SALEM, N.H. — Drive by Mary Queen of Peace Church and your eyes will gaze at the 10-foot cross right in the middle of the church lawn at 200 Lawrence Road.
The one there now is a little different than the one that stood there before.
“I didn’t like the looks of it and wanted a nicer one,” said Richard Keyes, 86, who does odd jobs around the church.
He said the previous cross was a 2-by-4 held up by nails.
“To me, it’s a symbol of Jesus’ crucifixion,” Keyes said.
So he, his son and fellow parishioner Barry Pietrantonio replaced it.
The foundation was laid last summer and the cross was finished up a week before Lent. Keyes and his son, Richard, also a carpenter, built the cross on the elder Keyes’ 8-foot-long kitchen table. Keyes said he had to build the cross indoors because it was too cold for the glue to stick.
“I built it out of cedar because it’s light, strong and didn’t have any knots in them,” he said.
He said the project helped him get closer to God.
“Everything you do for the church helps you do that,” he said.
Born in Methuen, he moved to Salem in 1966 and joined the Mary Queen of Peace the same year. When he returned from the Navy in 1946 after a three year stint, he started his career as a carpenter.
His next project at Mary Queen of Peace, part of Sts. Mary and Joseph Parish, is to convert the top on the baptismal fond into solid wood.
Bishop Coyle celebrates Mass in honor of Pope Francis’ election
METHUEN — Monsignor Arthur M. Coyle, regional vicar of the Merrimack Valley Region leads Mass celebrating the election and the beginning of the papacy of Pope Francis, Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at St. Theresa Church, 22 Plymouth Ave.