A unique take on the papal chair

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Thursday 02, September 2010 | Category:  

THE POPE'S chair under construction
Some teachers in Coventry, England are doing their part to give the beatification Mass of Cardinal John Henry Newman a sense of hometown flavor. During the Mass on September 9, Pope Benedict XVI will sit on a chair designed and crafted by Ian Hall, deputy head at Cardinal Newman School, who had the help of two other staff members. The team has been working for three months to build not only the chair but three altars and a lectern that will also be used for the Mass, says England’s catholicherald.co.uk.

Hall said he wanted people to understand that the project was “not just about making pieces of furniture. I’m a golf fanatic and for me it’s like being asked to play in the Ryder Cup," he said. It’s a way of giving something back to the faith. My children will be able to see it and say ‘my dad made that’.”

The eight-foot chair will be fitted with stained-glass panels depicting the images on the papal coat of arms: a bear, a Moor’s head, and the keys of Saint Peter. The scallop shell on the velour cover is also taken from the papal crest. The three altars, which will be finished next week, will be made out of white ash and also have stained glass. Side by side they will measure 18 feet across.

Hall got involved in the project after Father Timothy Menezes, parish priest of St. Thomas More in Coventry, asked the school’s head teacher if she knew anyone who was up to the job. The designs were approved by officials at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

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