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Dublin: 14 °C Friday 10 July, 2020

The Papal Cross, the Claddagh ring and 3,000 singers: Behind-the-scenes as the Phoenix Park gets ready for Pope Francis

Taking inspiration from the Pope’s own writings and an ancient Irish symbol, the construction is still being prepared for next weekend’s mass.


IT’S JUST UNDER two weeks before Pope Francis visits Ireland for the World Meeting of Families and construction work at Phoenix Park is nearing completion.

The stage where the Pope will deliver Mass has been built at the Papal Cross, the site of Pope John Paul’s II visit. Its designers took inspiration from Pope Francis’s own writings.

Johnny Donnelly, of Arcana Global Event Specialists which designed the stage, said they read the Amoris laetitia, which is the pontiff’s book about families.

“He spoke about different things,” Donnelly says, “but mainly about the vine [metaphor] and we signified a circle with all that.”

The vine metaphor suggests that the strength behind families is something that is similar to growing vines and their binding nature.

To add in an Irish element they chose the imagery of the Claddagh ring to continue the same theme.

We wanted people to feel connected to something visual and the circle made total sense.

The structure is two circles – one within the other – with the inner circle holding the altar sanctuary where the Pope will say Mass on 26 August.

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