By Roxanne Schick
Bishop Fernando Isern blessed several beautiful works of art at Pope John Paul II in Pagosa Springs on April 13. The first, a crucifix created by Pagosa sculptor, Roberto Garcia, stands in front of the church entrance. Roberto sculpted a bronze corpus of Jesus Christ and then mounted it on an existing ten foot steel cross in front of Pope John Paul II Catholic Church.
He began these sculptures in 2003 and after three years the works were installed in the Prayer Garden.
Roberto is a full time sculptor and painter and believes the best art takes much practice in order to become skilled. Most often he creates art for the sake of art, or to fulfill the creative desire that is unique in all of us. All work represented in the Corpus is done by the artist, including the bronze casting. Information about his art can be found on his website: www.garcia-art.com.
The second piece of art was a set of four icons creating an iconostasis positioned on either side and adoring the crucifix in the church sanctuary. These icons were painted by Kati Ritchie, a part-time resident of Pagosa Springs.
An iconostasis is a screen that goes across the entrance to an Eastern Catholic sanctuary situated in the apse of the church. An image of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the beloved disciple, John, are obligatory and found on every iconostasis.
In Pope John Paul II, a Latin Rite church, there is no iconostasis, so the icons were placed on the rock walls on either side of the tabernacle and crucifix. The other icons are of St. Michael the Archangel, to whom many of the parish’s faithful are devoted, and Blessed John Paul II, the patron of one of the two major churches in the parish. The image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is the Marian image chosen because she is the namesake of the parish.
Kati Ritchi is a native of Minneapolis, Minn., and winter resident of Pagosa Springs. Kati is a trained archeologist, commercial translator, photojournalist, artist –– trained in classical atelier tradition, art teacher and founding teacher at Trinity School River Ridge, Eagan, Minn. She taught art for 15 years. For 40 years, she has also been a member of People of Praise, an ecumenical charismatic covenant community headquartered in South Bend, Ind.
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