St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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Symbolism in the Church # 13

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How good it is to have the protection and patronage of St Joseph as our namesake. He is always at our side as community and individually. Thank God He gave us such a wonderful friend in Christ Jesus. If that were not enough, at his side is his wife Mary. So between Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we have the entire Holy family in our parish family, this building, and in our homes. Imagine that, God Himself in Jesus, and then Joseph and Mary as our family. We truly do belong. This is Home.

Jesus gave us our Heavenly Father. It only makes sense that He would give us his earthly father and mother. Everything that Jesus has is now ours. Such is His generosity. Mother Mary just seems to make this home complete. I wonder what it was like to actually have Mary with you when you took your first steps or said your first words. What was it like to have her make your meals or put you to bed? What was Jesus’ experience of Mary in His life? If she made pies, what would they taste like?
On the left side of the high altar standing above the heat register in the sanctuary, we have a statue of our Blessed Mother Mary with the child Jesus. Mary is holding out Jesus, showing Him to us as if she is giving Jesus to us. It is like she wants us to hold Jesus and see His goodness. She is entrusting Jesus to us. Jesus is happy to be received in our hearts and desires to live there. He wants to live in us and make His home permanent there. He wants us to be changed into joy, peace and into His love.
This statue is a typical image that would be called a “Madonna and Child.” This title is a generic title given to any image that is an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary with her child Jesus. This particular one is beautifully done in a German rendition. This statue and the St Joseph Statue were put in the basement of the elementary school in 1962. There was some disrepair in the basement due to water, and moisture got into the base of these statues. In 2011, we repaired them and put them in their current location. The bases they stand on are newly-built and designed to look similar to the stands in the foyer.
The second statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary is of her alone with her hands down and spread apart. This image has many names, but “Our Lady of Grace” is the most commonly known title. The same image on a holy medal is known as the Miraculous Medal because there are so many miracles that are attributed to this image. It all started in the early 1600s when a Carmelite Priest found a painting of this image in the garbage. He felt so bad that someone threw an image of Our Lady (Mary) in the garbage that he took it to his room at the monastery and cleaned it up. One day, the painting came alive and Our lady thanked him and promised him what he wished. He asked for the soul of a person be saved from purgatory. This was granted. Then Our Lady said she wanted to grant many petitions to all who would pray before this image. She is here now. Usually she is with the votive candles in front of her with the large kneeler. The kneeler is there so that many people can ask her for favors from our Lord Jesus. The lighting of the candle is our prayers before our Lady in hopes for her intercession. The larger candles burn for six days, the smaller ones for three days. These candles represent our praying “ceaselessly” for three or six days, according to the candle. That is why we have the candles lit before an image of any saint. It is our way of asking that saint for help in our situations. This image we have here has special meaning.

Author: stjosephstmary

We are two Catholic Churches close to downtown Freeport, IL. Our communities are over 150 years old and have been dedicated to our lord Jesus Christ since our inception. We believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was concieved by the Holy Spirit, born of ythe Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilot, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

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