By Tony Aiello, CBSNewYork.com
When Pope Francis celebrates mass at Madison Square Garden on Friday, he’s expected to honor his predecessor, Blessed Paul VI, in both words and deeds.
2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Paul’s groundbreaking visit to New York, the first-ever visit by a Pope to the United States. In just 14 hours here Paul managed to visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral, meet at the Waldorf-Astoria with President Johnson, swing by the Vatican Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair, speak to the United Nations, stop at a high school in Harlem, and celebrate mass for 90,000 people at Yankee Stadium.
Cardinal Dolan said at Friday’s mass, Francis will use the same golden chalice Paul used at the Stadium mass on October 4, 1965. He will also carry a replica of the ferula, or pastoral staff, carried by Paul.
The chalice has been stored at St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers, according to Fr. Michael Morris, the archivist for the archdiocese.
“The chalice was made in Milan, with a gold content so high that the cup of the chalice is actually supple and almost malleable,” Fr. Morris said.
The chalice was also used by Pope St. John Paul II on October 7, 1995, during mass at Central Park.
In October last year, Francis beatified Paul VI, bringing him one step closer to sainthood.
Francis clearly feels an affinity for his predecessor, who ended the practice of wearing the elaborate papal tiara. Paul sold the tiara and gave the proceeds to the poor.