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WIKIMEDIA COMMONS - Massimo Catarinella

US: Prisoners in Philly Make Pope a Chair for Visit to Correctional Facility

Prisoner Says He Feels ‘Honored’ to Contribute to Papal Project

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Ahead of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States next month, prisoners in Philadelphia are working on making sure the Pontiff has a nice place to sit when he meets with them, reported Associated Press.

In the city’s Industrial Correctional Center over the past couple of weeks, inmates have been working on creating a nearly six-foot tall chair they hand-carved out of walnut. Prisoners contributing were chosen based on work ethic, skill and reliability.

Inmate Rameen Perrin, 21, who has spent slightly over a year behind bars for drug charges, spoke on what being chosen for the papal project meant to him: “It made me honored because I’m one of the ones that work hard, and they noticed.”

At the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center, the chair was made and refinished. At Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, another jail in the municipal system, it will be upholstered. During his two-day trip to the city, during the final leg of his three-city US visit, Francis will meet with some 100 prisoners and their loved ones on Sept. 27.

Assistant director of a vocational program in the Philadelphia prisons, Anthony Newman, designed this gift for Pope Francis. “The fact that I got the privilege to do the chair is good enough if I never see him sit in the chair,” Newman said. “So I’m happy.”

According to officials, expected among the prisoners who will meet with the Pope are some of those who made the chair. (D.C.L.)

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