He built his first Lego Vatican when he was in the 7th grade. It was quite crude compared to the one he has built now at age 50. The Revd Bob Simon, pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Church in Philadelphia, recalls two memories from his childhood; he loved playing with Legos and he wanted to be a priest. Perhaps he was influenced with both while watching a Catholic parish church built almost in his own backyard.
His current Lego Vatican weighs in at over 100 pounds and took him 10 months to build in his parish rectory. Over 44,000 Lego cobblestones pave the plaza known as Vatican Square. His research for Lego accuracy brought him little facts about the Vatican architects. One such fact is that the architect of the semi-circular porticos that reach out and surround Vatican Square were designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The porticos are emblematic of a mother reaching out to embrace her child.
Father Bob would come home in the evening and devote a few hours to his project. The routine of placing small plastic brick on another small plastic brick became a routine for him no unlike saying the rosary. It became his one-brick-at-a-time prayer time. He also worked his concept of the openness of the Church to the population he used for the piazza, folks from all walks of life represented as the little Lego people walking the square.
Father Bob’s Lego Vatican will be on display at the Franklin Institute. Pope Francis will be attending the World Meeting of Families which is being held at the institute on 26 & 27 SEP. The World Meeting of Families is being held during the Franklin Institute’s current exhibit of important pieces from Roman Catholic history, Vatican Splendors.
The image is from the Franklin Institute.
The story originally appeared at HuffPost Religion; A Lego Vatican Rises In Philadelphia