On Thursday, Cardinal Timothy Dolan thanked the workers and students building Pope Francis' chair, altar, pulpit and linens for the mass the Pontiff will lead at Madison Square Garden next month. Michael Herzenberg has the story from Westchester County.
Skilled craftsmen are sawing and sanding for a spiritual purpose.
"We almost finished this part," said Gonzalo Cruz, who is among those building the chair for Pope Francis' mass in Madison square garden next month.
"I'm so proud of this project, it's like a... this is something God sent to us. It shows the people this is building for the immigrant community," he said.
Cruz crossed the border from Mexico to the United States years ago. He was an undocumented day laborer.
"I was a victim. People, they hired me, and they don't pay me," he said.
Now he's on the path to citizenship and works with Don Bosco Workers Inc., a non-profit group affiliated with Catholic Charities that helps to train day laborers and other low-income workers and place them in fair-wage jobs.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan chose the group to build the chair and stitch the linens for the Pope's visit. He thanked the workers Thursday at their workshop in Port Chester and said the Pope told him the design should be simple.
"So what we thought is we could combine those two goals–the simplicity that Pope Francis wanted with his love and care for those who have a particular burden in life," Cardinal Dolan said.
"I never expected to ever be on a project this important," said William Kelly, who teaches wood shop at Lincoln Hall Boys' Haven, a vocational school and accredited high school for juvenile delinquents in northern Westchester. The school is affiliated with Catholic Charities.
Kelly and his three best students are building the alter and the pulpit for the Pontiff's mass at Madison Square Garden.
"We got the measurements and everything done, so all we had to do was put it together, cut it out, stain it, sand it," said one 16-year-old student-builder. He wouldn't say how he broke the law, just that he made bad choices but is trying to look at life differently. This might help.
"It's an honor to do it, and I feel proud to be doing it," he said.
The bonus here is all those working on these pieces will get to see Pope Francis put his hands on their handiwork, as they are attending the mass at Madison Square Garden.