When my current parish renovated over a decade ago, they commissioned a Great Cross (pictured well here when we hosted the Rite of Election a few years ago), in which a processional cross functions as an insert.
The original plan was to commission three inserts. One more or less plain cross without a corpus–the one that came with the new church. A second that would be “festive.” Something for Christmas, Easter, and major feasts. And another with a corpus.
Thanks to a nice bequest from the estate of a relative of a parishioner, we were able to fund the latter option this past year. Naturally, a parish that opts for real artists doing real art wants to get a lot of mileage out of the process. We’ve had a committee in place for over a year to study the art of Christ depicted in the cross, to vet various artists, and also to pray with parishioners and receive their input on how they would view the image of the Lord on the instrument of his death.
This Sunday the crucifix will be delivered and blessed at our parish’s 10:30 liturgy. Here is an adaptation (from the Book of Blessings) of the blessing of a major cross which we will use after the homily at Mass:
On the cross, lifted above the earth,
Christ triumphed over our age-old enemy.
Cloaked in his own blood,
he drew all things to himself.
On the cross, Christ opened out his arms
and offered his life:
the sacrifice of the New Law
that gives to the sacraments their saving power.
On the cross, Christ proved what he had prophesied:
the grain of wheat must die
to bring forth an abundant harvest.
Father in heaven,
we honor this cross as the sign of our redemption.
May the cross be comfort in time of trouble,
refuge in the face of danger,
safeguard on the journey of life,
until we are welcomed to our heavenly home.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
This nice feature on our artist, Jeremy Rudd, appeared in an Iowa paper. I’ll have images of his work for us Sunday or Monday next week. After Mass on Sunday, he does a presentation on his work. It will be a good preliminary to Lent.