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Sanctuary Cross, St. Patrick's Church
Sculpture by Leo Irrera

St. Patrick’s Church Cross
Washington, DC

9’ Cast Marble

When I was asked to produce a Crucifix for the main altar of St. Patrick’s Church I hesitated since so many have been produced in so many ways by great masters. I doubted I could contribute anything new.  I was also concerned about the liturgical preferences of the church community.  There is that faction that would be satisfied by nothing less than the bleeding Christ and then there is one that wants to focus on the resurrection.  It’s my habit that when I have doubts I try to sneak up on the idea.  St. Patrick’s popularity with the Irish made a Celtic Cross mandatory.  I started with that and then began by squeezing children’s clay (sculpey) into various forms. 

Cross in Place

I discovered the true meaning of  “inspiration” I never had a piece of sculpture resolve itself so smoothly and quickly.  The idea of combining the resurrection with the dead Christ on the cross and making it possible to remove the corpus on Good Friday to expose the missing dead Jesus met with immediate approval by everyone.  Therefore, I signed the piece, Created by the Holy Spirit, produced by Leo Irrera.

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