Statue of John Paul II to Adorn Gemelli Hospital

ROME, JUNE 23, 2009 ( The hospital that Pope John Paul II jokingly referred to as “Vatican III,” the third papal residence, will be decorated with a statue in honor of the Polish Pontiff.

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The statue, work of the Tuscan sculptor Stefano Pierotti, will be blessed June 30 by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, John Paul II’s longtime personal secretary.

Pierotti has named his work “Be Not Afraid,” one of the Pope’s most often-expressed exhortations, proclaimed from the very beginning of his pontificate in 1978.

The statue will be placed in the patio near the main entrance of the Gemelli, where John Paul II stayed nine times between May 13, 1981, (the day of the assassination attempt) and March 2005, shortly before his death.

John Paul II looked over this patio when he came to the window of his 10th floor room to pray the Sunday midday Angelus, or bless the faithful. On one of those occasions — during a stay in 1996 — he dubbed the hospital Vatican III: the third papal residence after the Apostolic Palace in Rome and the summer home in Castel Gandolfo.

The mayor of Rome is expected to attend the unveiling of the statue.

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