An Artist’s Surprising Gift

You may recall my sharing Bishop Sullivan’s letter a few months back, which requires all parish churches to conform to the canonical practice of having Crucifix in every sanctuary where the Holy Mass is celebrated. A few parishioners have approached me pointing out, for example, how the documents cited in the bishop’s letter allow for some variance in practice. I explained that canon laws must be applied in different circumstances, which may be confusing to some.

Consider that a Crucifix is equally required for Mass celebrated either in our parish Church or at the Fountains. The options in liturgical law allow for that. A larger, more permanent sanctuary Crucifix would be required for a parish church. The situation at the Fountains allows for a moveable Crucifix “on or near the altar.” The flexibility in applying canon law in no way diminishes the stricter requirement for a parish church. In any case, the confusion of some is understandable.

In any event, the bishop’s letter inspired me to do a bit of research. The artist that made the Risen Christ and the Stations of the Cross at Assumption is Anthony Visco. I met him a while back. He is an artist with fine, classical tastes. In fact, much of the beautiful artwork at St. Rita’s Shrine in Philadelphia is Anthony’s handiwork.

Anthony apprised me of many details about the construction of the church thirty-two years ago. Specifically, the non-Christian architect at the time pretty much dictated what she wanted in terms of artwork—by and large against the artist’s sensibilities. Being new to sacred art and wanting to get paid, Anthony produced the compositions now situated at Assumption church. He in no way considers it his best work.

To my great surprise, Anthony arranged for me to see another sample of his ORIGINAL artwork—a Crucifix of unique style. The Corpus is an icon painted to appear three-dimensional. The Cross is typical. Together they form an icon in Roman-style. It is beautiful.

Even more to my surprise is that the Crucifix is being gifted to the parish. Anthony had been looking for a worthy home for it. He is delighted that it will now be enshrined at Assumption church and that the church will now have a Crucifix as he had wanted back in the day.

We, of course, are exceedingly grateful for God’s providence through Anthony Visco.