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Fort Collins’ Saint John XXIII Parish recently unveiled and blessed a 12 foot statue of Saint Michael the Archangel. The parish commissioned Herb Mignery, a Catholic artist with special devotion to Saint Michael, to carve the statue. The project began in 2018 when Pastor Saint John XXIII, Father Rocco Porter, saw the four foot statue in the parish of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. It was then that he knew that the representation of Saint-Michel was to be placed in the place of the new parish project, which is part of a larger fundraising campaign.
By the grace of God, Father Porter was brought to Mignery by Luke Hecker, director of the St. John XXIII fundraising campaign, who has been friends with the artist for years. For Father Porter and the parishioners, the statue is there to remind people of the daily spiritual warfare against Satan and darkness. The statue is a fulfillment of the vision that Pope Leo XIII had when he wrote the prayer of St. Michael in 1884.
As the statue of St. Michael was blessed by Father Porter, he reminded parishioners that when the church blesses and presents a statue for public veneration, it is for the faithful “to look at those who have faithfully followed Christ. and are motivated to seek the city that is to come… May we learn the path that will most surely allow us to achieve complete union with Christ. That as we grapple with our earthly cares, we will be mindful of the saints, those friends and joint heirs with Christ who are also our own brothers and sisters. “
Mignery also said a few words about the statue in the Moss Miracle that happened a long time ago when he was working on his first statue of St. Michael.
“This moss miracle that happened 20 years ago regarding this piece has nothing to do with me as an artist or as a Christian,” Mignery said. “It has no reflection on my professional life, it does not determine in any way, one way or another, the quality of my art and the artistic importance of my art. It was simply a case where God found the perfect opportunity to manifest in material form the presence and existence of Saint Michael. So, for this reason, I do not take credit for it in many ways, because I was very well guided by the Spirit, by God and by Saint Michael.
Mignery has worked as a sculptor of bronze statues for years and his works have been recognized and seen across the country. It seems, however, that all these statues created by him pale in comparison to the meaning and creation of the statue of St. Michael. Mignery is in fact a converted Catholic and believes that God put him on this Earth to sculpt these statues which put in physical representation the mighty Prince of the Archangels.
The bronze statue is currently placed at the entrance of the church and displays the majesty of God through his creation of the holy angels. Saint Michael, standing with a sword and a shield, pushes Lucifer and his servants away. On his belt buckle, in Latin, is inscribed the phrase “Et Impetum, Impetum Est”, meaning “Attack or be attacked”, in reference to the spiritual warfare that we wage with our prayers.
Father Porter encouraged the parishioners to take their weapon which is the rosary and to pray so that they can help Saint Michael in the fight against evil.
“It’s so important that we are in attack mode, not in defense mode, because when you go into defense it’s easy to get pushed back,” he said. “We must always be ready to fight in spiritual warfare. “
Currently, the original plans for the Undeniable Presence campaign, where a new church, as well as a Catholic dormitory for students, was to be built, are pending. Due to COVID, the developer they worked with was forced to downsize. Father Porter, Hecker, and those working on the campaign found it unwise to continue with the project at this time. However, it is possible to open an emergency care clinic for women next to the parish. There is a smaller replica of the statue of Saint Michael which is sold by Saint John XXIII and all of the proceeds of which will go to fund the clinic.
Even though the fundraising campaign doesn’t continue on the original track at this time, Hecker, along with Father Porter, thinks it’s great to open a clinic as we live in an age where life and families are threatened.
“That’s why we have our plan and God has his plan,” Hecker said. Build this, this is the battle where lives are lost.[and[CatholicCharitessaying’Buildthisthisisthebattlewherelivesarebeinglost’”[and[CatholicCharitessaying‘Buildthisthisisthebattlewherelivesarebeinglost’”