Ceremony closes Knotted Grotto site at Cathedral

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A bittersweet ceremony was held outside the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, bringing an end to the Knotted Grotto. (WPVI)

Wednesday morning's closing ceremony officially brought an end to the Knotted Grotto at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.

The public art installation, which was the work of Sister Mary Scullion and the Homeless Advocacy group Project Home, closed with an interfaith blessing after having spent the past few weeks helping people find peace, hope and healing.

It's covered in almost 150,000 knots, on which people wrote their struggles, prayers, and intentions.

"In some way I wish the grotto could stay here," said Father Dennis Gill, Rector of the Basilica.

But as it is taken down with care, it does so with the blessing of Pope Francis, who made a special stop to pray for every burden, hope and wish.

"Our prayers were answered and Pope Francis came here and he blessed all of our knots and struggles," said Sister Mary Scullion.

The Knotted Grotto was a nod to one of Pope Francis' favorite baroque paintings, Mary, Undoer of Knots, and the message that need each other and faith to loosen the knots that bind us.

But it's hardly the end for the Knotted Grotto, it's more like a beginning. The physical structure itself, the dome, will have a new home at the brand new Francis Home of Peace opening at 18th and Arch Streets in just a few weeks.

All of these intentions will be saved and used as insulation for a brand new project home facility on North Broad Street next year.

"These knots will keep many people warm for many years to come and there will be glass so people can read and pray for some of the knots too," said Sister Mary Scullion.

Project Home also announced that $1.4 million dollars were donated to the Francis Fund, which was created in honor of the pope's visit to Philadelphia.

The money raised will directly impact the lives of people in need who are struggling with hunger, homelessness, and poverty in Philadelphia and Camden.

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