October 26, 2012

Artist’s special gift connects Jeffersonville parishes with Haiti

John McCarthy, a member of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Jeffersonville, works on the Station of the Cross that he created for St. Raphael Parish in Saint-Raphael, Haiti. Under the pastoral leadership of Father Thomas Clegg, Sacred Heart and St. Augustine parishes, also in Jeffersonville, have developed a longtime relationship with the Haitian parish. (Submitted photo)

John McCarthy, a member of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Jeffersonville, works on the Station of the Cross that he created for St. Raphael Parish in Saint-Raphael, Haiti. Under the pastoral leadership of Father Thomas Clegg, Sacred Heart and St. Augustine parishes, also in Jeffersonville, have developed a longtime relationship with the Haitian parish. (Submitted photo)

By Kevin Conn (Special to The Criterion)

JEFFERSONVILLE—John McCarthy views his artistic talent as a gift to be shared.

He has the same approach to the gift of his faith.

So it seemed fitting to the member of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Jeffersonville to combine those gifts when he was asked to make a special set of the Stations of the Cross for the people of Haiti.

The request developed from the longtime relationship that the Catholic community of Jeffersonville—both the parishes of Sacred Heart and St. Augustine under the pastoral leadership of Father Thomas Clegg—has established with St. Raphael Parish in Saint-Raphael, Haiti.

During a visit with Father Clegg in Jeffersonville, Father Romel Eusache—director of the Emmaus Center in Haiti—walked through Sacred Heart Church and was struck by the beauty of the Stations of the Cross that McCarthy had created.

“Father Tom introduced us and mentioned that I was the one who had created the ceramic artworks in our sanctuary,” McCarthy recalls. “Father Romel said that he would like to have a set of stations for the new chapel in Haiti.”

McCarthy agreed and started the creative process.

“As a cradle Catholic, I’ve been exposed to the tradition of the stations my whole life,” McCarthy says. “Most were fairly literal, whole scenes, depicting the Passion of Christ. I feel each artist created these images to assist us in sensing the Passion experienced by Christ.

“As an artist, I wanted to be original, at least in my perspective of the events of the story. That’s why I’ve used a tight visual focus and have isolated parts of the scene—for example, the mallet driving the nail in Christ’s wrist—to heighten the emotional connection to the viewer.”

McCarthy’s gift of the Stations of the Cross was delivered this summer during a youth mission trip to Haiti by Father Clegg and members of the Catholic community of Jeffersonville.

The gift is one more example of the many ways that parishioners have used their talents and skills to help members of their sister parish in Haiti and other people there.

Parishioners skilled in computer networking and technology have created an Internet café by installing computers, a satellite link and generators at St. Raphael Parish. Health care professionals and educators assisted in the creation of programs for child nourishment, clean water and student scholarships. Parishioners contribute financially to help fund St. Raphael’s schools, pay the parish staff and support local seminarians.

McCarthy is thankful to be part of that overall effort by the Jeffersonville Catholic community to help the people of Haiti by using his God-given gifts.

“For me, the visual art of the Church supports our understanding and makes it more real,” McCarthy says. “Because the art is special—made of fine and beautiful materials—it elevates our appreciation of the beliefs of our faith.”
 

(Kevin Conn is a member of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Jeffersonville.)

Local site Links:

Like this story? Then share it!