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Pope’s mass in Rizal Park to have huge altar

Evelyn Macairan - The Philippine Star

SAN PEDRO, Laguna, Philippines – Pope Francis will celebrate mass at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila facing an altar twice as big as regular sized altars.

Engineer Robert Cruz said the approximately 1.5-meter high altar is 2 meters wide and 3 meters long.

“It is more than twice the usual size of an altar because (the mass would be held in a big venue and) so it has to be seen from afar for visual impact,” he said.

Cruz owns Vitreartus Liturgical Arts, manufacturer of the altar for the mass at Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park.

Vitreartus was also commissioned to build wooden pieces of art for the mass.

Organizers for the papal visit said they are anticipating 5- to 6-million people at the mass on Jan. 18 at 3:30 p.m.

Cruz had volunteered to build the altar without the Archdiocese of Manila spending a centavo. He estimates that he would be spending more than half a million pesos for the altar.

The papal furniture would be made of Philippine mahogany.

Cruz said he wanted to become a Catholic priest since he was a young boy.

“It is a great honor and (I am) humbled at the same time,” he said. “Just imagine, to be given an opportunity to do something for the pope, that is a lifetime (accomplishment)… When we offered to do everything, we were not thinking of charging for it. It was more of giving back, to give our own contribution, to give our own share to the success of the papal visit.”

Cruz said Vitreartus has temporarily stopped accepting new projects to concentrate on the papal visit.

In his 20 years in the business of manufacturing liturgical furniture and arts, this is the biggest altar the company has ever made, he added.

They only started working on the furniture pieces this month after the Vatican approved all the designs, he said.

Cruz said they are providing new furniture for the mass at the Quirino Grandstand.

“We Filipinos, if we have a guest, we want to provide him with the best,” he said. “For example, if you have a guest in your house you will buy new curtains. How much more, he is a very special person so we want to provide him with the best.”

Seventy skilled craftsmen of Vitreartus have been working non-stop to finish other pieces of furniture to be used in the mass.

Fr. Alex Bautista, an architect and Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church in the Diocese of Tarlac chairman, had done the liturgical furniture.

Vitreartus was also commissioned to build the three papal chairs that would be used at Quirino Grandstand on Jan. 18, the Meeting of Families event at the MOA Arena on Jan. 16 and the meeting with the youth at the University of Santo Tomas on Jan. 18.

 

 

 

ALEX BAUTISTA

ALTAR

ARCHDIOCESE OF MANILA

CRUZ

CULTURAL HERITAGE OF THE CHURCH

DIOCESE OF TARLAC

ENGINEER ROBERT CRUZ

JAN

QUIRINO GRANDSTAND

VITREARTUS

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