Maghera firm makes chair for Pope Francis

Image source, Specialist Joinery Group
Image caption,
The chair and altar to be used by Pope Francis at Phoenix Park

A Maghera company has built a chair to be used by the Pope during his visit to the Republic of Ireland.

The Specialist Joinery Group was commissioned to make the altar furniture to be used at the papal mass in Dublin's Phoenix Park next Sunday.

Company chairman John Bosco O'Hagan said it had been "a privilege and an honour" to do the work.

The County Londonderry firm was offered the task after making an icon for the World Meeting of Families.

Pope Francis will make a speech at the World Meeting in Croke Park on the first day of his visit to Dublin.

Mr O'Hagan said the icon has travelled 45,000 miles between parishes the length and breadth of Ireland for the past year.

Great honour

The company was approached by the Church six months ago with a view to supplying the sanctuary furniture for the papal mass.

"We looked at the drawings and I said immediately it would be a great honour and a privilege to be asked to do this," Mr O'Hagan said.

Image source, Specialist Joinery Group

The furniture includes the altar the Pope will say mass on, the chair he will sit in and the lectern he will speak from.

"Everything is to be quite simple. It is all straight lines and a simple manufacture," said Mr O'Hagan, speaking on BBC News NI's programme Good Morning Ulster.

"There is nothing elaborate about the whole thing. The Pope is a simple man and he seems to live a very simple life, so the furniture is simple as well."

'I'll be in the background'

More than 300 family and friends attended an event at the company's premises in Maghera on Friday to view the pieces before they are transported to Dublin.

The company said the furniture is expected to go on permanent display somewhere in Ireland or Rome after the mass.

"The Specialist family are incredibly proud of the sanctuary furniture and this is without doubt the most important project that we will do in our lifetime," Mr O'Hagan said.

Mr O'Hagan said that he will be attending the Pope's visit at the weekend to see his product in action.

"I will be there, but I will be very humble in the background, keeping quiet," he said.