Dimensions: 31 in. x 31 in.
Acquisition: Archdiocese of Miami Inc. 2008
Collection: Pope John Paul II Miami Visit 1987
Exhibitions: 10/2008 – Current (Permanent Exhibition)
The Maquette of the Papal Altar (Miami, 1987) is a small preliminary scale model design for Pope John Paul’s pastoral visit to Miami. The altar was constructed as planned in Tamiami Park, Miami on September of 1987.
Miami was the first stop on Pope John Paul II’s six-city visit to the United States on September 10-11, 1987. For a mass to be celebrated by the Pope, a special altar was erected on the Tamiami fairgrounds (adjacent to the campus of Florida International University), with space allocated for a quarter million worshipers. The grounds have been used for other such purposes as being the site where Cuban refugees were processed during the Mariel boatlift and housing the National Guard when they arrived after Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
During a whirlwind 48 hours in South Florida September 10-11, 1987, the pontiff met with local clergy members at St. Mary’s Cathedral and with representatives of all U.S. priests at St. Martha’s Church. He also delivered a greeting in Creole to Haitian Catholics, met with President Ronald Reagan and toured an exhibition of Judaica at the Center for Fine Arts (now the Perez Art Museum – PAMM). For a mass to be celebrated by the pope, a special altar was erected on the Tamiami fairgrounds with space allocated for a quarter million worshippers. The temperatures on the day of the mass were searing hot and the service was eventually interrupted by stormy weather. The service was completed in private but the Pope would later re-emerge to bless those who braved the weather. He then departed for his next stop in Columbia, SC.
Courtesy of The Archdiocese of Miami