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Unveiling the Icon: Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy

The Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy in Chicago has announced a special event at 5 pm on May 31st: the televised unveiling of the iconic monstrance which will be the centerpiece of the forthcoming Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy, a very unique and beautiful place for prayer currently in its final planning stages. The unveiling will be televised in English, Spanish and Polish on EWTN, with yours truly serving together with Fr. Thomas Loya to provide "color commentary" for the event.
The Sanctuary is the special project and devotion of Fr. Anthony Bus, a Resurrectionist priest and pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka parish, who, in a mystical experience, literally heard the Virgin Mary ask him to build a sanctuary dedicated to her Son. His inspiring story is chronicled in the hugely successful book, A Mother's Plea.
The iconic monstrance is shown here in one of its early stages. How it looks now is a carefully guarded secret, though I did get a sneak preview last week with its fullness of color and gold leaf, and it is truly stunning. The monstrance is actually a large, hard-carved wooden sculpture shown here in its architectural setting, (and in true Chicago fashion it has already been described as "the largest monstrance in the world.") It combines the two adoring angels and the golden Ark drawn from the Holy of Holies in the Temple of Solomon, but then shows it in its Christian fulfillment: the Virgin Mary now appears as the new Ark, and in her "womb" will be Christ as the New Law of Love and Mercy, the Blessed Sacrament for adoration.
The Jewish roots of Christianity are here recognized and admired, but shown in Christian fulfillment. The architectural setting will be one of the most sophisticated uses of the "New Classicism" movement, with every part thought through as a presentation of theological realities recalling the Old Testament time of shadow, the New Testament time of image, and the anticipating the glory of heaven. The unveiling will be followed by a week of 24-hour adoration at St. Stanislaus Church in the actual monstrance. Click here to sign up for slots for adoration.
The Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy is more than just another pious project. It is living proof that the Holy Spirit is at work in the Second Spring of the Church. At its heart is the worship of God and the sanctification of humanity through the Divine Mercy. Its art and architecture will blaze new trails in the recovery of Beauty. It recovers Catholicism's biblical origins in the old covenant and displays heavenly glory to us. It will, no doubt, become a spiritual "umbilical cord" of God's Mercy for the world.

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Clare Krishan said...

The first impression I get reminds me of Buddha not Christ! I know its modelled on the Icon of the Sign (we have such a monstrance in our parish, made by our own parishioners) yet I don't like what I see, why?

anthony said...

Looks pretty beautiful to me. I would love to live near that Church.

Anonymous said...

What is the second spring of the Church? (I don't mean to sound derisive, I honestly don't know.)

freddy said...

Oh! Beautiful!

RC said...

"Second Spring" usually refers to a hoped-for revival of artistic, literary, and other intellectual engagement with the faith. I think the term comes from Newman.

RC said...

The image seems truncated to me, too, but perhaps the final version will overcome that appearance.

So far, I'd be more pleased with it if it were to depict Our Lady Seat of Wisdom.

Jeffrey Smith said...

I seriously question the use of Our Lady's image as a monstrance, especially when it's surrounded by so much talk that sound New Age. The whole thing's disturbing.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the feelings above that this is a strange monstrance.

Anonymous said...

Actually it is very apropo and gives our Lady the due dignity She deserves. She was the first ark, the first monstrance since She bore the Bread of Life in Her womb.

Anonymous said...

As has been commented earlier, the overall design seems disturbingly reminiscent of a Buddha.

The Marian image being the backdrop for the Host also feels quite uncomfortable. I naturally appreciate the above comment about the Blessed Mother being the New Ark, the first "tabernacle," but the statue still seems misguided. Does it not give the awkward impression that the Eucharist is her Immaculate Heart (as it is seen in other statues)? The surroundings are indeed proper and dignified, but the tabernacle itself seems awfully odd. Did they really have to be so unconventional? Did they want shock value or something?

Just my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

This wooden sculpture looks like Buddah. It would have been more prudent to preserve the original beauty of what this church once had.

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