St. Benedict Church's enduring connection to immigrants will be portrayed in a dramatic new sculpture on the grounds of the Catholic parish on Main Street in Eggertsville.
The parish on Wednesday unveiled a small resin model of the sculpture, "Angels Unawares," by Canadian artist Timothy P. Schmalz.
The actual bronze sculpture, which will measure 7 feet long and 6 feet tall, is scheduled to be installed on a sidewalk in front of the church in 2019, sometime after the start of Lent.
The sculpture will depict 140 migrants from diverse historical and cultural backgrounds on a single boat, with angel wings.
St. Benedict’s founding pastor, Monsignor William Tobin, was an immigrant from Ireland, and the parish recently assisted in the resettlement of two refugee families in collaboration with St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Amherst and Journey's End Refugee Services.
The sculpture will be a symbol of the parish’s long connection to migrants, said the Rev. Robert Mock, current pastor.
Schmalz, who lives in Kitchener, Ont., crafted the "Homeless Jesus" sculpture that was installed in 2015 outside St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Buffalo.
A Vatican-commissioned "Angels Unawares" is scheduled to be the first installation of the sculpture at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome on Ash Wednesday 2019. The second sculpture will be at St. Benedict Church.