‘HOMELESS JESUS’ IN DANA POINT

DANA POINT — The newest figure on the grounds of St. Edward the Confessor Church has been the object of double- and even triple-takes by passersby and even parishioners, but his effect has been striking and unmistakable.

But then Jesus has always had that kind of effect, even if one can only see a small part of him.

The Jesus in this incarnation is a casting of the original “Homeless Jesus” bronze sculpture by Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz, depicting the figure of Christ as a homeless person sleeping on a park bench, covered nearly head to foot in a blanket. His face and hands are obscured by the blanket but the wounds on his exposed feet reveal his identity.

The original sculpture was installed at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Davidson, N.C., but others are on display in Chicago, Texas, Detroit, Indiana and Dublin, Ireland.

The sculpture at St. Edward the Confessor is located between the entrance and exit of the church on a grassy area and can be viewed from the street, said St. Edward’s pastor Father Brendan Manson.

“It’s a powerful image and you have to draw close to it to see the nail wounds,” said Father Brendan. “It’s a reminder that we’re a house of prayer and a house of the poor, and also that we’re called to draw closer to Jesus Christ, and the least among us.”

The sculpture was donated by a parishioner, said Father Brendan, who called it “beautiful and somewhat unsettling. It’s a visual reminder that Jesus is not only found, loved and served within the walls of…the church, but we are called and sent to recognize, love and serve Jesus in one another, particularly the poor and marginalized. We enter the church to pray, and we leave to serve.”

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