December 14, 2012

New Marian statue graces Mary, Queen of Peace Parish

Father Bernard Cox, pastor of Mary, Queen of Peace Parish in Danville, blesses a new bronze statue of Our Lady of Peace during a Mass on Oct. 28 at the church in Danville. Parishioner Phil Schneider assisted him with the ceremony. (Photo by Mary Ann Garber)

Father Bernard Cox, pastor of Mary, Queen of Peace Parish in Danville, blesses a new bronze statue of Our Lady of Peace during a Mass on Oct. 28 at the church in Danville. Parishioner Phil Schneider assisted him with the ceremony. (Photo by Mary Ann Garber)

By Mary Ann Garber

DANVILLE—Reverence for the Mother of God abounds at Mary, Queen of Peace Parish, where several unique and beautiful Marian statues are displayed for veneration.

For several decades, a weathered concrete statue of Our Lady of Grace had graced the parish’s front lawn at 1005 W. Main St.

On Nov. 3, the warn statue depicting the Blessed Virgin was replaced with a contemporary bronze statue of Our Lady of Peace cradling a dove in her hands.

Inside the contemporary church, a modern sculpture of Mary overlooks a Marian shrine near the sanctuary.

Religious art is an important part of the worship environment at Mary, Queen of Peace Parish, Father Bernard Cox, pastor, explained after blessing the new Marian statue during a Mass on Oct. 28.

“We want to thank everyone for all of their hard work and contributions for our new statue,” Father Cox said. “It seems like we’ve been waiting for her to arrive forever. She is finally here, and she’s truly beautiful.”

Mary’s serene expression as she embraces the dove of peace is very inspirational, he said, and the statue is a powerful witness to “her love for her son, Jesus, and her love for all of us and the Church as well.”

The Marian statue, which was made in China, is “something that we’ll be proud of for many, many years to come,” Father Cox said. “She is [cast in] bronze so she will hold up in the [inclement] weather.”

Statue of Mary (Photo by Mary Ann Garber)In his homily before blessing the statue, Father Cox reminded members of the

475-household parish that “God loves and cares for all of his people … even today.

“God cares for us so much that he gives us all the grace and strength that we need to deal with any difficulties that come our way in life,” he said, “especially through the gift of the Eucharist.”

In return, we must “give thanks to God, who gives back to us far more than we give to him,” Father Cox said. “We are all called to follow Christ and the example that he gave for us by loving one another as we know he loves us. It’s so simple, but so often in life we allow ourselves to become spiritually blind by our concerns about all the things that go on in our lives.”

Parishioner Rita Rodriguez of Danville said the new Marian statue will serve as an invitation for Catholics and passers-by on the busy highway to turn their attention to God as well as welcome them to visit the church.

Phil Schneider, who helped Father Cox with the liturgy, also was excited about the arrival of the new Marian statue.

“It’s joyful to see,” Schneider said. “It’s been a dream of Father Bernie to get a new statue. If you go up and look at her, she’s very, very pretty.”

In recent years, Mary, Queen of Peace members also purchased a large Celtic cross for the parish property to honor their former longtime pastor, Father Charles Chesebrough, before he died on May 28, 2008.

Parishioners also donated money to buy a statue of Rachel weeping for her dead child as a pro-life memorial in a meditation garden accented by rose bushes near the church.

Father Cox smiled when he was told that the well-manicured parish grounds could be featured in a landscaping magazine.

“It was a lot of hard work,” he said, laughing, “but it was all worth it.”

Schneider also helped Father Cox with landscaping, and spent a lot of time digging in the dirt with him.

“We worked on the [terraced] gardens out front for two years,” Schneider said. “It took that long to get everything planted.”

Father Cox said he enjoyed helping the parishioners landscape the parish property during several seasons.

Their gardening project was a labor of love, he said, which gave the people an opportunity to demonstrate the depth of their devotion for God and Mary as well as faithful support of their beloved parish. †

Local site Links:

Like this story? Then share it!