USA Today recently profiled Father Bob Simon, who built a replica of the Vatican out of Legos.
Father Simon, pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Church in Moscow, Pennsylvania, first attempted the project in grade school, but it “didn’t look anything like the real thing,” he said. Ever since, he had wanted to build a more realistic model of the Vatican and St. Peter’s Square, and when Pope Francis’ visit to the United States was announced, it seemed like the right time to try again.
In September 2014, he began the building process. It took about 10 months and nearly half a million Legos, but the end result was good enough to be featured in a display at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. According to Larry Dubinski, president and CEO of the Franklin Institute, the replica and other Lego creations have brought “record crowds” in this summer.
The replica features a figure of the pope waving to a crowd along with figures of nuns with iPhones. Even a figure of Elvis is included. Father Simon said, "St. Peter's Square is one of those places where people from all over the world come together."
He compared the repetitive process of building the replica to praying the rosary. "While your hands are busy, your mind and heart are elsewhere," he said. "It frees up the mind."