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Philadelphia Archdiocese Searching For Home For Parts Of Altar Used During Papal Mass

By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is sharing the sacred vessels used during the Papal Mass celebrated by Pope Francis eight days ago on the Ben Franklin Parkway. It's also now looking for a permanent home for other larger elements that made up the altar.

Father Dennis Gill, rector of the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, was the man in charge of arrangements for the pope's Mass. He says many of the altar chalices used for the consecration of the wine and hundreds of containers which were used by priests and deacons to distribute communion on the parkway already have been gifted.

"The chalices and ciboria we gave away to parishes in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and to some of our high schools and other institutions. We still have many more vessels on hand and we'll make use of them when we have large celebrations here in the archdiocese in the future."

But Gill says the altar Pope Francis stood at, the ambo or pulpit from which he spoke, the president's chair in which he sat, the concelebrant chairs and the large crucifix hung at the rear of the open-air altar were transferred to the Cathedral Basilica. Gill says they can still be viewed by the public, but he says the archdiocese is hoping to find a suitable place where they can be used and also serve as reminders of the historic visit by the pope to Philadelphia.

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