Sunday, May 14, 2006

Jesus Makes News

Last Tuesday, a Daily News editor noticed a curious sight as he left work.

He was long familiar with the large statue of Jesus displaying his Sacred Heart that stood on the same block as the newspaper's headquarters. The statue, which looks almost directly at the national headquarters of Planned Parenthood across the street, had lost its right hand to vandalism. On this day, however, the editor saw that the statue was now surrounded by a metal frame — in preparation for its repair and for the installation of protective glass to prevent future vandalism.

I learned about the editor's discovery the following day, when I arrived at work and was asked by another editor if I could come up with a good headline for a story about Jesus under glass.

My jaw dropped. I had to explain that it was a surprise to be asked about the statue's renovation, since I was one of the locals and parishioners who had donated for the effort. (None of my senior colleagues had read my blog for a while.)

The story is in today's News (with a fine headline from the copy desk). I'm delighted and really overwhelmed that it's there. Being immersed in Catholic culture, it never would have occurred to me that people might be surprised to learn that vandalism is causing some churches to encase their statues. To me, the statue's important simply because it's beautiful and moving, providing comfort and inspiration to the faithful who pass by. But whatever the reason, just to have a picture of Jesus with his Sacred Heart in the country's sixth largest newspaper is wonderful. Look and it today and be blessed — see His face looking at you off the page know that He loves you.

Because of how this story happened, I am convinced more than ever that I need to trust God and not worry so much when media events like the "Da Vinci Code" give people a distorted image of Jesus. When He wants to get His true face into the news, He does.

UPDATE: The statue was featured on New York's Channel 5 news today at 5, 6, and 10 p.m. A reporter interviewed the pastor of the Church of St. Michael, which owns the statue (it stands near the entrance to a convent on the church grounds) and the craftsman who's repairing the hand. People really seem to be touched by this story of a church whose people wanted to give a hand to this statue that symbolizes Jesus' love and mercy.