The Price and the Prize
All that We Have: The New Processional Cross of Saint Julie Catholic Church
Published on March 12-13, 2016 in the Parish Bulletin of Jesus Our Savior Catholic Church, Morehead KY
On March 13, 2016, during the 8:00 AM Mass for the Fifth Sunday of Lent, I will bless the new processional cross for Saint Julie Catholic Church in Owingsville, Kentucky. It will be used for the first time by that Church next weekend when they commemorate the Lord’s Entrance into Jerusalem on the Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord.
This processional cross was given to Saint Julie’s this Lenten season by Dominic Capria and the Fr. Beiting Appalachian Mission Center (FBAMC) in Louisa, Kentucky. It had been used at the now closed Saint John Neumann Catholic Church in Hode, Kentucky, a mission of Saint Jude Catholic Church in Louisa from 1980 to 2015. Roger Porter (born 1945) of Jesus Our Savior Catholic Church in Morehead has painstakingly re-stained its handle and stand, cleaned the grime off the corpus, and made a new Latin cross to replace the damaged original.
This new cross was made with wood that is 3/4 of an inch thick. It is 22 inches tall and its horizontal arm spans 13 inches. Fixed on it is the foot tall figure of the Crucified Christ that was hand-carved from linden wood. Above this corpus is a matching titulus that is 1 ½ inch tall and four inches wide, bearing the Latin letters ‘INRI,’ the acronym for the inscription: Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum (cf. Jn. 19:20). The cross is mounted upon a rounded staff of dark cherry wood which complements the frames of the stained glass windows, the Stations of the Cross, and the rest of the furniture in the Church sanctuary. The cross with its staff stands six feet and five inches tall. When not in use, the processional cross can be put on a square stand that is four inches tall and 10 ½ inches wide.
A processional cross is simply a crucifix that is usually mounted upon a long staff or handle so that it may be more easily seen at the head of a procession. Traditionally, the figure of the Crucified Christ faces the direction towards which the procession is moving. In the liturgy, and especially on Palm Sunday, it is a powerful call to the faithful to follow Christ into Jerusalem and beyond. The wounded figure of the Crucified reminds the Christian of the price involved in following the Lord, but it also presents to him the prize that He offers, for the cross is raised, not only as a standard to lead the faithful in their journey but more so, as the trophy of the Lord’s crucial victory over death.