St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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Symbolism in the Church #20

The Millennial Cross is located in the foyer area above the enclosed bulletin board to the right as you enter the building. This cross was made in commemoration of the new millennium (the year 2000). Pope John Paul II saw it as a new era of holiness that we are all called to bring God’s goodness to all the world. Jesus and His triumph over sin and death, hence the cross, was the symbol he chose as the symbol of His mercy and the new era of reign. It is to be a reign of mercy, reconciliation and peace. It is to be all a part of the new evangelization and the Church’s role and contribution to society. It involves all Catholics in whatever state in life they are in. All Catholics are called to take part. Jesus is calling even you today. Have you stopped to hear His voice? Continue reading


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Symbolism in the Church #19

Two other images we have in the back of the Church are some relief work on orange boards. These came from the old high altar. When they took down the old high altar, these were preserved, but it was decided to have them sand blasted for the antique look. It did more damage than good, but we still have them. We had asked about getting them refurbished by a company in Madison that does this. They said they could not do it because there was too much damage. Continue reading


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Symbolism in the Church #18

Another image we have of Jesus in the foyer area is the Infant of Prague. I do not know when this image was brought here to St Joseph Church, but it has been here for quite a while. There is no specific information as to when the original statue of the Infant of Prague was made. In Spain, around the 1300s, there were similar images made with a wood base carved, covered in wax. It came on the radar for devotion, as it was said St Theresa of Avila had it for a while. There were political connections between Spain and Germany that were fostered, and along with it, devotion to the child Jesus. That would explain the devotion in the German Tradition. It went through wars and mishandling in the 1600s and ended up in Prague. Many miracles have been attributed to the original image in Prague. The original looks more like a doll than a statue because of the wax, but is not something to play with as it is very fragile. Continue reading


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Symbolism in the Church #17

As soon as you come in the door of the foyer area, there is a painting above the glass doors as you are facing into the church. It is a picture of Jesus with His hands down towards those who are sick and poor. It reminds us of how Jesus has compassion for the sick and poor. This is a place where they can come and receive consolation from our merciful Lord. So often we think of those who do not suffer as blessed. However, when we read Matthew, Chapter Five, verses three through twelve, we start to understand that it is specifically people who suffer who have God’s support. Continue reading


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Symbolism in the Church #15

The Divine Mercy image is one of two images that Jesus explicitly said He wanted made of Him. The other image is the Sacred Heart. The Divine Mercy Image is much newer. It was made in the 1930s, whereas the Sacred Heart image was made in the 1600s. The two images have similarities; both images are of the risen Lord. Continue reading


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Symbolism in the Church #16

Looking around, we have quite a few more images of Jesus than what we would first think. The other image we can focus on is the big crucifix up front to the left. Paul Fry’s book states that we got the cross from the Benedictine monks in 1870 when they came and presented a parish mission here (p7). That was two years before the construction of this church building in 1872. Inscriptions on the back side of the wood of the cross even state the date and from whom it was received. It was not until much later, in 1914, that the Body of Jesus was put on the cross to make it a crucifix. It was placed back in the sacristy sometime after 1962. In 2011, we brought it back out so everyone could appreciate it. We did not have to touch it up at all. When we took it down in the sacristy, we noticed the inscriptions of the date and abbreviations of who the cross was from (Benedictines). Continue reading


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Symbolism in the Church #14

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. Continue reading