The Deacon's Bench

As the plans for Benedict’s visit in April start to come together — and the itinerary becomes finalized — everybody wants to get into the act. And an effort seems underway to try and involve as many locals as possible, so that the Church (big C) will be represented by churches (small c), and that the visit will be both catholic and Catholic (you get the idea…).

Anyway: there’s some nice news this week that illustrates what I’m talking about, from the Archdiocese of Washington, courtesy the Catholic Standard:

The crucifix from St. Mark’s Church in Hyattsville has been selected to form the backdrop for the April 17 Mass Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate at Nationals Park.

The nearly 14-foot tall crucifix will be part of the sanctuary constructed at the ballpark’s center field for the Mass.

“The Archdiocese of Washington undertook a search for a crucifix that would be large enough to be in scale with the 50-foot-square sanctuary and also moveable,” said Susan Gibbs, a spokesperson for the archdiocese.

The cross, made of walnut, was installed when the parish constructed a new church in 1999. It is suspended with airplane cable.

“This is an honor for our parish, to have the cross that hangs over our altar to hang over the altar during the Mass that Pope Benedict will be celebrating,” said Father John McKay, pastor of St. Mark’s, which serves an English- and Spanish-speaking bilingual community. “When I announced it this past week, the parishioners greeted the news with applause.”

The crucifix will be removed from the church on April 14 and returned on April 18.

Father McKay noted that this year the parish is celebrating its 50th anni-versary and will celebrate an anniversary Mass – with crucifix in place – the week after the pope leaves.

“We are just so very honored, and we think this is very special,” Father McKay said. “We are going to put a plaque on the cross to commemorate its use by the pope, and we are going to install a plaque in a more prominent place (in the church).”

As always, visit the link for more details.

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