From now until May, hundreds of thousands of people from across the globe are expected to visit Lubbock to see a once in a lifetime exhibit. For the first time ever, the Vatican has loaned out hundreds of historic papal artifacts honoring the life and legacy of Pope John Paul II.
The exhibit is being featured at the Diocese of Lubbock. However, it would never have come to the Hub City if not for the dedication of Lubbock priest Malcolm Neyland.
Father Neyland is a Lubbock native and a priest with the Diocese of Lubbock. About a year and a half ago, he was called upon by the Vatican's Secretary of State to prepare an exhibit for Pope John Paul II.
"I never expected that 7 years after his death, the Secretary of State (at the Vatican) would ask me to be responsible for caring for his personal objects," Neyland said.
Neyland is the Director of the National Exhibits Association and has done five Vatican exhibits in America. This exhibit of Pope John Paul II is the most extensive as the Vatican has allowed more than 100 personal effects of the late pope to travel to Lubbock for the display.
"I wanted very much for that venue to be in my hometown where I was brought up and raised," Neyland said.
The exhibit is broken down into four parts, covering everything from Pope John Paul's childhood, rise to the papacy, through his days as pope and death.
"People will be overwhelmed. It's almost like you can feel the charisma of this world leader when you go to the venue," Neyland said.
Neyland and curators have been working into the night trying to set everything up. It's a lot of hard work, but a labor of love, especially for Neyland. He says he feels humbled and blessed to be dealt this task.
"You will leave different, as if you have finished a pilgrimage that gives strength, courage and perseverance that this man had," Neyland said.
For more information about the exhibit visit: http://www.nationalexhibits.org/
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