On the Road

You Never Know Who Might Be Watching

Written by: Denise Serafini on Thursday, May 18, 2017

We made our way to St. Francis of Assisi Church in Orem Utah for a presentation on May 17. The exterior of the church has a typical mission style. However, it is a relatively new building with an exceptionally large church. The interior of the main church has significant murals that depict various scenes with a theme depicting man’s spiritual journey to seek God. The main painting is richly decorated with imagery and symbols that allude to scripture and Catholic traditions. The altarpiece presents a huge cross surrounded by people representing different historical time periods, different cultures, races, genders and ages, each at a different stage in his or her own journey. Some, like the business man in the lower right corner are having difficulties. Others, such as the woman nearest the cross, seem serene and at peace.

The cross, suspended slightly above the painting, is clearly the focal point. I inquired about it and learned that the corpus is 8 feet tall from head to foot, hand carved and hand painted. The cross is of wood, and is 16 feet long.

While the picture wants us to recognize the universality of the human spiritual journey to God, there is also a local connection. The two mountains in the background are Timpanogos and Cascade, the mountains closest to the church.

There are seven amazingly beautiful Italian-made statues, depicting Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Blessed Mother with a group of children, the Sacred Heart, St. Joseph, St. Francis, and Mother Frances Cabrini, the patron saint of immigrants to the United States. These statues fit into the niches along the walls of the church. The one thing I’ve observed about Italian-made statuary is that they have beautiful faces and the way the eyes are done has the effect of making the object seem like it’s looking directly at you.

We were joined by a full group of Knights of Columbus Color Corps members and had musical accompaniment on the keyboard and two cantors provided by the parish.

For our events, I usually read the meditations from the main ambo on the side of the altar and this presentation followed that format. During the musical interludes I was seated on a bench that is off to the side of that huge cross which has a corpus showing Jesus’ head slumping off to one side. That drooping face was positioned in such a way that each time I was seated on the bench I was drawn to look up at His Holy Face. It had significant meaning to me, since I maintain a consistent personal program of prayers and novenas that make up the Holy Face devotion. There were a couple of times that I had to literally push back the tears so I would be ready to resume the meditative readings when the musical piece was completed. I have to admit that being positioned in line with that cross was a special experience.

I came away from this event feeling like Jesus and all His saints had engaged with and were watching over the proceedings. You would think that feeling would give me comfort in knowing that a number of Heaven’s cohorts might have been engaged in our program, without any pressure for perfect execution, right? Maybe, then again, maybe not.