Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan Wednesday showed off the simple, wooden chair Pope Francis will use later this month when he celebrates a historic Mass in Madison Square Garden.
The modest throne, with a plain, white cushioned seat and armrests, was constructed by day laborers -- a seemingly appropriate choice for a papal visit focused on immigrants. The workers from Del Bosco Workers Inc. built the chair in a Port Chester garage, Dolan said.
Francis' Mass, which MSG executive vice president Joel Fisher said will transform "the world's most famous arena into the world's most famous cathedral," will come at the end of the pope's two-day visit to New York City that begins Sept. 24.
Dolan displayed the chair inside the Garden Wednesday. He said the workers will attend the Mass and he believes the pope will want to meet them.
The archbishop said the chair is important to Roman Catholicism, symbolizing unity and teaching authority.
"Wherever the Holy Father goes," he said, "you want to give special attention to the chair."
Francis, known for modesty and humility, asked that the chair have no decorations. As a result, it's missing the papal coat of arms and ornate displays so beloved by Francis' predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.
Dolan said the chair is meant for the pope and no one else. "I'm not going to sit on it," he joked. "That would be bad luck."
Francis will arrive at the Garden Sept. 25 in his "popemobile" after what Mayor Bill de Blasio Tuesday called a "historic procession" through Central Park. Before that, the pope is scheduled to visit Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic School in East Harlem.
Once inside the arena, Francis will travel the perimeter in a sort of golf cart to see the estimated 20,000 people expected, Dolan said.
"He wants to get the attention on himself over with so once he begins the Mass, the attention is on God," Dolan said.
Dolan predicted the service would be similar to papal masses worldwide except this Mass will include "more singing, more solemnity -- and longer for the Holy Communion."
A fact sheet said there will be enough Communion wafers for everyone attending. More than 200 deacons and 150 volunteers will assist the pope with Communion, officials said.
Thirteen seminarians from St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers and four permanent deacons will serve the Mass.
Dolan said prayer themes will focus on peace and justice. Francis will celebrate in English and Spanish, Dolan said. The texts will reflect the Pope's interest in "the marginalized, especially the poor, immigrants, the elderly, and the unborn."
Prayers will be said in Gaelic, Polish, German, Italian and the Afroasiatic language Tigrinya.
The pope, in green vestments, will say the eucharistic prayer in Latin. He will include a connection to past city papal visits when he carries the pastoral staff used by Pope Blessed Paul VI in 1965.
A 100-member choir and a 40-member orchestra will provide music -- much chosen by Jennifer Pascual, music director at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Pascual said she was careful to select pieces familiar to attendees. "Everybody will be singing along," she said.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, in Greenwich Village Wednesday, said he doesn't know if the city could ever fully prepare for a papal visit, but "we're all very, very excited."
Cuomo, a practicing Roman Catholic, said Francis "has really energized the Catholic community. . . . It's going to be one of those great New York moments." With Emily Ngo