CHICAGO (CBS) — Just a few months after Pope John Paul II was canonized as a saint, a north suburban cemetery has honored his 1979 visit to Chicago with a free-form memorial sculpture.

WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports the free-standing column shows the late pope in carved marble relief over a background view of Chicago, along with blue and gold mosaics of religious icons, and is visible from the road alongside Maryhill Cemetery in Niles.

“It is 32 feet tall. It’s 4 feet wide by 4 feet. It’s carved, so you have two images of John Paul with his arms up in the air, and his lovely smile on his face. And then, below him are mosaic tiles of his visits to Chicago,” said Roman Szabelski, Executive Director of Catholic cemeteries for the Archdiocese of Chicago.

It’s a definite change from the typical representational religious statue.

“We asked the artist to give us something different, something unique that would be depicting John Paul II; because we’ve already seen so many statues of him and his typical upright hand with his crosier and his flowing vestments,” Szabelski said. “I really wanted them to do something creative, but yet I really wanted them to remember his visits to Chicago, and to really stress both the Polish and the Hispanic dedications to Mary that he had under the titles of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Our Lady of Częstochowa.”

Szabelski said the sculpture honoring John Paul II’s declaration as a saint will be formally dedicated Saturday at Maryhill.

“The shrine is by the front gate of the cemetery, and there’s no graves in the space right now. It’s land that will be opened as a cemetery section,” he said. “Anytime I’ve driven through, or the manager has been out there, there are always people around the shrine.”