I am very pleased to re-state: beginning with the 5 PM Saturday Vigil on September 4, we’ll be back in our church! I will begin hearing confessions again on a regular basis starting next Saturday from 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM.
What I am about to share, I hope is received well and with a sense of joy:
Part of our re-opening is now going to include the installation of a new Crucifix.
Allow me to share how this initially came about:
When Bishop Perez was still with us, on both occasions he visited our parish, he asked that I acquire a crucifix, relative to the size of the stone wall of our sanctuary. Both times my response was simply, “Yes, Bishop.” He gave no instruction other than, “Implement it at time when it makes sense, or feels appropriate to do so with your community.”
Shortly after his second ask, a parishioner approached me (without knowing the Bishop’s request) and simply shared, that if I ever felt our parish would acquire one, this individual would donate the cost in full. I shared my appreciation for this most generous offer and only said that we would remain in touch when I felt it appropriate to move forward.
My friends, brothers and sisters, in light of our renovation and plans to re-open the church, I feel the time is now appropriate. The attached images show a detail of the Corpus (Body) and a rendering of what it will look like installed. This acquisition began under the leadership of Bishop Perez, whom we could never have imagined would be newly-installed elsewhere so quickly. The Bishop’s Office has agreed with the previous ask and supports its installation, which we will bless in the context of Evening Prayer this coming Wednesday.
From a studio in Italy, known for their quality craftmanship, I chose the six-foot figure in white, which I believe complements our contemporary setting while still remaining classic in form. The light which pours in from our windows will illuminate the figure of Christ differently all throughout the day. Against the natural beauty of the stone, the Body of Christ will both stand out, and yet blend, given our large white walls on either side. The Cross itself was made by Henniger’s, a prominent church goods supplier here in Cleveland, who facilitated the purchase from Italy. The wood of the Cross has been stained to match the dark wood of the beams of our ceiling.
It is my intention to repurpose our processional cross (which has served as our crucifix) to be the crucifix in the chapel where Daily Mass is celebrated. Had we actually planned for an interior renovation or were we to build a church today, updated documents call for the crucifix to be clearly visible to the assembled congregation: “…to visually dominate the sanctuary while still being in harmony with the other architectural elements of the church.” And while it is true that a processional cross may serve the purpose of a crucifix, it is truly meant for a considerably smaller space, such as a chapel or oratory.
Many of you have approached me at different times with this very request, so I believe this will largely be received with the joy in which it intends. Others, I am aware, appreciate very much the noble simplicity of our sacred space and may feel its need less. I can only say, it was asked of us by the Bishop, who remains the chief liturgist of the Diocese, and hope you feel I drew well on my background in art and art history to fulfill his ask for the good of our worshipping community.
On the evening of September 8, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we gathered as a parish family, to pray the Church’s prayer, and to bless and reverence the very image depicting the price of our salvation. If you missed it, please view the video below: