Holy trinity

At Holy Trinity Parish, Cardinal Gregory blesses a statue he calls “bronze homily” reminding people to see Christ in the poor – Catholic Standard

At a parish mass before blessing a spectacular new statue outside the Chapel of the Holy Trinity in Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood that portrays Jesus as a poor and hungry man, Cardinal Wilton Gregory called it ” a bronze homily planted in the middle of this beautiful community as a reminder for everyone to be more attentive and generous in the search and care of Christ.

As he later blessed the statue with incense and sprinkled holy water on it, the cardinal prayed that people would see Jesus facing the poor, and he said, “When we meet the poor, we meet Christ himself.

The sculpture by Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz is titled “When I Was Hungry and Thirsty” and depicts a masked figure huddled on the floor next to a cup and a plate. But a closer look reveals that the man’s outstretched palm has a nail wound, and under his hood is the face of Christ.

Artist Timothy Schmalz’s new statue outside of Holy Trinity Chapel in Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood shows a poor and hungry man huddled on the ground near a mug and plate, with the nail rolled up on his outstretched palm revealing that he is Christ. (Photo CS / Andrew Biraj)

The statue is set in the middle of a colorful flower bed planted by volunteers from the Holy Trinity Garden Committee outside the Chapel at 3513 N Street, NW and is inspired by Matthew 25, where Jesus describes those who will be welcomed into the kingdom of heaven: “For I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me to drink, a stranger and you gave me welcomed, naked and you clothed me, badly and you took care of me, in jail and you visited me … whatever you did for one of my lesser brothers, you did for me .

This Gospel passage was read during the weekday Mass at Holy Trinity Church that preceded the statue’s blessing. The congregation included parishioners and seventh grade students from Holy Trinity School, students reading prayers and bringing offertory gifts.

The congregation at Cardinal Gregory’s Mass on October 6 at Holy Trinity Church included seventh grade students from Holy Trinity School. Students attending Mass included, in the top photo, Riley Raspberry-Hallmon on the left and Kieran Tierney on the right, and in the photo below, Harrison Moore and Joel Solomon. (Photos CS / Andrew Biraj)

Welcoming the cardinal to the parish at the start of Mass and noting that the statue would be blessed afterwards, Jesuit Father Kevin Gillespie, the parish priest, said: “This beautiful statue helps us feed the poor and work for justice. .

In his homily, Cardinal Gregory reflected on the implications of Jesus’ words in Matthew 25 for people today.

“In a neighborhood as richly blessed as Georgetown, it can be easy to miss a poor person or just throw a dollar or two in their direction and then move on with other more pressing life concerns,” he said, adding that the statue he would bless is meant to help people “reflect more intensely on the presence and needs of those whom Christ calls his own sisters and brothers”.

The Archbishop of Washington added, “This statue is a physical reminder and an invitation to be more aware of the poor among us” with whom Jesus identified.

“This statue will soon become commonplace here in this parish, but I hope and pray that its meaning and message will be a lasting Gospel passage for all who see it,” Cardinal Gregory said.

Lourdes Otamendi and Nicholas Sands, fifth graders at Holy Trinity School in Washington, bring altar offerings during Cardinal Wilton Gregory’s mass at Holy Trinity Church on October 6. (Photo CS / Andrew Biraj)

The intents of poverty and hunger.

During mass on October 6 at Holy Trinity Parish in Georgetown, Jesuit Father Kevin Gillespie, the pastor, gives Communion to Lucia Szymkowicz, a seventh grade student at Holy Trinity School. (Photo CS / Andrew Biraj)

Towards the end of Mass, Father Gillespie gave special thanks to the members of the parish garden committee for taking care of the gardens on the parish grounds and for planting the brightly colored flowers surrounding the new statue.

After Mass, Cardinal Gregory and the clergy who attended the Mass as well as the parishioners and students who attended walked towards the statue outside the chapel, passing a group of third grade students. year of the Holy Trinity on a nearby playground, who then watched attentively the group gathered under a small canopy and the cardinal blessed the statue.

Cardinal Wilton Gregory blesses the new sculpture of Jesus by artist Timothy Schmalz outside the Chapel of Holy Trinity Parish in Washington on October 6, 2021. Standing to the right is Jesuit Father Kevin Gillespie, Pastor of Holy Trinity . (Photo CS / Andrew Biraj)

Afterwards, Kathleen Byrnes, the former head of the parish garden committee who helped design the flower bed around the statue, noted that it included red cardinal blossoms, a camellia bush, sunflowers yellow, orange marigolds, oat grass that looks like wheat and coral bells with red leaves. She expressed hope that the bright colors of the flowers will bring attention to the statue and the issue of serving those in need.

“I hope people think about what this means and stop and stop instead of just passing by,” she said.

Holy Trinity Parish, founded in 1787 and run by the Society of Jesus, which also sponsors nearby Georgetown University, is known for its social influence. Holy Trinity has a long-standing program where parishioners provide assistance and friendship to migrant and refugee individuals and families.

In an interview, Father Gillespie noted that during the COVID-19 pandemic, Holy Trinity hosted a Sunday dinner for around 40 to 50 homeless people outside the parish school, with a dozen volunteers, including high school students, their serving food. Holy Trinity has sister parishes in El Salvador and Haiti. The priest said the parish has around 20 social justice and advocacy programs.

The pastor of Holy Trinity said he hoped the new statue “inspires our current and future parishioners and students to act for charity and justice.”

Members of the Holy Trinity Ward Garden Committee planted flowers around the new statue of Jesus depicted as a poor and hungry man, which they hope will draw attention to the sculpture and its message. (Photo CS / Andrew Biraj)

On his website, artist Timothy Schmalz described this sculpture of Christ in the guise of a poor man as “a visual representation of charity.” He tells us that we are to see Christ in the poor and hungry and that we are to see our acts of kindness towards them as kindness towards him.

The artist has several other sculptures on display in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington.

On Ash Wednesday in 2015, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, then Archbishop of Washington and now retired, blessed Schmalz’s bronze statue of Jesus depicted as a homeless man asleep on a park bench outside Catholic Charities headquarters at 924 G Street, NW, near where Pope Francis met the poor served by this agency during his papal visit to the nation’s capital later that year.

A sculpture by artist Timothy Schmalz outside Catholic Charities headquarters in Washington shows a homeless man sleeping on a park bench, with nail wounds on his feet revealing he is Jesus. (Photo CS / Jaclyn Lippelmann)

In November 2019, on the occasion of the World Day of the Poor, Schmalz’s sculpture representing Jesus and illustrating Matthew 25:36, “When I Was Naked You Clothed Me”, was installed outside St. Matthew the Apostle’s Cathedral at 1725 Rhode Island Ave., NW The sculpture shows a homeless man wrapped up in a blanket, pierced hand outstretched, seeking alms.

Along a sidewalk outside St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington, a statue by artist Timothy Schmalz shows a poor, naked man seeking alms who is Christ in disguise, one of a series of sculptures that l artist performed to illustrate the bodily works of mercy described in Matthew 25. (Photo CS / Andrew Biraj)

In September 2020, Schmalz’s 3.5 ton bronze sculpture “Angels Unawares” was unveiled in a plaza at the Catholic University of America and depicts 140 refugees from different lands and eras, including Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus during their flight into Egypt. The title comes from Hebrews 13: 2: “Be kind to the stranger; you don’t know if they are unconscious angels.

The massive sculpture “Angels Unawares” by artist Timothy Schmalz unveiled on the campus of the Catholic University of America in September 2020 depicts migrants and refugees from around the world and from different eras crammed onto a boat, including the Holy Family seen in the photo below. (SNC Photo / Tyler Orsburn)

The refugees stand together on a large boat on the massive sculpture which will eventually be placed in a reflecting pool. The sculpture has made stops across the United States and is expected to return to the Catholic University campus and be installed there in the spring of 2022.

On his website, Schmalz wrote: “I am dedicated to creating works of art that glorify Christ… I describe my sculptures as visual prayers.