Relief Sculpture dedicated at prayer service

Relief Sculpture dedicated at prayer service


Maryann Marchetti helps Msgr. Thomas H. Sharkey unveil a relief sculpture of St. Gianna Beretta Molla Oct. 4 at St. Bernadette Church, St. Gianna Beretta Molla Parish.

Photo by Alan M. Dumoff, more photos

Father Patrick Brady, pastor of St. Gianna Beretta Molla Parish, celebrated a prayer service at the unveiling of a relief sculpture of the parish’s patron saint on Oct. 4.

He was assisted by Msgr. Thomas H. Sharkey, retired, Father Richard Lodge, and Deacons George DelRossi and Louis Correa of the parish.

The parish is named after St. Gianna Beretta Molla, the patron saint of mothers, physicians and unborn children.

The sculpture portrays St. Gianna with her three children as she takes them on a picnic where she makes the crucial decision to risk her life for her unborn child. She had been diagnosed with cancer and was told that if it went untreated she would lose her life.

She lived one week after the birth of her new daughter.

Father Brady said “It is essential that we remember that this woman gave her life for her unborn child. She was passionate about her family and about the outdoors, so the artist felt it was fitting to capture her in this setting — taking her children on a picnic.”

The artist who created this relief sculpture is Achim Klaas, a Canadian. It took the artist more than 600 hours to complete the sculpture which was funded by private donations.

Father Brady discovered the artist when he saw a bronze sculpture created by Klaas at St. Matthew’s Catholic Church in Canada, a relief sculpture with the distinct features for which the artist is known.

The relief sculpture commissioned by the parish of St. Gianna Beretta Molla was done in linden wood — a basswood — which can be smooth white to pale brown. This wood has a straight white grain with a fine, uniform texture.  It is excellent for hand carving.

Msgr. Sharkey unveiled the sculpture on his 90th birthday, which by coincidence would have been the 90th birthday of St. Gianna Beretta Molla.  Maryann Marchetti, who promoted devotion to the saint, assisted Msgr. Sharkey as he lifted the veil.

Anyone who would like to see the statue or light a candle in prayer is welcome. The church is located at 1421 New Road in Northfield. It is the merged parish of St. Bernadette of Northfield and St. Peter of Pleasantville.


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