'Knot' sculpture to greet Pope Francis at Basilica

EAST FALLS (WPVI) -- Next month's visit by Pope Francis to Philadelphia is sure to leave a lasting impact on the city, and anyone who gets to see him. But when he leaves, one reminder of the pope's presence here will stand out above the rest... literally.

20 feet wide and 13 feet tall, the work of art will be on display for the world to see. But there's also hope that it will catch the eye of Pope Francis.

Dan Ostrov is the lead artist of the piece, which is called "Knot Grotto."

Ostrov says, "The purpose of the structure is it's a visual representation of people's prayers and struggles that they go through in life."

Meg Saligman is overseeing all of the official artwork being prepared for the pope's visit.

She says the theme of the knots is based on one of Pope Francis' favorite paintings, tiled "Mary Undoer of Knots."

Saligman says, "Our contemporary interpretation of this tradition is the knotted grotto of Mary clearing pathways for people to help them with their struggle."

People are encouraged to send their "knot", or prayer slip with their struggle written on, which will be interwoven onto the structure.

Mary Lou Klein and her husband brought their knots asking for prayer for family members and world peace.

"Mary can do everything, that's the way we feel. This is just a visible sign," Mary Lou said.

People from all over the world are submitting their knots or their struggles to be a part of this artwork that will be on display during the pope's visit.

So far, tens of thousands have already submitted their knots, and they expect that number to only grow.

The wooden sculpture was commissioned by Sister Mary Scullion along with the Mercy and Justice initiative.

It will be moved from its garage in the city's East Falls section to the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, where it will be part of a larger art display that opens next week.
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