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Rome Reports

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Addition John Paul II made to St. Peter’s Square


St. Peter’s Square was not always like this. The cobblestones that cover the ground, the famous “sanpietrini,” were placed centuries after the completion of Bernini’s famous colonnade.

On Dec. 8, 1981, John Paul II added the final touch to the square. The addition was this mosaic dedicated to Mary “Mater Ecclesiae,” Mother of the Church, and bearing his apostolic motto “Totus Tuus,” “Totally yours.”

It was inspired by one of the oldest images found inside the basilica.

John Paul II placed it there to give thanks to the Blessed Virgin for her intercession in saving his life in the assassination attempt on May 13, 1981.

He recalled that during a Univ Congress, one university student suggested including an image of the Blessed Virgin because among all the statues in the square, not a single one was dedicated to her.

Claudia Torres