Priest builds Lego replica of the Vatican

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Ahead of Pope Francis’ visit next week, an elaborate replica of the Vatican is on display at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia — and it’s made entirely out of Legos.

It took Rev. Bob Simon 10 months to construct the mini St. Peter’s Square.

“I think there’s about half a million pieces in it,” he said. “I’m not sure. I think there are about 44,000 cobblestones of the square, 6,000 round bricks that make up the colonnade and, under the little cobblestones, there’s 12,000 two-by-two tiles that are under there. I knew if I was going to build the Vatican, it had to be big!”

The Lego St. Peter’s Square is full of Swiss guards, tourists, a nun with a selfie stick and, of course, the pope overlooking the crowd. Simon also included a version of himself in the piazza, taking it all in.

Simon’s masterpiece measures 14 feet by 6 feet and weighs about 100 pounds.

“It was daunting,” said Simon. “It was an exercise in patience, and I was thrilled with the way everything came out.”

The replica connects the Franklin Institute’s exhibit of Lego sculptures, titled “The Art of the Brick,” and its new exhibit “Vatican Splendors.”

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