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Feb 7, 2013 9:03 AM by Samantha Ptashkin

Artist breathes new life into old doors from St. Augustine Cathedral

TUCSON- The old saying goes, "when one door closes another one opens".

Artist Joseph Beamon can relate.

He's refurbishing the two mahogany doors that once welcomed parishioners to downtown's iconic St. Augustine Cathedral. "There's probably guaranteed a million people who have gone through those doors, considering all the funerals, weddings, Christmas, Easter," Beamon says.

The mahogany doors were built in 1968. They were recently replaced during a renovation project at the church and Beamon spotted them displaced near the facility.

He knew they belonged somewhere special. "Coming from a Tucson landmark, lord only knows how many times they've been blessed," Beamon says.

He found their future home through word of mouth.

"When they called and asked us if we were interested in having them, we were delighted to take them," says Reverend Patrick Kennedy of St. Mark's Catholic Church.

For the past several months, St. Mark's has been building a bigger church for its members. The church will be located at 2727 W. Tangerine Road in Oro Valley.

The doors to their new chapel will be the doors from St. Augustine Cathedral. "It's huge because the cathedral is the mother church of any diocese and to have that connection to the cathedral is a great honor," Reverend Kennedy says.

Construction at St. Mark's should wrap up in the fall, so now Beamon is working round the clock to finish the doors. "All day and all night," Beamon says.

It hasn't been easy. Each door stands about seven feet tall and weighs a few hundred pounds. "I dismantled them and I'm starting over with the skeleton frame of the door."

It's a job that requires a lot of patience and attention to detail, but Beamon is up for the challenge. "I can't put a price on these doors," Beamon says. "To me they are priceless and I don't say that often about anything."

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