St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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Symbolism in the Church #14

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Yes, Mary is our Mother. While Jesus was on earth, she was His earthly mother. But now she is our heavenly Mother. She looks on us from above, bringing the heart of her Son Jesus to us. That is why we must take care to honor her as Jesus did. The statue of Our Lady of Grace was refurbished most recently in 2011. John Shippert touched up some paint and put her finger back on. It has been repaired a couple of times. It is a natural habit to want to pick her up by the hands when moving her. That is where this statue typically breaks. During the Month of May, we crown her as our mother, but also as our Queen. She is the Queen Mother as is attested to in Jewish tradition and scripture (Kings 2:17-20, Jer 13:18-20 & 2 Kings 24:12-15). We are baptized into a great family. Jesus invites each and every one of us to participate in such a great family. His Mother is part of that family. Like any mother, there is no replacement.

We have many different images of Jesus. Mary is holding the baby Jesus, but we also have the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the sanctuary, the Diviño Niño in back by the confessional, the Infant of Prague in the foyer area, the Divine Mercy image that gets put out every Saturday, the large crucifix and the many small crucifixes.
I will start with the images that are newer here at St Joseph Church. The “Diviño Niño” is something more recently developed. Mother Angelica, the foundress of Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), had visions of the child Jesus enjoying the new shrine she built in Alabama (late 1990s). This image is modeled after the Child Jesus she saw. It is the Child Jesus showing us His Sacred Heart. The smile he has is inviting us to trust in Him and to share our hearts with Him. Many saints discovered it is easier to talk to a child Jesus than the fully grown. Jesus comes to us in a way that helps us open our hearts to Him. We had gotten this image at the Shrine down in Alabama. The resin material that most statues are made of today makes everything much more affordable and weighs much less. I like to use it for children’s communal penance services, especially First Confessions.
The “Divine Mercy” image is one of the few images that Jesus Himself wanted to be made. Jesus came to a nun in Poland, Saint Sister Faustina Kowalska. Jesus showed this image to her and told her that He wanted this image made so that all people would trust in Him and His mercy. There was to be a special feast day known as Divine Mercy Sunday, the Sunday after Easter. He wanted this image to be venerated and through this image, many would come to trust in Him and come to eternal salvation. The image we have is life size, six feet tall. It was too big for glass covering, so it is laminated. It was given in 2011 by a generous donor. This rendition of Divine Mercy is the first one attempted by Saint Faustina. Saint Faustina would break out into an uncontrollable weeping because it was not beautiful enough. She kept on directing the artist, but it never was good enough. So the artist got frustrated and refused to help. It is darker. But the point of interest on this rendition is that when scholars overlaid this image with the Shroud of Turin, the face matched up perfectly. It so happens that is how far they got when the artist left.

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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