Crucifix from St. Mark Church in Hyattsville to be Used for Papal Mass

February 16, 2008

The nearly 14-foot tall crucifix suspended above the altar of St. Mark Church in Hyattsville, Maryland will have an unusual new home for a few days this April: Nationals Park baseball stadium. The crucifix has been selected to form the backdrop for the April 17 Mass with Pope Benedict XVI.

“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 Rev. John McKay, pastor of St. Mark parish, which serves a thriving bilingual community (English and Spanish), and is located at 7501 Adelphi Road.

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. The one in St. Mark’s was installed when the church was built in 1999, and is suspended with airplane cable. The cross was made of walnut by Buster Watkins of Barnesville, Maryland. The corpus, or body of Christ, was purchased through McKay Church Goods of Ohio.

More than 45,000 people are expected to attend the Mass with Pope Benedict.

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Susan Gibbs
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