The unusual gift will be presented to the Pope when he meets with the youth in Yonkers, and is the fruit of a skateboard design contest for local youth.
The Archdiocese of New York has been holding a contest to design the best “Official Papal Skateboard”.
At least 70 children have entered the competition. The winner will receive three tickets to a youth rally at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, New York, where organizers hope to present a skateboard bearing the design to the Pope. Replicas with the winning design will be sold for charity.
NY1 News reported one entrant’s account. Kristina Melendez said, “I put ‘Christ Our Hope’ in Latin, because that was the main language of the church back then.”
“Christ our Hope” is the motto of the papal visit.
Father Peter Pomposello, one of the organizers of the event, spoke about the purpose behind the contest. “This was a vehicle for the children to learn about who the pope is,” Pomposello said, according to NY1 News. “What do the symbols on his flag mean? What does that motto ‘Christ our hope’ mean?”
He said the papal motto has a special meaning for young people. “They have hopes and dreams of growing up and he is showing them that their hope is answered in Jesus,” he said.
Father Pomposello told the New York Post that a skateboarding club at his parish suggested the idea.
"One of the kids said, 'Why don't we give him a skateboard?' and, boom, it was on," the pastor said.
Father Pomposello wrote a letter to contestants on March 31, telling them that their artwork is a reflection of their faith.
“To borrow from the words of Pope John Paul II,” he wrote, “your artwork ‘is an echo of the mystery of creation with which God, the sole creator of all things, has wished in some way to associate you.’ Many of your designs are far more than just passing symbols of pop-culture. Your artwork is a means of spreading Pope Benedict's message of hope to inspire all who have experienced your work.”
“Your participation in this contest,” the priest continued, “proves the love you have for Jesus Christ and His Church and your desire to witness to that love. The base and negative culture which at times is associated with skateboarding is simply blown away with the breath of the Holy Spirit through your artwork.”
Board designs will be put on display at the web site boardpusher.com, where viewers can have a skateboard made from a design they like.The Archdiocese of New York has dedicated a web page to the contest at http://www.archny.org/papalvisit/papal-skateboard-art-design-contest/ .
Internet readers may vote on the three finalists’ designs at http://www.papalskateboardjudge.com/
until one minute after midnight on April 12.
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