A young pilgrim has been crushed to death by a giant crucifix dedicated to Pope John Paul II.
The 100ft curved wooden cross collapsed during a ceremony in northern Italy days before the former Pope’s canonisation.
Marco Gusmini, 21, on a visit with other young Catholics to the Alpine village of Cevo, was killed instantly.
The 100ft high wooden cross, supporting a 90 stone statue of Jesus, created when John Paul II visited the area in 1998, fell suddenly following a few crunches.
Mayor Silvio Citroni said the accident was ‘an unexplainable tragedy’. ‘A young life, so many hopes destroyed,’ he added.
‘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.
‘This is a place for pilgrimages and family visits. We never imagined that something like this could happen.’ Mr Citroni said maintenance work had been carried out on the crucifix last summer.
Mr Gusmini had been visiting the area with a church group from his home town of Bergamo, where – ironically – he lived on a street named after Pope John XXIII, according to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
The tragedy will inevitably be seen as an ill omen for Sunday’s celebration when John Paul II is to be declared a saint, along with Italian pope John XXIII.
Some 800,000 Catholic pilgrims from around the world are expected to journey to Rome to celebrate the double canonisation.
Some 800,000 Catholic pilgrims from around the world are expected to journey to Rome to celebrate John Paul II’s, pictured, canonisation.
The curved cross, with a statue of Jesus weighing 1,320lb fixed to the top, was designed by sculptor Enrico Job in honour of John Paul II’s visit to Brescia, in Lombardy, in 1998. It was installed in a scenic location near Cevo in 2005.
The crucifix was anchored with cables intended to represent the scars of the Second World War.
This is not the first death caused by a falling crucifix in Italy.
In 2004 a 72-year-old woman was crushed to death by a 7ft metal crucifix in the southern town of Sant’Onofrio, Calabria.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2612401/Thats-bad-sign-100ft-crucifix-built-honour-John-Paul-II-collapses-crushes-man-death-just-two-days-canonization.html#ixzz2zstlo9Cf
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