• This article has been updated with additional information about the St. Joseph shrine.
Parishioner Greg Creamer has completed the altar for the statue of St. Joseph now installed on the south side of the church near the tabernacle.
The statue of St. Joseph and the baby Jesus now stands atop a three-foot mound of lava rock, cedar stone, river rock and slate in a fittingly masculine setting.
The two-day project began with a trip to the stone yard Friday afternoon to select materials. Greg knew what to look for because he would be matching the look of the altar for the statue of the Blessed Mother on the opposite side of the church.
Though he was using the same materials, Greg selected larger pieces to achieve the masculine look he wanted. It took two trips to the stone yard to get what he needed. He used about 1,200 pounds of material for the project.
A plywood base supports the whole structure and the statue is bolted to the stand. It’s a creative process to place the rocks just right to achieve the desired look but for Greg, who owns Artistic Flowers and supplies arrangements for the St. Raphael altar, that is a welcome challenge.
Each stone, with its unique shape and character, adds to the overall effect. Greg placed stones and removed them with an eye for the details and an understanding of what each piece added to the composition. He assembled the project in about two hours Saturday afternoon.
Greg built the altar for the Blessed Mother five years ago at the request of Monsignor Caverly. When Father Tim and Deacon Jim asked him to create an altar for St. Joseph using similar materials he was happy to oblige.
“It’s a blessing to be able to do this project for our parish,” he said. “Many people work many hours to make our church what it is and I am glad to do whatever I can to help.”
The shrine was made possible by the St. Raphael chapter of the Council of Catholic Women through a $3,000 bequest from CCW member Lily Manfredo Riconda. St. Joseph has special meaning for Lily, whose late husband, Leo Joseph Riconda, was born on March 19, the feast of St. Joseph.
• Click on photo of St. Joseph above to enlarge | Photos by Jane Winstead