This weekend will witness a stunning new painting of Saint Gerard Majella unveiled and blessed at Saint Gerard parish in Lansing. The life-size work is the creation of Jackson-based artist, Joseph Macklin.
“It’s beautiful,” said Father Bob Bacik, Pastor of Saint Gerard, “Our hope is that this new image of Saint Gerard will help teach people about Saint Gerard’s life and connect them with him as an intercessor.”
Saint Gerard Majella (1726 –1755) was an Italian lay brother of the Congregation of the Redeemer, better known as the Redemptorists. He is widely venerated as the patron saint of expectant mothers and, especially, those with difficult pregnancies.
“I would really hope that this painting would be a first step in, maybe, creating a place of pilgrimage for people that are dealing with issues of pregnancy,” explained Father Bacik, “to come and pray before the image of Saint Gerard, to maybe touch their rosary to the relic of Saint Gerard, to light a candle, to write the name of their child in a book.”
The new painting depicts Saint Gerard as holding the infant Jesus in one hand with the Church of Saint Gerard in Lansing upon his other hand. At his feet are a husband and wife praying for his heavenly intercession. While all those depicted raise their eyes to heaven, the Christ Child casts his loving gaze upon the viewer of the painting.
Meanwhile, in the background, Macklin has inserted references to nearly all 75 parishes in the Diocese of Lansing with Saint Mary Cathedral prominent on a faraway hillside alongside East Lansing’s Saint Thomas Aquinas and Ann Arbor’s Saint Thomas the Apostle. The painting will initially be on display in the narthex of Saint Gerard.
“The significance to sacred art, in general, is its ability to communicate a dialogue with the congregation on a deeper level,” said Joseph Macklin.
“I want to make sure that everybody, even outside of Saint Gerard (parish) can appreciate the patron saint as well, and feel that, yeah, even though Saint Gerard is holding the church in particular in his hands, this piece is speaking to all of us.”
• Saint Gerard Church is located at 4437 West Willow Highway in Lansing.
• Meanwhile Joseph Macklin’s work can be viewed is on Facebook, Instagram, and Etsy as Instrumentum Dei.