Guam – In preparation for the Beatification of Pope John Paul II on May 1, the Archdiocese of Agaña is launching an island wide effort to restore the bronze statue of Pope John Paul II located on Chalan Santo Papa, near the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Hagåtña. Recently, the maintenance and care of the statue and surrounding areas was entrusted to the Cathedral-Basilica from the Government of Guam.
The statue, which is at least 25 years old, memorializes the Holy Father’s pastoral visit to Guam from February 22-23 in 1981, marking the first and only visit of a pope to Guam and the Marianas. At one point, the life-size replica of Pope John Paul II made full rotations throughout the day by a mechanical motor installed beneath the statue. Because of inclement weather and at least two major typhoons, the motor was forced out of commission.
Restoration of the statue will require its removal from the site. The Archdiocese of Agaña is blessed to have partnered with International Bridge Corporation (IBC) and other local companies to begin the daunting task of preparing the statue to be air-freighted and restored off-island. IBC will use a crane to detach the statue from the motor and base and then carefully crate the statue for transport.
Due to the time-sensitive nature of the project, the statue will be flown to Thailand, where friends of the Archdiocese of Agaña, who own a foundry and specialize in bronze production, will assess and restore the statue. The motor will also be worked on in tandem with the statue.
Establishing a power source, upgrading electrical and lighting features, improving the landscape, and rebuilding the base for the statue are additional plans included in the overall restoration project.
The effort to revitalize the statue and surrounding area aims to be an island wide project initiated by Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron, O.F.M. Cap., D.D. Restoration plans and details will be overseen and coordinated by Monsignor James L.G. Benavente, Rector of the Cathedral-Basilica.
Archbishop Apuron and Monsignor Benavente are seeking community support and contributions from businesses, organizations, families, and individuals to defray the costs of bringing to life, once again, such a historic and memorable symbol of faith and culture on Guam.