents when the Iron Curtain fell. I hadn’t seen them since I was four years old.”
Klarfeld describes the work as “light-hearted but reverential. Hopefully it will inspire miracles”. The grouping of five bronze figures weighs one tonne and took Klarfeld two years to create.
The unique artwork can be viewed daily at St Patrick’s Cathedral, 1 Marist Place, Parramatta.
For more images of the event, please visit: Flickr
The amice – a liturgical vestment worn by Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP (pictured below) during the statue unveiling, was originally worn by then Pope John Paul II at a mass he celebrated in Christchurch, New Zealand during his 1986 Oceania Papal Tour.
I came into possession of this amice when at the time, as a Marist priest, I assisted in the organisation of the New Zealand leg of that papal tour.
My job as sacristan to the tour was to look after and set up all the vestments worn by the Pope, his visiting entourage, and the New Zealand Bishops who concelebrated at the public masses in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
It is only fitting now, 29 years later, it was worn by Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP during the blessing of the statues dedicated to St John Paul II.
Geoff Officer, Chief of Operations & Finance, Diocese of Parramatta