“Human rights are not only violated by terrorism, repression or assassination, but also by unfair economic structures that create huge inequalities.”
—Pope Francis I (1936– )
The sacred and the profane have occupied the advertising space at the corner of Eighth Avenue and 34th Street, on Manhattan’s west side. Currently, a 225-foot-tall image of Pope Francis I is painted on the side of the building, heralding his upcoming and high-anticipated visit to the Big Apple. DeSales Media Group, the communications and technology arm of the Diocese of Brooklyn, commissioned the mural; it was designed by Israel Ochoa, based on a photo taken by photographer Giulio Napolitano.
This very busy intersection, located near Penn Station and Madison Square Garden, is also where a larger-than-life mural of David Beckham—clad only in a pair of underwear to advertise his newly-launched bodywear line for the H&M department store—was painted. As it was for the black-and-white image of Mr. Beckham, the more colorful picture of the pontiff took two weeks, with the skilled painters usually working from early morning to early evening.
Pope Francis will visit New York from September 24th to the 26th. At 6:45 PM on the 24th, he will hold an evening prayer service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. He starts the following day early, with an 8:30 AM address to the U.N. General Assembly; this year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. The Holy Father will host an interfaith service at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at 11:30 AM; that will be followed by a visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem.
At 5 PM, riding in his Pope Mobile, Pope Francis will lead a procession through Central Park. Those lining the route were winners of in an 80,000-ticket lottery held by the City of New York. Madison Square Garden will be the venue for the 6 PM Mass that the pontiff will celebrate. He will sit in a chair that was built by immigrant day laborers; and the altar, lectern and pulpit were constructed by young men from Lincoln Hall Boys Haven, a shelter for at-risk youth, operated by Catholic Charities in Somers, NY.
The Holy Father will leave on Saturday from JFK Airport on an 8:45 AM flight to Philadelphia, where the main order of business will be attendance at the World Meeting of Families.