Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Mary, Queen of the Apostles Adorns Church

Front of Church after trees cut down
After cutting down trees in front of his Church, Fr. Jim Stenger called Henninger's for ideas to make his brick A-frame building look "more like a Church" from the street while honoring Mary, the patron of his Church.  Fr. Stenger's Church was the result of a merger of Assumption of Mary Church and St. Peter the Apostle Church and the new Church had been named Mary, Queen of the Apostles Church.  So Henninger's set out on some ideas for including Mary while including the Apostles while keeping costs in check.  Complicating the matter, the new design needed to be able to make it through the weather in Cleveland, meaning that wood, plaster, or anything else that would be affected by rain, snow, or any other possible weather.

The first thought was to incorporate a mosaic on the front of the building, but the size needed for the mosaic to be noticed from the street would have resulted in the creation of nearly 54 square feet of mosaic, which would then have to be installed on the exterior of the Church, causing the cost to become prohibitive.

Henninger's then approached Fr. Stenger about a fiberglass statue of Mary, holding the Christ Child and wearing a crown, that was available in a bronze finish.  The statue was available in an 8' size and the bronze powder that was used when the fiberglass casting was made would age like real bronze, allowing it to stand out from the brick facade nicely.  However, because the statue was cast in fiberglass, weight was not the issue that it would have been with a cast bronze piece.

In approaching the Apostles, Henninger's found steel stars that could be configured around the statue on Mary on the front of the building, with 12 stars representing each of the Apostles.  With the design finalized, Henninger's arranged for the statue to be made in Italy by the Demetz Art Studio and sent to Cleveland.  Upon arrival, the statue was uncrated and prepared for installation, with the size of the statue and the beauty of the statue amazing everyone who saw the stunning statue.

After readying the site and installing a limestone shelf upon which the 250 lb. statue would sit, Henninger's crew went to work on scaffolding to install the statue, then the stars around the statue on the front of the building.

The result of the design work and installation led Fr. Stenger to remark that the front of the Church looked "better than he could have imagined" with Mary and the Apostles honored on the facade of the Church and a complete transformation for the look of the Church.

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