LUBBOCK, Texas — Promoters of a traveling exhibit of artifacts and memorabilia belonging to Pope John Paul II unveiled two items from the pontiff’s life last week that will be on display when the show opens in Texas next year.
The exhibit will include the coat of arms of John Paul — made up of 21 different types of wood — and a portrait of him in later years waving his right hand.
The show, called “I Have Come to You Again,” opens March 15 in Lubbock in West Texas before going on to St. Louis and Washington, D.C., later in 2013. Dates for the stops after Lubbock are not yet set.
The pope’s influence on the world is “undeniable,” even years after his death in 2005, said the Rev. Malcolm Neyland, a longtime Lubbock-area priest and executive director of the Lubbock-based nonprofit putting on the exhibit.
“This is indeed a first,” he said. “Never has the Roman Catholic Church, in hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years, offered this many objects and artifacts of a former pontiff.”
Exhibit items will come from the Vatican, Poland and 28 other museums and private collections. Artifacts include the skis and Mass kit that John Paul used on mountain backpacking trips, gifts and art objects presented to him by heads of state and artwork he collected.
There also will be pictures and mementos from his childhood and pontificate and historic documents from his papacy. Neyland said the blood-stained shirt John Paul wore when he was shot in 1981 in St. Peter’s Square and part of the Berlin Wall also will be displayed.
Four phases will be covered: his childhood and adolescence in Poland from 1920 to 1938 when he was Karol Wojtyla; his years as a laborer, priest, bishop, archbishop and cardinal in his native land from 1939 to 1978; his time as the first Polish Pope of the Roman Catholic Church; and his death through his beatification last year.