For probably the first time in the world, a fairground will host an exhibition on a Pope, paying homage to John Paul II’s vitality and his capacity to embrace suffering, and also reflecting moments of joy and healthy amusement.
The fairground is in Valmontone, 45 kilometers (30 miles) from Rome. Inaugurated in 2011, in its second season the park had almost one million visitors.
On May 18, which would have been Karol Wojtyła’s 93rd birthday, the Rainbow Magic Land fairground will open the exhibition “To the Altar of God,” which includes photographs, videos and audio fragments of Pope John Paul II’s most famous addresses.
“When it was suggested that we receive the exhibition on Wojtyla, initially we were perplexed and we were going to answer no. But then we thought that, in a certain sense, John Paul II’s life was like a ‘montagne russe’ [Russian mountain – a gigantic roller coaster at the park] and this was the meaning. All of us, believers and non-believers, followed with great expectation his ascent to the summit of the millennium, holding our breath and launching ourselves with him into the new century. From the fall of the wall to dialogue with other religions, to the request for forgiveness for the sins of the Church, to his extreme agony, no one like him has been able to transmit at the same time security and emotions,” said Stefano Cigarini, administrator delegate of Rainbow MagicLand.
The initiative highlights John Paul II’s closeness with children, young people and families, the privileged guests of the fairground, in the perspective of the New Evangelization, so desired by Pope Francis, who invites the Church to “come out of herself.”
Until Oct. 22, 2013, the liturgical feast of Blessed John Paul II, in the Park at the Planetarium 4D adjacent to the Castle of Alfea, it will be possible to hear and see again Blessed John Paul II, through his videos and pictures, organized and updated in five sections, together with the sculptures of Ann Gualk, author of the work “The Pilgrim Pope.”
This exhibition officially opened in the celebration in Rome for the Pontiff’s beatification in 2011. The exhibition will arrive in Valmontone from Madrid and Warsaw, where it was received by Cardinals Antonio Rouco Varela and Kazimierz Nycz.