Venice | Bishop Frank J. Dewane dedicated and blessed a “Homeless Jesus” statue Nov. 25 outside Epiphany Cathedral in Venice. The sculpture is located by the south entrance to the Cathedral, across from the U.S. Post Office. It serves as a visual representation of Matthew 25 which states: “In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.”
The sculpture suggests that Christ is with the most marginalized in our society. The Christ figure is shrouded in a blanket with His face covered, with the only indication that the figure is Jesus being the visible wounds on the feet. The life-size version of the work cast in bronze metal provides enough room for someone to sit on the bench.
The “Homeless Jesus” statue was created by Canadian Catholic Timothy P. Schmalz. Bishop Dewane has long admired the sculpture and in the Fall of 2017, with the help of other donors from Epiphany Cathedral, commissioned a copy for the Cathedral.
Following the blessing, Bishop Dewane noted that the statue is a stark reminder that we should always treat our brothers and sisters in Christ with dignity because in each of them is the image and likeness of God.
Grace Harden admired the statue for what it represents and how it makes her feel. “It’s very powerful,” she said. “When I first saw the statue, it made me pause to wonder what it was. Once I realized that it was Jesus lying there, I had to stop and wonder if I would recognize Jesus if He appeared before me in this way.”