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Gun used against Pope John Paul II to be exhibited

Mehmet Ali Agca

WARSAW, Poland (AP) - The gun used by a would-be assassin to shoot Pope John Paul II will be on display at a museum dedicated to the pontiff as a sign of God's protection of him, according to a priests in charge of the museum.

John Paul II, who died in 2005, is to be proclaimed as a saint April 27 at the Vatican and the museum is preparing a new exhibition for the occasion.

Monsignor Jacek Pietruszka said Wednesday that many people wonder why trained assassin Mehmet Ali Agca, firing a Browning HP 9mm handgun from close range, injured but did not kill the pope in St. Peter's Square on May 13, 1981.

"We believe that the pope was saved to continue his mission," museum's deputy director Pietruszka told The Associated Press.

The Polish-born pope spent nearly three weeks at a Rome hospital recovering from injuries to his abdomen and from massive loss of blood.

The gun - on three-year lease from Rome's penal authorities - and a replica of the bullet will be among "witnesses" to the happy and sad moments in the late pope's life that will be documented at the multi-media museum in John Paul's childhood home in Wadowice, in southern Poland.

The hospital where he recovered also offered exhibits, Pietruszka said, but refused to specify.

The current, small exhibition at the house where the pope was born in 1920 as Karol Wojtyla, will close this week to give room for the expanded museum that will reopen on April 9.

John Paul pardoned Agca, who was released from prison in 2010.

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Donald March 19 2014 at 10:46 AM

I had the privilege to see Pope John Paul II on several occasions and celebrated Mass with him in his private chapel at the Vatican...afterwards, he gave me a rosary which I treasure. A great saint!

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rauleballie March 19 2014 at 10:14 AM

I wonder what a person like Agca is do in the world NOW, is he in Malaysia!!! I have followed this Pope from day one, He was one of the most interesting people on the planet. The world changed very much when he became the Pope, not just religiously but also politically also,

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lbreamer March 19 2014 at 10:59 AM

The only thing I can think about this is "Why??"

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