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Statue of Pope Francis to be unveiled during Mass commemorating Borderland visit

Friday marks one year since Pope Francis’ historic visit to the Borderland.

In recognition of the anniversary, a 20-foot bronze statue of the pope will be unveiled Friday at 6:30 p.m. by Bishop Jose Torres Campos during a Mass.

The Mass will be held at 5 p.m. at El Punto where Pope Francis delivered his message to hundreds of thousands of people on Feb. 17, 2016.

The statue was created by sculptor Pedro Francisco Rodriguez, who began the piece a year ago. The statue shows Pope Francis in his traditional attire, holding a dove.

Juarez Chamber of Commerce president Alejandro Ramirez said people were able to contribute to the piece by donating any object made of bronze. Collection stations were set up at shopping malls throughout the city last year.

Salvador Perches, owner of Perches Funeral Homes, donated time and labor to building the base of the statue and covering it with marble and granite. He said other businesses from Juarez also contributed to the project.

Perches said he believes the statue is a symbol of hope and comfort to all of those who see it.

“When we were asked to construct the altar for the Pope in 2015, we were honored and took the task on as a religious mission. When we began working on the base of this statue, the work became something more. We were building the foundation for a statue that commemorates the Pope's visit and serves as a lasting reminder that we are blessed each and every day we are on this earth, " Perches said.

Perches said the statue is the biggest statue built of Pope Francis to date. He said Rodriguez used 22,000 pounds of bronze to build it.

“It’s just beautiful, beautiful work. I can’t wait for people to see it,” Perches said

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