Artist restores Fatima statue for installation Mass

| May 4, 2016 | 0 Comments

Sharon King, a parishioner of St. Agnes in St. Paul, works on a statue of Our Lady of Fatima that will be displayed during Archbishop Bernard Hebda’s installation Mass May 13 — the feast of Our Lady of Fatima — at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

A statue of Our Lady of Fatima that just weeks ago was sitting in storage chipped and faded has been restored for Archbishop-designate Bernard Hebda’s installation Mass 2 p.m. May 13, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima.

Father John Ubel, rector of the Cathedral of St. Paul where the installation Mass will take place, wanted the celebration to include a Marian statue, but thought the Cathedral’s main Marian statue would be too large given the number of bishops — around 20 — expected to be seated in the sanctuary. That’s when he remembered seeing a smaller statue in Cathedral storage, specifically one of Our Lady of Fatima. St. Agnes parishioner Sharon King already was working on one statue for the Cathedral, so he asked her to restore the Fatima statue for the installation Mass.

“It’s a nice touch, that again, through volunteer labor and someone who cares, to make things beautiful for the installation,” Father Ubel said.

While he noted that the Fatima statue wasn’t in terrible shape — St. John Vianney College Seminary borrows it occasionally — it had a lot of nicks, and rosary beads were missing.

“You look at it now, and you can’t tell,” Father Ubel said. “She matched it so beautifully. She really does amazing work.”

King, 76, volunteered materials, time and talent for the restoration. A nurse by profession, King took up painting and plaster restoration as a hobby. Repairing the cracked base, sanding, plastering and repainting took her about four hours.

“It’s not difficult, but it takes time and patience,” said King, a Secular Carmelite. “I feel very honored to be able to do this.”

According to Cathedral records, the former St. Paul Statuary made the statue. The first mention of the statue was in 1949, but it could be older, Father Ubel said.

The crown was made in Fatima, Portugal, as a replica of the royal crown of Portugal. It made its first appearance on the statue at the Cathedral’s 8 a.m. Mass May 1, 1960. The bulletin from that day explained the crown’s historical significance: “In 1646, King Joao [IV] removed it from his head and placed it on the brow of a statue of Our Lady in the Coronation Hall and decreed that henceforth the monarch of Portugal would not wear the crown, ‘Since it now rightly belongs to Our Lady.’ This decree has been respected for over 300 years.”

At the installation Mass, Father Ubel said the Fatima statue likely will be placed in a corner near the ambo — safe from unintended harm yet visible to everyone.

“It’s very appropriate as a Catholic community, when we gather, to invoke the help of our saints, especially in these challenging but hopeful times. And the message of Our Lady of Fatima is really, ultimately, one about hope,” Father Ubel said. “And so I think it adds to the celebration because I believe, very, very strongly, that already people are sensing a new beginning and some real hope for the future of the Church in this archdiocese.”


Tags: , , , ,

Category: Featured, Local News