New Processional Cross
When Fr Wayne was with us back in 2011-12, he was keen to replace our current processional cross with one that he felt was more meaningful and representative of our community mission statement, to be a community “living in Resurrection hope”. The first step was building the wooden cross which we now are using, and the second step was to find a suitable figure of the Resurrected Christ to fix to it. This latter step proved very frustrating, and the project lapsed, despite Wayne’s and my discussing it often in his recent time here.
The matter came up in conversation with Fathers Martinho and Matthew after their settling into the parish and the decision was to seek a sculptor who could assist us. This led to my appeal via the newsletter last November to source a sculptor who might be able to create an image of the resurrected Christ. There is such a figure in the Benedictine Sisters Abbey at Jamberoo in NSW – and this was the one that inspired Wayne. It is this image that I used in the newsletter appeal.
The wood sculptor commissioned to craft this new work is Jack Wilms. Jack’s studio and home are based in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, and he was recommended for the project by parishioner Mike Capiron. Jack’s desire was to carve the whole cross from a single piece of red cedar, and upon completion he explained to us how he had anguished about how to express the final form. His gallery and studio is Cedar Creations situated at Coolabine in the Obi Valley.
The theological thinking behind a new cross was the movement from crucifixion to resurrection. The traditional crucifix of Jesus dying on the cross is a Calvary image, a very significant image indeed, because it symbolises Jesus’ triumph over sin. However, Calvary is not the climax of the Christian story, Easter is. Hence the use of an image of the Resurrected Christ, symbolising Jesus’ victory over sin and death and his ongoing living presence with us throughout the ages.
THE TAU CROSS
Many people often ask about the odd shape of our processional cross, a T-shaped or “tau” cross (tau being the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet – the letter “t”). The Tau cross, again, is not the traditional cross shape that is often seen. The Tau cross dates back to pre-Christian and early Christian times and was associated with conversion, new life and resurrection. The link with the Resurrected Christ image is obvious. St Francis of Assisi popularised the Tau cross and used it as his personal signature. The use of this style of cross acknowledges the strong historical links with the Franciscan community in the foundational years of our parish.
Symbols are not mere signs. They point to deeper realities to those who understand them, and our hope is that our new cross is a constant reminder of the reality of the Risen Christ, his death and resurrection, and his continuing presence with our community here at Mt Carmel, Coorparoo.
Our plan over the weeks of Lent is to focus on particular aspects of the sculpture as part of our preparation for Easter. The new sculpture is unique, and it invites us, as with any artistic creation, to ask questions. Here are three questions which would be important to reflect on as you come to know and pray with this new symbol for our community:
n deeming this to be the Year of Community, as a parish in the care of the Carmelites, we focus on the second tenet of the Carmelite charism. There are many definitions of community and one I particularly resonate with comes from an unlikely source – English pop duo The Pet Shop Boys. They are credited with saying They call this a community I like to think of it as home.
Over the past few weeks we have heard from parishioner David Hutton who shared with us some of Pope Francis’ writings on community in his encyclical Fratelli Tutti. David wrote that Being in communion and community with one another in God is central to living and experiencing our faith. Last week Father Matthew shared the Carmelite call to living in community, practicing ways of welcome and hospitality for each person we encounter.
Coming together with one another and finding communion with Christ provides the central moment of the Carmelite spiritual life. A Carmelite Community must be open and welcoming, inviting to share with others the communion of hearts and the experience of God.
At all Masses this weekend, the Parish Advisory Council will be commissioned in its work to share in leadership of the parish and embracing community through (with your help):
As we begin our Lenten journey, a period of reflection and readiness prior to the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection at Easter, we invite you to recognise the ways in which we embrace opportunities to be community here at Mt. Carmel, the ways in which we individually and collectively enhance community at Mt Carmel and our readiness to make it “home” for those seeking to be part of it. In these challenging times which impact on our opportunities to gather as community there is much to ponder!
Jane Connolly on behalf of Parish Advisory Council
Mt Carmel Parish
Reflections offered from our parish community.