On May 14, 1995, the statue of Mary, Mother of Mercy, was dedicated by the Knights of Columbus, Council #9259. Fr. John O’Connor, OFM dedicated and blessed the statue.
Finding a spot for the statute was no easy task, council member Dominic Mingione recalls. Bob Jones, who was the Grand Knight, balked at the idea initially. However, he eventually concurred and worked with Dominic to submit a letter to Fr. Rodger McQuarrie, one of the friars at St. Francis, requesting to place the statue on the church grounds. Originally, the council wanted to place the statue in the middle of the lawn, near the St. Francis statue. However, Fr. John O’Connor, Pastor at St. Francis at the time, and Fr. Rodger disapproved of that location, and suggested a spot up on the hill. “As it turned out, that was an ideal spot,” Dominic said. The council voted on and approved the location of the statue, as well as the cost, which was around $2000.
The statue itself was made in Italy from fiberglass. The council had acquired it from a local provider. “When we got it, it looked ok,” Dominic said. “But it was not nearly what we had seen in other locations.” To improve the overall look and quality of the statue, the council decided to paint it. A coat of paint protected the porous statue, and gave it a cleaner look. Dominic knew a friend who owned a car shop, and he agreed to put a clear coat of paint on the statue for free. Once the coat of paint was finished, Dominic and Skip Brown transported the statue in the bed of Skip’s pick-up truck and drove it to the church for the dedication.
The ceremony itself was gorgeous. A procession with the statue occurred around the grounds of the church. During the procession, everyone prayed the rosary and sang “Flowers of the Rarest” and “Ave Maria.” Several knights worked hard, using timber ties to inch the statue up the hill to its final resting spot.
The statue has only grown in popularity since its dedication. Parishioners and visitors frequently visit the statue and are inspired to pray, reflect and/or leave flowers in honor of Mary, who lovingly intercedes for us through her own prayers to our loving God. It’s also used by parents, families, and couples for pictures.
The total process took about eight months from the initial conception of the statue to dedicating it on May 14, 1995. “When you kick off an idea like that, and then see it materialize, it’s really great,” Dominic said.
Thank you to all those who made this beautiful statue possible, including Dominic Mingione, Skip Brown, Bob Jones, John Peitler, Mike Cain, Skip Benyo, Fr. Rodger McQuarrie, OFM, and Fr. John O’Connor, OFM.