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The New York Times

A gift to New York

September 17, 2015 | Culture

The structural details of the $177 million restoration of St. Patrick’s Cathedral number in the tens of thousands. But the impetus for finishing the job ahead of the December deadline can be summarized in two words:

The pope.

Knowing that Pope Francis would visit the cathedral during his first trip to the United States spurred everyone involved in the three-year project to speed things along.

“When we heard the Holy Father might come," Msgr. Robert T. Ritchie, the rector of St. Patrick's, said, "our very hard-working restoration team really went above and beyond, and achieved the milestone of having a scaffolding-free interior so that we could fit as many people as possible into the cathedral to see Pope Francis."