.- During his April visit to New York City, Pope Benedict XVI will be the recipient of a unique giftâa papal themed skateboard. 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 âOfficial Papal Skateboardâ. In an effort to include the public, anyone with internet access is now able to vote for their favorite design from amongst the three finalists. http://www.papalskateboardjudge.com/
At least 70 children have entered the competition. The winner will receive three tickets to a youth rally at St. Josephâs 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 entrantâs account. Kristina Melendez said, âI put âChrist Our Hopeâ in Latin, because that was the main language of the church back then.â
âChrist our Hopeâ is the motto of the papal visit.
Father Peter Pomposello, one of the organizers of the event, spoke about the purpose behind the contest. âThis was a vehicle for the children to learn about who the pope is,â Pomposello said, according to NY1 News. âWhat do the symbols on his flag mean? What does that motto âChrist our hopeâ mean?â
He said the papal motto has a special meaning for young people. âThey have hopes and dreams of growing up and he is showing them that their hope is answered in Jesus,â 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.
âTo borrow from the words of Pope John Paul II,â he wrote, âyour artwork âis an echo of the mystery of creation with which God, the sole creator of all things, has wished in some way to associate you.â 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.â
âYour participation in this contest,â the priest continued, âproves 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.â
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 finalistsâ designs at http://www.papalskateboardjudge.com/ until one minute after midnight on April 12.