Wooden beams ripped from village church by tornado being turned into cross for Pope Francis

Wooden beams from the dome of a church damaged by a tornado in the Moravská Nová Ves village in southern Moravia are being made into a cross for the upcoming visit of Pope Francis to neighbouring Slovakia. The cross, which is almost finished, will grace the podium being prepared for the Pontiff in Šaštín, Slovakia, close to the Czech border.

When the deadly June tornado tore through the village of Moravska Nová Ves, leaving destruction in its wake, it was hard for the locals to see beyond the terrible tragedy. Now, thanks to an unprecedented wave of solidarity, the worst damage has been repaired and people are putting their lives back together again.

And symbolically, the torn and damaged beams from the dome of the local church that were scattered around the village will now serve a new purpose; they are to become the heart of a cross being made for the upcoming visit of Pope Francis to Slovakia which is to take place from September 12 to September 15.

"The Holy Father was quick to respond when disaster struck, he prayed for us and offered words of comfort, it is an honor for us to contribute something to the cross being made in honour of his visit to Slovakia" the local pastor, Marián Kalina, told Czech Television.

The cross will be made largely of aluminum, only the middle part will be wooden. The Slovak architects working on it deliberately chose the most damaged beams they found. "The heart of the cross will be composed of smaller wooden parts, on which the damage, the power of nature, how it tore and broke the beams, can be very clearly seen. The reason we placed the wood in the heart of the cross is to underline the empathy and solidarity that came in the wake of the disaster,“ sculptor Martin Lettrich told Czech Television.

The cross will be six meters high, three meters wide and will weigh about one hundred and fifty kilograms.

After the Pope’s visit, the cross will remain at the pilgrimage site in Šaštín.

The remaining beams from the church in Moravská Nová Ves are now in storage, but they too will be used to make crosses for the seven Moravian villages devastated by a tornado in June of this year.