We are fortunate at St. Odilia to have original artwork that enhances the beauty of our worship space, speaks of the presence of God and is an expression of the community. It is our hope that this information will help viewers sense the presence of God as expressed by the artists.
Shrine of St. Odilia
Located inside the north entrance to where we assemble for Eucharist, the figure of St. Odilia is sculpted of oak at the center of her shrine. She is pictured running toward God with other young saints, full of energy, their feet hardly touching ground, eager to break Bread at the altar table.
The saints are drawn toward a beautiful warm light that transforms them, revealing the many wonderful colors of each person, given by God. Artists Mike Martino and Jean Pintz used hand-woven wool thread for the tapestry, affording texture and warmth. The shrine was funded by children of the parish. Even very young children can see and honor the relic of St. Odilia, placed low on the shrine. A small bone fragment, it reminds us that she was one of us, with a body like ours.
Dan Perry, our Music Director, wrote the song Children of the Light in honor of St. Odilia. We often sing it as a parish community:
Children of the light, running free from the darkness.
Children of the light, we are dancing for joy.
Chosen to be heirs of the Kingdom of God.
We are children of the light, finding life in God’s love.
The Blessed Sacrament Chapel
The Chapel offers a quiet space for private prayer and adoration as well as other liturgical services. The theme of the chapel is waters of Baptism and new life in the Lord. The large Greek letter omega symbolizes the fullness of time. The rising sun portrays that the final day of the new creation has begun. The waters of baptism wrap the room, drawing us to the windows which connect the chapel to the baptismal font and main sanctuary.
The chapel windows are rich in symbolism:
- Wings: God hovering over the waters at the time of creation, and the Holy Spirit hovering over the baptismal waters of new life in the Church.
- Circle: oneness and perfection of God.
- Circle and chalice: Holy Eucharist.
- Key: key to everlasting life.
- Priest’s stole: Sacraments of Baptism and Reconciliation.
- Blue color: waters of Baptism.
Our Christmas Icon was designed and written (the proper term for painting an icon) by longtime parishioner Carol Mitchell. She did the required research on the strict, historic rules and symbols that had evolved over centuries for the portrayal of the Mother with Child. Carol fasted and prayed as she did the design. This beautiful icon remains an important inspiration for prayer as it looks down on us from the front wall of the church each year at Christmas.
Sanctuary Crucifix - A Work of Art and a Witness of Faith
This oak and bronze crucifix provides a moving and exciting focus in the church worship area. The cross, created as a community project, continues to solicit community involvement by its very presence. Formed from hundreds of pieces, this unusual art piece gives the viewer a sense of being a part of a larger, diverse parish as we become Church together. The massive wall behind the altar symbolizes the majesty and power of God, or the many members of our community.
The sculptor, Steve Harmon described the crucifix as “an open cross which demands the person looking at it become involved with the crucifix.” This openness is meant to be “non-confining”, as it fits the natural contour of the wall, thus enabling it to be viewed from all angles.
The viewer sees no specific features, yet Christ’s face is turned upward, arms reaching out, giving us a glimpse of the risen Christ. The pieces of the cross seem to shatter the confines of earthly bounds, so that this transformed Christ conquers death, full of light and glory. It suggests an explosion of power as Jesus died and was transformed to glory.
The cross spans 13 feet and weighs 2000 pounds. The bronze sculpture was cast using the traditional lost wax process.
The statue of the Madonna delle Strada (Madonna of the Streets) centers the Marian Shrine in a small alcove in the chapel. Hand carved in linden wood by the Demetz Studio in Italy, the statue conveys beautifully the intimate relationship between Mother and Child. Parishioner Susan Hanson Lieser painted the surrounding mural. In the beauty of this space, you will find yourself drawn to kneel down for a period of quiet and a few moments of contemplative prayer. The completed shrine fulfilled a longtime dream of the St. Odilia Council of Catholic Women, whose many events over the years provided the funding for this special project.
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Located in the Chapel, this painting of Our Lady reflects the presence of the Latino community in our parish. In 1531, Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to a humble, indigenous Mexican named Juan Diego, at Tepeyac, a hill northwest of what is now Mexico City. She made a request for a church to be built on the site. When the bishop hesitated and requested a sign, the Virgin left an image of herself imprinted miraculously on the native’s tilma (cape). This image of Our Lady remains to this day in the basilica built in her honor. This most popular religious and cultural icon is a symbol of the Mexican nation. She is recognized as the Patroness of the Americas, and her feast day is celebrated on December 12.