HARTFORD, Conn. (CNS) -- The visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United States will be a memorable event for all Catholics, but it will be especially so for one busy Connecticut religious supplies and church goods firm.
Patrick Baker and Sons Inc., with retail showrooms in Southington and Fairfield, is supplying vestments, candles and other items and will refurbish chalices to be used in the celebration of papal Masses in New York.
Pope Benedict will visit New York April 18-20, following a visit to Washington April 15-17. His schedule includes addressing the United Nations April 18. He will celebrate Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral April 19 with priests, deacons and members of religious orders.
He also will meet with youths and seminarians and a small group of youngsters with disabilities at a rally and prayer service at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, N.Y.
Sean Baker, a salesman for the company's Fairfield store, has been coordinating efforts for the past several months with the Archdiocese of New York.
"We are humbled to be able to participate in the event. It is an exciting honor to provide support for this unforgettable occasion," Baker told The Catholic Transcript, newspaper of the Hartford Archdiocese.
Although the pope will have his own robes for the visit, thousands of priests and deacons, including those from the Hartford Archdiocese, will need coordinated chasubles and stoles. The vestments were designed by Baker and Sons and manufactured in the Netherlands, said Baker.
The company also will supply candles that will be embossed with the papal seal in color.
A chalice used by Pope John Paul II in the celebration of his outdoor Mass in Central Park Oct. 7, 1995, will be repolished and used by Pope Benedict at St. Patrick's Cathedral. A new covering made of white cloth will be provided for a papal kneeler at the cathedral.
Sean's brother, Michael, a salesman for the company's Southington store, is a member of the board of St. Paul High School in Bristol. The parish and school have received permission to send 75 people on two buses for the pope's visit to the seminary.
"To attend and to provide items for the pope's Masses is the highlight of my life. It is such a great privilege," Michael said.
For many, Pope Benedict's visit will offer a first opportunity to see the pope live. It will not be a first for Baker and Sons, however.
"We supplied items for the visit of John Paul II in 1995 and I was able to see the pope at that time," Michael said.
He said the liturgical supply company, founded by the brothers' parents in Hartford in 1965, has renovated, served and supplied churches throughout Connecticut and beyond.
The pope will celebrate Mass at Yankee Stadium April 20 as the closing event of his visit. He will fly back to Rome at 8 p.m. April 20 from John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Baker and Sons isn't the only place in the Archdiocese of Hartford that's making a contribution to the pontiff's visit.
The Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven will provide a chair for Pope Benedict's interfaith meeting April 17 at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington.
The chair, which has a backrest that is 80 inches high, originally was commissioned for use by Pope John Paul during the Mass he celebrated in 1995 at Aqueduct Race Track in New York. It has been on display at the museum since then.
Copyright (c) 2007 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
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