How millions of keys in Mexico are being used to honor Pope Francis

Keys Credit Yutaka Seki via Flickr CC BY 20 CNA Keys. | Yutaka Seki via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

A well-known Mexican artist is collecting millions of keys for an unusual reason.

He will use the keys to create a 16-foot-tall bronze statue of Pope Francis.

The statue's design shows Francis holding in his left hand a white dove as it takes flight.

Pedro Francisco Rodriguez, a famous sculptor in the Juarez area, is in charge of the project. To collect the bronze keys, project volunteers have placed containers in different shopping centers. All people who want to participate can drop off their keys there. Any shortfall in material will be completed by donations from local businesses, Father Hesiquio Trevizo, a spokesman for the Diocese of Juarez, said at a January press conference.

Some of the shopping centers chosen include the Rio Grande Mall, Gran Patio Zaragoza, Las Misiones, Galerias Tec, Plaza Monumental, and Plaza las Americas, among others.

The sculptor said he began work in late December. He hopes to have the statue ready by April 2016.

When he is finished, the sculpture will be white, Rodriguez explained.

Fr. Trevizo said that organizers of the project do not know where the statue will be installed. They will search for a place where all the faithful and pilgrims can see and appreciate it.

Pope Francis is visiting Mexico February 12-17. The last city on his schedule is Juarez, which is situated on the U.S. border across from El Paso, Texas.

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