John Paul Crucifix Falls on Pilgrim, Crushing Him to Death

Friday, 25 Apr 2014 03:14 PM

By Michael Mullins

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A crucifix dedicated to the late Pope John Paul II fell on a pilgrim and crushed him to death ahead of John Paul's canonization by the Roman Catholic Church on Sunday, along with Pope John XXIII.

The tragic incident occurred during a ceremony in the northern Italian village of Cevo. The victim, a 21-year-old Italian man named Marco Gusmini, was said to have been posing for a photo with friends in front of the 100-foot-tall crucifix when it came crashing down on him, Britain's Telegraph reported.

Calling it "an unexplainable tragedy," Cevo Mayor Silvio Citroni told reporters that "The young people were making a snack for lunch and when they heard the crunching noises coming from the cross they fled in all directions. Unfortunately Marco ran in the wrong direction."

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"This is a place for pilgrimages and family visits. We never imagined that something like this could happen," Citrioni added. "A young life, so many hopes destroyed."

The curved cross, which contained a 20ft-high, 1,320 pound statue of Christ the Redeemer, had been designed by sculptor Enrico Job in honor of John Paul II's 1998 visit to Brescia, in Italy's Lombardy region, The New Zealand Herald reported. The crucifix had been located in Cevo since 2005.

"The news has really shaken me," Job's widow Lina Wertmuller told Ansa news agency, Australia's ABC News reported. "My thoughts go to the poor boy and his family."

"That cross was a great symbol for Italy, a symbol of protection," Wertmuller added. "But all that seems silly in the face of this terrible tragedy."

In an ironic coincidence, Gusmini is reportedly from the Italian town of Lovere, where he lives with his parents on the street Via Papa Giovanni XXIII, which translates into Pope John XXIII Street.

Editor’s Note: Do You Approve of Pope Francis? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

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