Photo: 2008©

Towering Monstrance Unveiled

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By Dan Valenti and Susan Knickrehm

Before an overflow crowd of nearly 2,000 people, a towering monstrance that will be the centerpiece of the new Sanctuary of The Divine Mercy was unveiled Saturday, May 31, at St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church in Chicago, Ill.

The stirring ceremony featured a dedication Mass and a homily by Cardinal Francis George, Archibishop of Chicago. Both the secular and religious media, including PBS and EWTN, covered the unveiling.

Father Anthony Bus, CR, pastor of St. Stanislaus, began the Mass with remarks in which he contrasted the "noise of the world" with the spiritual silence that is to be found with Jesus and Mary. He pastorally asked those in attendance: "Which noise will you listen to? The noise of the world or the 'noise' of Our Lady?" The words dripped with irony — inside the packed church, the noise of the world could not be heard, only the utter silence that carried its pure "sound" straight to the heart.

The Power of Mary
The monstrance, carved from linden wood by sculptor Stefan Niedorezo using techniques developed by masters in the Renaissance, stands nine feet tall and weighs 700 pounds. Malgorzata Saawczuk serves as project coordinator. She also applied the gilding that adorns the work.

In his homily, Cardinal George spoke of the power of Mary. That was fitting, considering the role the Blessed Mother has played in events surrounding the monstrance and the planned shrine. Nine years ago, Fr. Bus says he had a vision in which Mary asked that he build the new sanctuary. His book, A Mother's Plea: Lifting the Veil in Sanctuary (Marian Press), details that experience. Originally published in 2005, the book has been reissued with updates on the project.

"The Mass was truly breathtaking," said one attendee. "People were focused and open," she said. "You could see how they were preparing their hearts to receive the Body of Christ. ... The most moving part was when the Eucharist was placed in the monstrance, which transformed the sculpture from a piece of artwork into the tabernacle of the living God."

The Eucharist placed in the monstrance was about 10 inches in diameter.

Joy and Bounty Flow through the People
People spoke of a great sense of joy and bounty flowing through the crowd, despite the sweltering conditions inside the church. After Mass, many remained in Adoration. Some got out of their pews to walk close to the altar so they could get a better view of the monstrance, while others were prostrate on the ground, kneeling on the floor, or just standing in awe before the Eucharist. Many walked out of the church with tears in their eyes.

Many families attended despite temperatures in the 90s. The ceremonies began at 6 p.m. eastern time. Long after Mass, people lingered. In fact, at 11 p.m., the church was still packed. People crowded near the front entrance to St. Stanislaus Church, talking about their personal experiences they had in the unveiling, Mass, and Adoration.

"It was almost as if you were away from the world," shared one pilgrim, "and Noble Drive [the location of the church in Chicago] had become a piece of heaven on earth. You could see the happiness glowing in their eyes! Father Anthony proves that when one person says 'yes' to the will of God, they can truly change the world."

Dan Valenti writes for numerous publications of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, both in print and online. He is the author of "Dan Valenti's Journal" on Susan Knickrehm is communications coordinator for the monstrance unveiling.

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Be a part of the discussion. Add a comment now!

donna .e. - Jun 3, 2008

Sounds absolutely awsome, wish I was there to see something so brilliant as the Blessed Host in a 700 pound Monstrance!! Wow! God bless the makers...and the see'rs.

Gary&Jeannie.l. - Jun 8, 2008

We were at the blessed event.It was heaven on earth.PRAY! PRAY! PRAY!The LORD is truly among us!

Christian - Jun 8, 2008

I was there today. I came back for the second time this week. It is truly something very special and unique. My hear felt instantly pierced with the love and presence of God and Our Lady. The church is located next the the Kennedy expressway (600K cars pass by everyday). The goal is to raise 20 million to build the divine mercy perpetual adoration shrine. Please be apart of and help them.

patricia - Nov 23, 2008

I Love Jesus the Divine Mercy .At our parish church we have the Divine Mercy Holy Hour every Tuesday at 3pm.I also wish I could have been there.Lets all pray for more parishes to begin devotions to The Divine Mercy.We so much need Jesus and Mother Mary.

Saddened - Mar 30, 2009

Not only is this monstrosity ugly but it should not be placed as the center of the altar. It is a blasphemy against God to pray to any other than in the trinity. All mankind (including Mary) are sinful and seperated from God. Romans 3:9-10
In 1 Timothy 2:5-6 it says "There is one God and ONE mediator between God and men, that is the man Jesus Christ."

Christian2 - Mar 31, 2009

My family has a long history with this church. Two years ago, we attended the church to celebrate my parents' 40th Anniversary. This past week, we attended our uncle's funeral, and I cannot say enough words to express the sadness and heaviness of heart that I felt, and continue to feel, after being in St. Stans and seeing that horrific statue on the alter. I felt as if I were in a Hindu temple. I could barely pray because that statue is so all-consuming. JESUS should be the center point. But instead, there is a small cross with Jesus off to the side. I pray that the statue is removed and the church and alter is restored to its original form, with Jesus as the centerpoint.

Gloria - Feb 16, 2011

"Saddened" and "Christian2" apparently are unaware that this is not a statue, but a monstrance in which the Most Blessed Sacrament, Our Lord Jesus Christ, is displayed for public adoration. He IS front and center, truly present in the Eucharist, Body, Blood, soul and divinity. (Whether or not you believe this teaching of the Catholic Church is another issue, entirely.)
The Blessed Virgin Mary was the first tabernacle, in whose womb the Son of God chosed to reside for the first 9 months of His earthly life.
Holy Scripture inspired the monstrance design - read Revelation where John saw the Ark of the Covenant (who is) the woman clothed with the sun who then bore the Child. Mary, Theotokos (God Bearer), is the ultimate Ark of the Covenant worthy of reverence. "All generations will call me blessed."

Joy - Mar 3, 2011

Gloria, you are so right! Our poor protestant brothers and sisters miss the fullness of Jesus in every way. They don't realize it. It's sad. Protestant= Protest-ant, what are they protesting? The Catholic church! Like an undisciplined child, Luther (and the other heretics) left the One True Church to start their own, they didn't like what God set forth, they wanted to interpret for themselves. Jesus started the Catholic church, nourishing us with his own flesh. Men started all the Protestant sects! What a beautiful monstrance, Jesus is centered within her, just as he was when she carried him on this earth! "Saddened" obviously does not know scripture, the 5th commandment states, "Honor your Father and Mother, so that all will go well with you".Jesus's mother is Mary. Are we not to honor the mother of God? I thought Protestants believed Jesus is God?! I guess it's obvious that they don't.

RioLion - Jun 22, 2013


Just another display of the gross and blasphemous idolatry found with Roman Catholicism

Gunnar - Apr 17, 2014

This new monstrance looks and sounds absolutely glorious!

I can only imagine the joy of the concelebrants. I love Mary and to see her represented here as she is.....Blessed Theotokos....wonderful. The host residing within her beautiful aspect resplendent and triumphant.

I am discerning a possible vocation to the priesthood at this time in my life. If I ever enter such a life I imagine assisting at a Mass in this hallowed sanctuary with this astounding Marian Ark of Mercy would be the greatest of joys!

It's wonderful!