César Viveros completes record-breaking mural
Developed through countless community paint sessions starting in June, the mural “The Sacred Now: Faith and Family in the 21st Century” was dedicated Monday morning at St. Malachy school at 1419 North 11th St.
Its creator, Mexican muralist César Viveros, described it as the the “mother of all the murals,” an opportunity to create diversity, integration and representation through the project.
“I want to take this moment to thank everyone who helped: all the workers, all the painters who spent many hours working on the wall. Special thanks to my family who supported me and people who took care of my kids while I was working,” Viveros said.
The artist recounted that the last panels of the mural were painted three weeks ago in Hamburg, Germany. Viveros told the story of a 16-year-old volunteer who embodied the commitment and faith of the thousands of people that made the mural possible.
“It was her birthday but she couldn’t celebrate it. She told her mom that the only thing that she wanted for her birthday was to be able to paint the panels for the mural of the Pope,” Viveros said. “That is how much faith, passion and love she had. Her mother had to drive 400 miles from one city to the other just so she could participate. It is something that really moved me and I really appreciate the 3,000 people who were able to get together and move all that energy to create that piece that belongs to everyone.”
During the World Meeting of Families Congress, Philadelphia welcomed a record crowd of more than 20,000 delegates from more than 100 nations. And now the mural itself is on track to earn a Guinness World Record for “Most Contributions to a Painting by Numbers.”
“We will never forget how people throughout the region came together in unison to work collaboratively,” said Donna Crilley Farrell, executive director of World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia 2015. “To date more than 2,700 people, including pilgrims from around the world during the congress, helped to lovingly paint the mural. Even Pope Francis, who signed one of the panels during the Festival of Families, joined the fun and made this an even more incredible mural.”
The artwork developed to honor Pope Francis visit to Philly was made possible through a collaboration between The Mural Arts Program and the World Meeting of Families.
“This mural no longer belongs to the Mural Arts Program and it no longer belongs to César. It will live on as an icon, as an inspiration and as a continuing source of pride, joy and a reminder of all that Pope Francis’ stands for,” said Jane Golden, the Mural Arts Program executive director.