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September 26, 2015

Pope Francis leaves his grace-filled signature on Philadelphia

Mural Arts Pope Francis
Francis mural World Meeting of Families/for PhillyVoice

Pontiff signs mural dedicated to him.

During the final moments of the Festival of Families celebration on the Ben Franklin Parkway Saturday night, Pope Francis added his own touch to Philadelphia’s storied mural collection.

The pontiff joined children and artist Cesar Viveros on the festival stage in finishing a mural created to commemorate his Philadelphia visit by adding his own simple signature: Francis.

More than 2,700 people, representing more than 100 countries, participated in painting the mural, named "The Sacred Now: Faith and Family in the 21st Century," which will be installed across three sections of the building at Saint Malachy School in North Philadelphia.

The 4,239-square-foot mural was constructed using individual panels that “allowed people across the region and the world to participate in painting the mural,” during various “Paint Days” at various Catholic schools and shelters and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, officials said.

Artist Cesar Viveros shakes hands with Pope Francis before the pontiff signed mural dedicated to him. (World Meeting of Families)

The number of people participating in painting the mural was so large, it shattered the previous Guinness World Record for the Most Contributions to a Painting by Numbers, though the final number hasn’t been certified by Guinness yet.

In all, creating the mural took 330 gallons of mural paint, 565 shades of color hand-mixed by Viveros, and 1,606,688 brushstrokes.