THE POPE'S NY CHAIR

Announcement

Even after attaining the exalted position as a prince of the Church, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio never

followed his fellow cardinals on their frequent visits to the United States. The Argentine Jesuit was

always too busy tending to the least of his brothers. The poor of whom Mother Teresa said “Each one of

them is Jesus in disguise.” Now holding the Chair of St. Peter, Pope Francis will make his first trip to the

US later this month visiting Washington, New York and Philadelphia. The occasion is the triennial World

Meeting of Families in the City of Brotherly Love but after breakfast with the Obamas, Francis will

address a joint session of Congress, as well as the United Nations General Assembly, and canonize a new

Saint. Interspersed among his official business, the pope will attempt to reach as many Americans as

possible with his message to live simply and love one another.

This pope is unlike any we have seen before, eschewing the pomp and circumstance traditionally

afforded a leader of so many people. He chose humble living quarters over the Apostolic Palace

adorned with Raphael’s frescoes and a modest car over the papal limousine. Francis had to accede to

his security detail’s request to stop taking mass transit around Rome in the early days of his papacy. The

night he was elected he greeted the cheering crowd in St. Peter’s Square with his message of love not

from the papal throne but standing on his feet. He has shown a preference to use a Chair of St. Peter

more like the original and less like Bernini’s masterpiece behind the alter in St. Peter’s Basilica adorned

by a stained glass sunburst highlighting a dove in flight and golden angels held above the Doctors of the

Church. Used by popes centuries ago, Bernini’s chair may be built over the actual chair used by St.

Peter, the original fisher of men, in that first pope’s ministry. Bernini’s Baroque extravagances do not fit

Francis’ style as he fishes to save the souls of his brothers and sisters.

The chair he will use to greet New Yorkers was built by three day laborers in Port Chester hailing from

Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua chosen because of Francis' concern for the poor and

marginalized and his desire for justice in the world. Unveiling the chair this week, New York’s Cardinal

Dolan said "A chair represents unity and a chair represents teaching authority," adding that the pope

wanted a simple wooden chair without any designs. You will not be able to see the chair unless you

have a ticket to the Madison Square Garden mass, but throngs of New Yorkers will undoubtedly turn out

wherever Francis travels hoping to catch a glimpse of the world’s newest superstar. Security will be

tighter than ever but if you want to join the party you can find the pope’s itinerary at this link. Welcome

to New York Pope Francis, we hope you like it enough to come back. BY: Dan Hickey