Basilica to install ‘Homeless Jesus’ statue on its campus

| July 11, 2017 | 1 Comment

“Homeless Jesus” is pictured in this photo of the seven-foot-long bronze sculpture that sits in front of a downtown Washington building occupied by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington. A cast of the statue will be installed on the Basilica of St. Mary campus Nov. 19, which Pope Francis has designated as the World Day of the Poor.

The Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis has commissioned a cast of “Homeless Jesus,” a bronze sculpture of a life-sized Christ-figure sleeping in a blanket on a park bench. It will be installed on the Basilica campus Nov. 19, which Pope Francis has designated as the World Day of the Poor.

Created by Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz in 2013 as a visual representation of Matthew 25, the statue joins identical casts installed throughout Canada, the U.S. and Europe, including the Papal Office of Charities in Rome.

A statement from the Basilica said, “Schmalz’s ‘Homeless Jesus’ is an internationally recognized symbol of compassion and awareness for the homeless” and “the sculpture will be a vibrant piece in the Basilica’s sacred art collection.”

The Basilica regularly serves homeless men and women through its St. Vincent de Paul ministry. According to the Basilica, its “Homeless Jesus” statue is funded by a group of anonymous donors “who are passionate about our Basilica community and our vision to seek the well-being of the city.”

A Q&A on the Basilica’s website further articulates the parish’s goal for the statue, especially as parishioners and visitors frequently encounter homeless men and women on its campus: “Many of our parishioners welcome all they see. But there are a great many people who see our homeless friends and guests and feel fear, or ask us to intervene and ask them to leave so they won’t be disturbed by their presence.

“While visitors and guests may see someone who is hungry or down on their luck, how many see them as Jesus? That’s the change in thinking we hope to inspire with this sculpture. We see this lasting artwork as a unique way to change people’s hearts and minds.”

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