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I have good news to share with you.  The Stations of the Cross project is now complete.  Over a year and a half ago, we began prayerfully discerning the prospect of changing out the original Blessed Sacrament Stations with the old Stations from the Cathedral.  Once the decision was made to go forward, several Parishioners stepped up to make our aspirations a reality.  An anonymous donor covered the majority of the $45,000 cost of restoration and Randy Crook Coordinated the project and Mona Lewis participated as a consultant.

The actual restoration took more than a year to complete.  Randy worked with Pam Van Landingham of The Frame Guild to restore the century old painting on canvas.  She actually had to use a Q-tip with a cleaning solvent to clean the surface of each of the 14 stations.  The cleaning process was followed up by touching up the original paint and patching any damaged canvas.  As you will notice, the restored depictions are faithful to the original vibrant colorfication.

The history of the Old Cathedral Stations is very interesting.  I have been working with the diocesan archivist to find out more detail about the Stations' history.  The only documentation that the Diocese could find about them involved correspondence with the Benziger Brothers requesting measurements of the framed Stations.  The letter is dated January 6, 1913.  Accordingly, our "new" Stations are 100 years "old".

The old Cathedral Stations are one of several commissioned replicas of the original set painted by Joseph von Fuhrick of Austria (1800-1876).  Mr. Fuhrick completed the original paintings around 1850. Benziger Brothers then commissioned artists to replicate the originals. We have a replicated set. Too bad, the originals are worth 300,000 dollars. :-)

As you notice underneath each of the stations is a wooden plaque with the title of each of the Stations. I am excited to share that the wooden crosses integrated into the title of the plaques come from our set of the faces of Jesus Stations. Randy Crook worked with Karl Freund to design and create the titled plaques and integrated crosses.

We are currently still in the process of discerning the next home for the faces of Jesus Stations originally hanging in our church at Blessed Sacrament. A number of people have offered great suggestions for their future home, but until we have prayerfully discerned the right home for the Stations, we are preserving them in storage.

Ad majorem Dei gloriam,
Fr. John F. Jirak
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