Sep 26, 2015

Pope Francis Signs Mural, "The Sacred Now"

by: Carly Rapaport-Stein

Mural Arts believes at its core that art ignites change, and that the connective power of art is transformative and inspiring. It’s only fitting, then, that in creating The Sacred Now, Mural Arts has seen connection and transformation. We are delighted to be a part of this moment as families from all over the globe pour into Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families, and have touched the lives of almost 2,500 people directly through our paint days, breaking the Guinness Book of World records and inspiring many with the mural’s depiction of unity and love.

Now, we are honored and delighted to announce that the mural has been signed by Pope Francis.

Pope Francis is a unifying figure, speaking of love, family, and the connection between all people, and we are humbled and overjoyed to have Pope Francis’ touch as a permanent part of the mural. Murals like this, helped by so many hands from so many different backgrounds, unite people as they work towards a common goal: paint together, and contribute to the beauty and living history of Philadelphia. There is always a pride and joy that painters carry with them, able to point to the wall and say, “I helped to make that!”

And now, all who helped to paint this mural will have an extra special moment of pride when they speak of their work: they helped to paint a mural that Pope Francis lent his hand to as well.

Students presented Pope Francis with a three foot by fifteen foot panel of the mural, the portion of the mural that depicts Julie, a young girl with Down Syndrome, and Pope Francis signed his name. Earlier in the day Mural Arts artist Cesar Viveros spoke movingly in front of the crowd about his hope and wish for happiness for all immigrants who seek a better life, a life of following and fulfilling dreams, and a life where all families “enjoy peaceful sleep knowing that their families are safe under one roof…united instead of divided by steel fences and concrete walls.”

The mural will be housed on the side of St. Malachy School at 11th and Thompson in Philadelphia, and is reflective of the diversity found in the city. Students from St. Malachy are depicted on the walls, as are members of local parishes. Mural Arts is represented too: artist Cesar Viveros’ son, Maximilian, is a part of the mural’s design, as is Nya, the granddaughter of Cathy Harris, Mural Arts staff member and the project manager for The Sacred Now.

This is a truly special day for everyone at Mural Arts, and for all who have painted, collaborated, and grown with us. We couldn’t be more excited to share in today’s historic celebration, and look forward to completing installation of The Sacred Now in the coming months.

Photos by Bradley Maule.

Last updated: Jan 27, 2016

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