Carpenters Honored to Craft Pope Francis' Chair for NYC Mass - NBC 10 Philadelphia
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Carpenters Honored to Craft Pope Francis' Chair for NYC Mass



    (Published Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015)

    Pope Francis' chair for his mass at Madison Square Garden next month is in the process of being constructed in a Westchester County garage by a group of carpenters, a project they're calling the biggest honor they've received. 

    "You can't describe it, it's emotional. I'm feeling so good," said Hector Rojas of Don Bosco Workers in Port Chester, one of the immigrants and day laborers helping to craft the chair. 

    "It's more than a chair, it's a spiritual connection we have," he said. "That's what I feel, that's what I think." 

    The finished chair will be light brown with a white back. There's no gold or elaborate design on the chair, and that's intentional. It's not a throne, workers say -- it's a humble chair for a pope who wants a more humble church. 

    "The Holy Father likes things simple," said Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, who went to the Don Bosco workshop Thursday to thank the carpenters personally. "He doesn't like a lot of expense." 

    Dolan added that the workers were chosen for a reason. 

    "Wouldn't it be good if we could have some young people who are particularly close to the heart of Pope Francis? Some of our immigrant workers, some of our young people who are troubled," he said.

    Dolan also traveled to Lincoln Hall Boys Haven, in Lincolndale, New York, where young men there are building an altar and lectern the pope will use at the Mass. 

    It's not clear what will happen to the chair after the Pope leaves, but the chair used by Pope Benedict at Yankee Stadium in 2008 went back to the same place it was made, the E. Gargiulo and Sons Workshop in Mount Vernon. Henry Garguilo said that feeling of pride will never go away. 

    "When I reach Saint Peter, he'll say, 'Henry, did you do that? OK, come on in!'" he said.