Sunday, August 2, 2009

Parishioner Perspective #2 - Ted Murphy


Recently, I took an informal tour and saw the in-progress renovation and restoration of St. Francis Xavier Church. In case you have not seen it, I am happy to report that the interior of SFX Church will be much, much brighter! The artwork will be much more visible. And, I believe, its original “Wow!“ factor will have been restored as well as further developed to reflect current times. I am looking forward to experiencing mass there soon.

As we come back in to the Church for mass, sometime in the next month or so, parishioners will be able to view the continuing work-in-progress of our historic St. Francis Xavier Church. The renovation and restoration is an event that is truly worthy of viewing by our neighbors, friends and anyone with an interest in religious art. I encourage all parishioners to tell their neighbors and friends of the developments at SFX. All you have to say the next time you see them is, “Hey, have you seen it?” Believe me, the fantastic renovation and restoration of our church is worth viewing as well as contributing to through the Moving Forward Capital Campaign.

Though the full renovation and restoration will take many more months, the sheer size and diversity of the church’s architectural design and artwork will make it worthwhile to take a moment each week after mass to see the work-in-progress. I’m sure new developments will be on view, be they a fully or partially restored statue, mural or marble column. And, there is so much to see. SFX is full of diverse religious artwork which seemingly reflects today’s diversity of the congregation.

In addition to statues and paintings of its namesake, St. Francis Xavier - an original member of the Jesuits who preached in India, Indonesia and Japan, the church features religious artwork that includes a mural of St Peter Claver - the apostle of Africans, a statue of St. Jude - the saint of hopeless and desperate causes, the Altar of Hope and Remembrance - dedicated to people living with HIV and AIDS, a mural of the Japanese Martyrs and a statue of the Virgin of Suyapa of Honduras. (You may have to look hard for it - like the original, it’s only 2.3 inches tall!)

As for myself, the artwork I most relate with is the San Damiano cross that is carried at the beginning and end of each mass and that stands on the altar at all other times. It is through this cross that God spoke to another Francis, St. Francis of Assisi. His message: “Francis, don‘t you see that my church is being destroyed? Go then and rebuild it for me.” Since then, it has also come to symbolize the rebuilding of the Catholic church itself - a message I really relate to as practiced at SFX.

I hope that all parishioners will take a moment to take in the renovation and restoration in-progress once the church re-opens for Mass. Also, I hope you will tell your neighbors and friends about it and encourage them to visit. Hey, have you seen it? It’s truly worth seeing!

-- Ted Murphy

Participate in this historic opportunity of renewing, renovating and restoring the Church!

Contact Patrick Brewis, Capital Campaign Director at 212.627.2100 ext. 206 or visit our web site at Naming opportunities are still available.