Just above the altar in the St. John Memorial Prayer Center we find these four sacramentals:
LARGE WALL CRUCIFIX
This is a traditional depiction of the crucifixion, albeit with the extensive display of blood that is familiar in Spanish and Italian cultures.
It is wood with a corpus of an ordinary plaster design and it was a parting gift from the few Scalabrinian sisters still at Villa Rosa Nursing Home in 2019. The two remaining women religious relocated to Chicago. We will always remember the sisters, their efforts for the sick and the annual Italian Festival.
Look down upon me, good and gentle Jesus while before Your face I humbly kneel and, with burning soul, pray and beseech You to fix deep in my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope, and charity; true contrition for my sins, and a firm purpose of amendment. While I contemplate, with great love and tender pity, Your five most precious wounds, pondering over them within me and calling to mind the words which David, Your prophet, said to You, my Jesus: “They have pierced My hands and My feet, they have numbered all My bones.” Amen.
LARGE WHITE WALL PLATE OF THE LAST SUPPER
Part of the Vittoria Collection, this traditional depiction of the Last Supper is displayed under the crucifix and above the altar table. It is from Italy and measures: 29″W x 3 1/2″D x 16 1/2″H.
THE CANVAS ENTITLED JESUS CHRIST
The original of this canvas was painted by Natasha Mylius who was born and raised in the southwestern part of Russia and now lives in Austin, Texas.
This image is a moving representation of Christ on his way to his crucifixion. The impressionistic painting uses oil paint thickly applied with a palette knife to add depth and texture while the contrasting cool and warm tones bring forth a wealth of emotion. Canvas Print (37″ x 37″ x 1.5″)
Here I am, good and gentle Jesus, kneeling before you. With great fervor I pray and ask you to instill in me genuine convictions of faith, hope and love, with true sorrow for my sins and a firm resolve to amend them. While I contemplate your five wounds with great love and compassion, I remember the words which the prophet David long ago put on your lips: “They have pierced my hands and my feet, I can count all my bones.” (Psalm 22/17-18).
THE CANVAS ENTITLED MAMA
The original of this canvas was painted by Kelly Latimore. Kelly Latimore first started painting icons while living with the Common Friars, an Ohio-based intentional community whose concern for the earth has been instrumental in shaping the group’s vision. Latimore views social justice as a constitutive element of the Gospel. Avoiding the polarizing jargon that divides us, this work of art was inspired by the tragic death of George Floyd. It is a poignant depiction of the Sorrowful Mother holding the dead body of her Son.
Canvas Print (30″ x 40″ x 1.5″)
May Mary, the mirror of justice, hear the cry of all who have known the sorrow of losing a loved one to violence and injustice.
O most holy Virgin, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ: by the overwhelming grief you experienced when you witnessed the martyrdom, the crucifixion, and death of your divine Son, look upon me with eyes of compassion, and awaken in my heart a tender commiseration for those sufferings, as well as a sincere detestation of my sins, in order that being disengaged from all undue affection for the passing joys of this earth, I may sigh after the eternal Jerusalem, and that henceforward all my thoughts and all my actions may be directed towards this one most desirable object. Honor, glory, and love to our divine Lord Jesus, and to the holy and immaculate Mother of God. Amen.
The depiction at Holy Family is sponsored by the following:
Holy Family Commandery No. 115 of the Knights of St. John International chartered in September 1905 at Holy Family Catholic Church in Woodmore, MD.
Holy Family Woodmore Ladies Auxiliary, Subordinate No. 16, Knights of St. John International chartered on May 24, 1906.
The altar table is wood with a heavy black marble top. There is no altar stone with relics. The altar-table is the project of Bobby Ramiro.
The image on the altar stands out as somewhat peculiar. Promoted as a wooden hand carving of the Last Supper, it is in actuality more akin to a rendition of the Christian “agape” or love feast once associated with the celebration of the Eucharist by the early Church.
The donated image is quite old and the carving shows notable elements that expose its Ecuadorian origin. The mountains of the region are in the back and on the wall behind the figures is a traditional native hat, what looks to be a cow horn (used as one would a church bell), and roping which is essential to their lives in the mountains. Six men (yes with long hair) young and old are on the left of Christ (our right). Five women are pictured on the Lord’s right, with one of them nursing an infant. Just as with the Mass, all are invited to the Lord’s banquet. The image is in memory of Bill & Helen George.
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I tell you that from this time on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you. “And yet behold, the hand of the one who is to betray me is with me on the table; for the Son of Man indeed goes as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed” (Luke 22:17-22)
After doing more research, we were able to discover the artist who created the carving. Here is what we found:
LUIS POTOSI was born on September 20, 1937, in San Antonio de Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador, a town that has been the birthplace and site of great artists. Luis Potosí, the son of humble farmers in the area, is a teacher who has created a new craft school in San Antonio de Ibarra. Potosi is a born artist, as a child modeling in clay, later carved in stone, and when he found his true element, timber. His work has won a place in the cultural sphere of Ecuador society, contributing to the development and promotion of tourism in Ecuador. Luis Potosí has exhibited in various cities in America and Europe. He has received awards, trophies and a deserved recognition of his work. He studied at the Institute of Fine Arts “Daniel Reyes,” where he honed his knowledge of art and majored in sculpture. His teachers were prominent artists of the Quito School. He graduated in 1957 and has since established his own studio-school, where he has taught more than a hundred artisans. He was Professor of Art at the University of Manabi, Ecuador.
The ambo (where the Gospel is proclaimed) is a lectern for the Mass readings. Attached to the front is a 20″ wood carving and icon entitled, “Jesus Christ, God, the Lord Almighty” from Melitopol, Ukraine. It measures 20″ high by 14″ wide. The ambo/lectern was built by Roy Cobo and Bobby Ramiro.
Our Lord is presented seated in a chair or throne, holding a book and extending a blessing. The script in the wooden icon signifies the following:
In the book we read “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).
On either side of Christ are the letters “IC” and “XC.” This is a Christogram symbolizing the name of Jesus Christ.
Three Greek letters are on the halo above the Lord’s head: O (omicron), W (omega) and N (nu). These letters are roughly translated to mean “the One Who Is” or “the Existing One”—indicating the divinity of Jesus and his unity with the First Person of the Trinity. This is a reference to the Greek translation of Exodus 3:14, in which Moses asks for God’s name. God’s response is difficult to translate, and is often rendered something like “I Am” or “I Am Who I Am.”
Many thanks to the ArtRezba Team for making this beautiful sacramental image.
Proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching. For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths. (2 Timothy 4:2-4).
TABERNACLE & PILLAR OF REPOSE
The tabernacle is minimalistic and made from wood and metal. It was made in Italy. The center (IHS) opens to a glass window that exposes a large host. This tabernacle was acquired so as to facilitate exposition of the Blessed Sacrament during the week. The letters I-H-S is a Christogram that signifies the holy name of JESUS. Early scribes would abbreviate the sacred name of Jesus by using the first two letters of the name, or the first and last letters, with a line over the letters. The letters I (iota) and H (eta) are the first two Greek letters for “Jesus.” Sometime in the second century, the third letter, S (sigma), was added, thereby rendering IHS.
Given that the exposed host cannot be left unattended, this allows the last person in the prayer center to close the silver colored metal flap before leaving.
The pillar upon which it sits was fashioned inhouse like the altar and ambo. The top of the pillar was recycled from an old table owned by Roy Cobo.
The pillar’s image was salvaged from an old plaque presented to the late Msgr. William Awalt. It depicts a chalice with the Lamb of Victory upon it below a host featuring the likeness of Christ and framed by the cross. Above the image are the words: “In His Work.” Every ordained priest shares in the one High Priesthood of Jesus Christ. He re-presents the one-time sacrifice of Calvary in an unbloody way upon the altar for the forgiveness of sins—his saving work. We are given the saving flesh and blood of the Lamb of God. The host is Jesus who has overcome the cross and comes to us as our risen Lord and saving food.
“Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.” (The Mass)