Sculpting religious designs takes a lot of patience and precision. But the pressure is a lot more intense, when you're designing something for the Pope.
"I get emotional just thinking about it even now. I can only describe it as an incredible feeling.”
Maurizio Lauri is an Italian sculptor, who designed Pope Francis' new ferula, or pastoral cross. He worked on the design all summer and he says the Resurrection was his inspiration.
"Christ is still on the cross, but His arms are free. So He is still bound, but He is inviting everyone to follow Him and His example.”
This is actually not the first time, Lauri has designed something for a Pontiff. He sculpted a chalice to mark 60 years since Benedict XVI's priestly ordination. He also made designs for John Paul II.
Pope Francis publicly used his new ferula for the first time on November 1st, as he celebrated All Saints Day. In fact, the materials used to make it, were brought in all the way from Honduras, thanks to the help of Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga.
"So I received the caoba wood in a slab. I had to sculpt and mold so it would fit into the metal frame. The bronze and also the silver also came from Honduras.”
It was all part of a fair trade sale that promotes the work and goods of marginalized communities. But Lauri says there's a deeper message at heart.
"Five hundred years after the West evangelized in the Americas, the West is extremely secularized and it's receiving these materials from Latin America. I think it's a powerful lesson and in a way an example for us Catholics.”
He says the ferula isn't just for the Pope, but for all Christians. He wants the image of Jesus overcoming death, to trigger clear message of hope, even in times of despair.