PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pope Francis was joined by children and artists on stage during the Festival of Families Saturday night to sign a mural created to honor his historic visit to Philadelphia.
“Thank you Holy Father. This mural will be a lasting testament to the World Meeting of Families and your visit. From all of us here tonight, we thank you and we say together God bless Pope Francis,” said Archbishop Charles Chaput.
Officials say the mural was created by the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 and The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.
Titled The Sacred Now: Faith and Family in the 21st Century, the mural has been on a unique journey.
Since the beginning of June, officials say more than 2,700 people, representing more than 100 countries, have painted the mural.
Officials say the 4,239-square-foot work of art was designed by renowned Mural Arts Program muralist Cesar Viveros, and inspired by the theme of the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015, “Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.”
The mural, created from 153 individual panels measuring 5’ x 5’, will be installed across three sections of the building comprising Saint Malachy School in Philadelphia and become the final mural.
Prior to the opening of the World Meeting of Families on September 22, officials say 942 individuals participated in the creation of the mural. Select panels were reserved so that the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 Congress participants from around the world could participate in painting portions of the mural at the Pennsylvania Convention Center from September 22-25.
Officials say the Guinness World Records title for Most Contributions to a Painting by Numbers was set in 2014 by 2,263 people. Officials say the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 and the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, with an official adjudicator for Guinness World Records in attendance, surpassed that total when a family painted the mural on the final day of the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 Congress. Officials say the family journeyed by car more than 13,000 miles, across 13 countries, to travel to Philadelphia.
While the final number has yet to be confirmed by Guinness World Records, officials say by the time of its completion, it is estimated that over 2,700 people will have had a hand in bringing the mural to life using 330 gallons of mural paint, 565 shades of color hand-mixed by the artist, and 1,606,688 brushstrokes.
Officials say it is anticipated that this vibrant piece of public art will be completed in November 2015 and will be formally dedicated in a public ceremony, with the potential bestowing of the Guinness World Records title.