Pope Francis-signed mural up for Guinness World Record

MuralPopeSign_BradleyMaule
Pope Francis signs 'The Sacred Now,' a mural that will be installed at Saint Malachy School in North Philadelphia. It is in contention for the Guinness Record for most contributions to a painting by numbers (Bradley Maule)

Pope Francis is about to best ... Homer Simpson.

The pope signed a mural called The Sacred Now: Faith and Family in the 21st Century on Saturday night, making him one of more than 2700 people to participate in creating the mural.

Pope Francis' addition puts The Sacred Now in the running for the Guinness World Record for most contributions to a painting by numbers. The current distinction is held by the FXX Network on July 27, 2014 who had 2,263 people contribute to paint by numbers of The Simpsons. A spokesperson for Mural Arts Program, who created the mural in conjunction with the World Meeting of Families, said a rep for the Guinness World Records certified that The Sacred Now triumphed over The Simpsons mural, but could not make it official until the mural was installed.

The Sacred Now will be installed at the future site of Saint Malachy School at 11th and Thompson streets in North Philadelphia. 

So how does the pope sign a mural from the Parkway that will be erected two miles away? Murals are not actually painted at the site where they are installed. Instead, an outline is painted on five by five foot piece of parachute cloth by the artist (in this case, it's Philadelphia mural artist Cesar Viveros) so that anyone, no matter their artistic skill level, can contribute. 

The Sacred Now was painted via 16 different paint days around the region, taking place everywhere from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and Father Judge High School, among other locations, by about 1000 painters. More than 1700 people who attended the World Meeting of Families were also given opportunities to contribute. The parachute cloth is treated, transported to the site, touched up the by the artist, and put up like strips of wallpaper.