Pope John Paul II: Portrait of Faith - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Pope John Paul II: Portrait of Faith

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It's been 25 years since Pope John Paul II made his historic visit to New Orleans. Now, the archdiocese pays tribute to that magical time through an exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art.

"Isn't it amazing timing? Everyone is talking about a new pope being elected and we are here to reflect on one of the greatest popes ever in that seat," said Wendy Vitter of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

She said Archbishop Gregory Aymond came up with the idea for the exhibit nine months ago.

"It's like giving birth to a baby," she said "Whether you were here in 1987 or not you can get a feeling of what Pope John Paul was about."

One of the first things the Pope did during his visit at St. Louis Cathedral was dip his hand in the holy water font and bless himself.  Now, St. Louis Cathedral has loaned that font to the museum. Vitter says people who weren't born yet will feel as if they are back in 1987.

Scott Peck of the Museum of Biblical Art in Dallas is guest curator.  "This will involve a chronology of his visit," Peck said. "It has three artists featured, Gip Singleton, Frederick Hart and Fred Villanueva."

From the bed where he slept to a large bowed cross by Gip Singleton.  "This was first chosen by John Paul I, who passed away very quickly. John Paul II loved it too and instituted it," said Peck.

Even some of the vestments the pope wore are on display -- John Paul II's presence in art and in spirit.

"There is truly the hand of God working this exhibit," Vitter said.

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