The Catholic University of America
WUSA-TV interviewed CUA architecture students J.P. Mikolajczyk and Ryan Mullen about the fabrication of the altar they designed for Pope Benedict XVI's Mass to be held at Nationals Park on April 17. To see video of the interview, click on the link below.


Local Students Design Pope's Furniture

From: WUSA-TV
Date: March 25, 2008
Author: Samara Martin Ewing

WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- When the Pope holds mass at Nationals Stadium next month, he will be using furniture designed by 2 local architecture students. Advertisement

When they're not in class, Ryan Mullen and John Paul Mikolajczyk can be found inside Catholic University's wood working shop working on part of their creations.

"It's going to be very exciting," says Mikolajczyk when he envisions the Pope using the items he helped design.

"I think I'll probably get goosebumps," says Mullen. "Maybe not so much because we designed the furniture, but because I'm seeing the Pope."

Mullen and Mikolajczyk beat out 21 other teams in a contest put on by the Archdiocese of Washington.

The grad students designed the albo, the papal chair, and the 10-foot long altar.

One-inch thick aluminum will be cut to create the arches in the albo and altar. The arches are designed to look like fishnets, says Mikolajczyk.

All the wood used for the furniture is solid white maple.

The materials need to be "not just good, but worthy," says Mikolajczyk.

Mullen takes our 9NEWS NOW cameras to the area housing part of the altar table.

"All of the joints for the frame members, they are all going to be using pegs. So we had to drill all the holes. So it's all going to be held together by just wood and glue. That's it. No screws. No bolts," says Mullen.

Mikolajczyk, kneeling next to Mullen, says, "The difference between us and Ikea, is there is no veneer."

Mullen brings a furniture building background and a strong knowledge of computers to the table.
Mikolajczyk (and yes, John Paul is his real first name. And yes, he is named after the former Pope) has a better knowledge of liturgy and philosophy.

"I knew how things went together," says Mullen. "And he knew the reasons behind things. So between the two of us, he had the why and I had the what."

The most challenging part of this project, say the grad students, is not designing for one of the most famous men in the world, but fitting all the work into their school schedule.

Both men plan on being at the mass to see the Pope using their designs. They don't know if they will get to meet the Pontiff in person.

To see video of this interview, click here.

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