St. Joan of Arc Corpus of Christ

What Does the Corpus Say to You?

Unveiled during the joyous season of Christmas, the Corpus now reminds us of the agony and ecstasy of lent and Easter. I ask you to spend time focusing on the Cross and the Corpus and how it relates to your own spiritual redemption and special intentions.

What does He say to you? The upturned head, the outstretched arms; was Jesus asking His Father for relief from suffering, or was He saying I have done what you asked: Freedom from sin, Victory over evil; Redemption? Resurrection? Help for the afflicted? Love for all?

What are your personal thoughts? What cross do you carry? Pain? Anger? Anxiety? Who helps you get through the day? What inspires you to help others?

He has been, and will be, there for you forever. Just look, listen, reflect and pray.

Msgr. McMahon

Article From the Florida Catholic

Florida Catholic     Dec. 22, 2006 – Jan. 11, 2006

BENNET BOLTON
and LINDA REEVES
of the Florida Catholic

BOCA RATON – St. Joan of Arc Parish unveiled a work of art Dec. 17 – a 12-foot bronze sculpture of the crucified Christ that seems to float in midair behind the altar, in front of the church’s 18-foot, aluminum-and-brass cross.

The $1.24 million piece was commissioned for the Church by anonymous donors and created by West Palm Beach sculptor Robert St. Croix, whose work has been exhibited in fine galleries across the nation.

“They did not want the conventional-looking Christ.  They wanted to make more of a vision today,” St. Croix said of the benefactors, a Boca Raton couple who made the donation on the condition their names not be made public.  “It is a very contemporary piece.  I think that I was meant to do this and I did listen to whatever it is that directs me to push the clay (for the molds) one way and not the other.  The result is what you see, and it gives a lot of people who see it chills.”

The husband and wife donors were so struck by it and the artist’s talents that they felt compelled to share the corpus worldwide.  They commissioned a second “St. Joan of Arc Corpus of Christ,” which is expected to travel the world for display.  According to Patty Delaney, Project Coordinator for St. Joan of Arc, plans are being made for a second piece in venues and special exhibitions.

Msgr. John McMahon, St. Joan pastor, is equally impressed with the long-awaited piece.

“Several years ago, we asked a committee of parishioners to investigate the purchase of a corpus of Christ large enough to fit the existing cross,” said Msgr. McMahon about the church’s contemporary cross that lacked a Jesus figure. “We found the task to be complicated and costly. We also found our choices to be limited. The problem seemed overwhelming.

“One day, very unexpectedly, a couple stepped forward committing to make the gift of the corpus,” he continued. “The couple had one stipulation – anonymity. The benefactors’ identity was to, and is to, remain a secret. And they wanted to their gift to be an original work of art, a masterpiece.”

In the sculpture, Christ is looking upward toward his left arm, which is twisted.

“It wasn’t intentional, it came out that way,” said St. Croix. “Christ is pleading with God – talking to God and his arm is showing the anguish that he is currently facing. His right hand is not as twisted. To me, it represents the beginning of the acceptance of his faith and of his eventual resurrection.”

To create the corpus, St. Croix formed an 18-foot square of bronze, melted it down and poured it as molten liquid into full-size molds – cast in 30 pieces that were then welded together with the same molten bronze to create a single solid form of the crucified Christ, twice life-size. Then it was sanded, polished, refined and given a soft patina.

The art piece was not the only thing formed during the process. Mounting and transportation plans were part of the project. The donors covered the cost of the engineering and construction work involved with erecting the 1,400 pound Christ with scaffolds, lifts and manpower.

A steel support is mounted into the wall and holds the heavy corpus with the help of stainless steel pieces attached to the sculpted head and foot.

One week before the unveiling, the enormous Jesus was carefully transported late at night from St. Croix’s studio to the church. Raising and attaching it took two days. To commemorate the unveiling of the corpus, the pastor is (will be) mailing illustrated booklets, which show the corpus creation from start to finish, to 6,600 members of his parish family.

Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito, who blessed the sculpture at the unveiling, was among the first to see it.

“The magnificent corpus at St. Joan of Arc Church is a fitting reminder of Christ’s love for us expressed in his giving his life so we might have life,” he said.