The 100-foot-high crucifix had been erected to commemorate the visit of Pope John Paul II to the region in 1998. On Wednesday, April 23, during a ceremony preceding this weekend’s canonization ceremony for Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII, the 1,320-pound sculpture of Christ broke off the curved cross, fell and broke apart.
The cross had been designed by Italian sculptor Enrico Job, who died in 2008. Job had crafted the curved cross as a remembrance of John Paul II’s visit to nearby Brescia.
According to the Daily Mail, 21-year-old Marco Gusmini had been visiting the area with a church group from his home town of Bergamo. The young people had been preparing to enjoy a picnic lunch when they heard crunching noises coming from the cross. They fled in all directions; but Gusmini, unfortunately, ran in the wrong direction. He was killed immediately, and another young man was injured by the falling statue.
Cevo’s Mayor Silvio Citroni called the accident “an unexplainable tragedy” and noted that maintenance work had been carried out on the cross last summer. Citroni added, “This is a place for pilgrimages and family visits. We never imagined that something like this could happen.”