Melbourne to honour Italian patron saints
New statues of St Francis of Asissi and Saint Catherine of Siena will be blessed and dedicated this Sunday at an unveiling ceremony in the grounds of Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral.
Archbishop George Pell told the Archdiocesan newspaper Kairos: "It is essential that we both recognise and support the contribution of the Italian community by a public statement such as the commissioning of these two statues. Their placement in the grounds of the Mother Church of Melbourne is a reminder of the importance of the faith and loyalty of the Italian Community."
The paper said that the Church and wider society of Melbourne have been immeasurably enriched by the presence and work of the Italian community for more than one hundred years, and more particularly since the great waves of migration to this country after the Second World War.
The statues were sculpted by Louis Laumen, a Melbourne based artist who also created the monument to Edward 'Weary' Dunlop at Benalla, Dunlop's birthplace. They represent the two saints' sharing in the suffering of Christ, St Francis with the stigmata and St Catherine holding the crown of thorns. The strength and the single-minded devotion of the saints is portrayed in the simple, yet dramatic lines of the sculptures.
The statues will be situated at the top of the new gardens and waterway (Pilgrim's Walk) which leads to the side entrance of the cathedral. Pilgrim's Walk is so named as it is the principal approach to the Cathedral used by the 250,000 tourists who visit the Cathedral each year and also by the many parish groups who come to the Cathedral as on a pilgrimage to the Mother Church of the archdiocese.
This project has been funded by the Archdiocese with the help of Italian businesses. A major contribution has come from the Grollo family.