When I walked into St. Edmond's Church in S. Philly, I was stunned to absolute silence when I saw the sanctuary.
I didn't even notice the flowers (which says a lot given they spilled out of the sanctuary and up two aisles different aisles). I was absolutely taken by the giant mural of Calvary, the breathtaking statues of depicting the Crucifixion.
At first, I didn't even notice Mary Magdalene at the foot of the Cross. You can barely make her out from the iPhone photo above. But she's there, clinging to Christ's Cross, grieved for the suffering He endured. The Blessed Mother's face was sad but intensely loving - as if she wanted to soothe His suffering with arrows of Love shot directly from her broken heart. Poor St. John just looks humble and awestruck... as if he's just beginning to understand what Jesus meant all those times He said He'd have to leave him and the other disciples.
Christ, for His part, is displayed with His arms outstretched and both hands with three fingers raised. Behind Him, on the mural, is painted Jerusalem. A storm is raging as no doubt the veil of the Temple is being torn in two.
It was by contemplating this sanctuary that I realized Christ was forced out of the earthly Jerusalem in order to open the gates of the Heavenly Jerusalem to us.
He exiled Himself from Heaven to come to Earth in order to come back again the Victor over death.
I love this sanctuary! What a powerful visual. I'm still in awe - even through a terrible iPhone photo!
Above this scene is a mural of the Coronation of Mary. It's dark, but you can see it here:
The angel to the left is kneeling and holding a banner that reads "Hail Mary, Queen of Heaven." The other angels are kneeling and blessing God for her triumph over sin to become Queen of Heaven.
The Trinity is present (even though you can't make out the Holy Spirit - sorry). Beneath them are seven gorgeous stained glass windows, each one depicting a Sacrament.
I found this art setup to be ingenious. Your eye is drawn up to the Heavens, but your focus is always on the Crucifixion.
It's just beautiful.
I'll have to stop back at this church with a real camera at some point. You can tell the parishioners take incredibly good care of it. Everything is impeccable. Uncle Billy was blessed to have his final Mass said in such a beautiful place of worship. I hope others attending the funeral felt a little closer to God... a little more understanding of His love... as a result of seeing these incredible works of sacred art.
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