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Can You Tell Me About Our Two Different Processional Crosses?

The Processional Cross with Jesus and a Crown.

Perhaps you noticed our beautiful new antiqued processional cross?

It comes to us hand carved via craftsmen in Italy. Jesus wears a crown and a regal loincloth because He is the King of Glory. His head and body are erect, and his eyes are wide open, reflecting the theology that He is not a helpless victim, but that He is in total control. He purposely goes to the cross to give his life so that we might be healed and have life.

This crucifix reflects the theology of the Gospel of John. In John's Gospel Jesus, the King of Glory is glorified by the Father as he returns to the Father through his crucifixion. Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert (Nm 21,9) so that those who gazed upon it might be healed, so must Jesus be lifted up on a cross and exalted to glory so all may be healed (Jn 3:14, 8:28, 12:32, 12:34).

Why is the new processional cross antiqued? The antiqued quality reinforces that this style comes to us from the ninth through twelfth century Europe before realistic portrayals of Jesus' passion became popular in twelfth century Spain. These portrayals are still seen today, sometimes painted in gory fashion with blood dripping from His wounds. If you look closely at our new crucifix you will see that even the blood depicted is highly stylized looking almost like flower petals.

Why do we use a processional cross? As we slowly walk during each Sunday procession, gazing upon our Savior, we remind ourselves that we are a pilgrim people on a journey following Christ and His way of the cross. The processional cross leaves no doubt in our mind that it is Christ who calls us from the busy-ness of life into Liturgical celebration and Christ who leads us from that Liturgical celebration back out into the world. 

This is a Christ revealing the strength of His divinity, a figure we can lean on, not an object pity. This is a ofChrist whose arms enfold us, inviting our participation in the joy of salvation!

The King of Glory comes the nation rejoices! Open the gates before him! Lift up your voices!

The Processional Cross with a Bright White Corpus.

Sometime between World War II and 1960, Brother Pascal Thanner, of Conception Abbey, acquired this corpus design from Maria Laach Abbey in Germany. Maria Laach is famous for its painting and sculpture in a sacred art style derived from that of Beuron Abbey.

The Beuronese Art Tradition

The Monastery of Beuron in southwest Germany was founded in 1863 by the brothers Maurus and Placidus Wolter. It was part of the revival of monastic life and reawakening of European Catholicism after the Napoleonic period. Two artist, Desiderius Lenz and Gabriel Wuger, were striving to revitalize Christian art. They joined the monastery, developing with the help Abbot Maurus a distinctive style ofof art and architecture. The Beuronese style attracted many proponents, including Conception Abbey’s own founder, Abbot Frowin Conrad.
The Beuronese art style was developed as a reaction to the excessively dramatic and humanistic art of the 18th and 19th centuries. Through simplicity and clarity, emphasizing essentials and neglecting details, Beuronese artists worked to lift the viewer’s attention to God and away from man and his art. Ancient Egyptian art, made newly familiar at that time by Napoleon’s exploits, had an influence on this art form. One of the earliest Beuronese paintings is a crucifixion scene portraying a Christ nearly identical in appearance and dress to our Maria Laach corpus.

The Symbolism of this Corpus

The earliest representations of Jesus on the cross date from the second and third centuries. He is usually shown fully vested in priestly robes. Christ made king of all the world through His great sacrifice. Realistic portrayals of Jesus’ passion first became popular in twelfth century Spain and their popularity continues today, sometimes painted in gory fashion with blood dripping from His wounds.
Our corpus is intermediate between these two styles. Christ’s head is bowed. His eyes closed in death. His hands and feet are pierced with nails, and if you examine the figure closely, you can see the wound in His side. A crown of thorns surrounds Jesus’ brow and He is attired in a simple piece of cloth and a scrap of rope. His body is anatomically realistic, that of a young man struck down in his prime.
What separates this portrait of the Crucified Christ from the more common styles is His posture. This is a Christ triumphant over death at the very moment it overtakes Him. This is a revealing the strength Christof His divinity, a figure we can lean on, not an object of pity. And this is a Christ whose arms enfold us, inviting our participation in the joy of salvation!

The Wood Work

The wood is solid walnut and was crafted by a very talented parishioner who wishes to remain anonymous.