VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Like many Catholic parishes, the Vatican has turned to a raffle to raise money; the difference is, though, the prizes are items originally given as gifts to Pope Francis.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis said he would attend the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September, making it the first confirmed stop on what is expected to be a more extensive papal visit to North America.
Up above the shoreline of the Mediterranean Sea, Saint Peter's Church shines as the beacon to the Holy Land from the old port city of Jaffa. Peter's vision of the clean and unclean took place here at the house of Simon the tanner. Jaffa (Joppa in biblical times) was also the departure port for the prophet Jonah's encounter with the whale.Bob Mullen/The Catholic Photographer, a member of the Cathedral of St. Joseph Parish in Hartford and a regular contributor to The Catholic Transcript, visited Israel Nov. 4-11 and shared the sites through these photographs. The Israel Ministry of Tourism and El Al Israel Airlines arranged the “Catholic Highlights of Israel” tour primarily for writers, editors and photographers for Catholic media. The photos marked "Photo of the Day" are available for download for free. They will be highlighted periodically.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) will be taken up in parishes nationwide on Nov. 22-23, the weekend before Thanksgiving. Echoing the teaching of Pope Francis, the collection focuses on the theme: “CCHD: Working on the Margins.”
“In the United States, many Americans continue to face the effects of a stagnant economy, debilitating unemployment, a dehumanizing cycle of poverty, and growing civic disenfranchisement,” said Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The world's bishops are called to be servants and shepherds who use their position to care for people and the faith, not to seek power and boost their pride, Pope Francis said.
The church has no place for men with a "worldly mentality" who are seeking a career, he said at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square Nov. 5.
"It's sad when you see a man who seeks this office and who does so much to get there and when he makes it, he doesn't serve, but struts like a peacock, living only for his own vanity," the pope said.
BRANFORD – St. Mary School’s seventh and eighth graders are learning science and math from Albertus Magnus College faculty now as part of a new partnership.
The partnership is designed to improve the St. Mary students’ competitiveness in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields of study. The school’s STEM program aims to provide students with a dynamic, engaging series of educational experiences based on an innovative, in-depth and hands-on approach to science.
Archbishop Emeritus Henry J. Mansell blesses a garden in the second floor waiting area of the St. Francis/Mount Sinai Regional Cancer Center in Hartford Nov. 1.
The garden is in memory of Nina Griswold Giorgio, a friend of St. Francis Care and a member of the St. Francis Auxiliary, who died of cancer in March.
WATERBURY – Over 300 people bundled into La Bella Vista Restaurant at the Pontelandolfo Club in Waterbury on a chilly Nov. 2, All Souls Day, to celebrate the 22nd annual awards dinner of Carolyn’s Place Pregnancy Care Center.
Two of Ron Daisomont's Bible-inspired soap sculptures are pictured at left. (Photo by Jack Sheedy)
WATERBURY – During his 27 years building Broadway and movie sets, Ron Daisomont learned how to work with wood, metal and a variety of other materials. But with tight deadlines, patience was not his strong suit. "I’d be the guy you’d hear swearing," he said.
Now, he is working with a new material, and he is learning patience. His art is biblical sculpture. His medium: bars of Dial soap.
You might say he has cleaned up his act.
"I used to work for Scenic Technologies, out of New Windsor, N.Y.," he said. "I worked on all the major Broadway shows, including Cats, the original Les Miserables, the original Phantom [of the Opera], and a lot of road shows."
Four years ago, he fell at a train station and fractured several bones. It put him out of commission, and he has had to look for other ways to use his talents. About a year ago, he found a way.
"A friend of mine took a bar of soap and carved a hand. He took another and carved another hand, so he had praying hands," Mr. Daisomont said. "He put them on a base. I said, ‘Gee, I could probably do that.’ So, the next day I actually started carving crosses, and God gave me the name of it: Crosswerks Ministries."
Presumably, God spelled it correctly, but a computer search told Mr. Daisomont that there were some 1,900 companies with "Crossworks" in their names. So he settled on "Crosswerks."
Mr. Daisomont’s soap sculptures range in size from about four inches high and a few ounces in weight to nearly a foot high and weighing about three pounds. Some large pieces give a new meaning to "eight to the bar."
Biblical scenes include King David’s golden harp, for which he uses dental floss for the strings; Noah’s ark, both during the flood and after landing on Mount Ararat; chariots with wheels that actually turn on axles fashioned from pen cartridges; crosses and crucifixes; chalices; gates of Samson; and more.
Does it matter which kind of soap he uses?
"Oh, absolutely, yes. Dial soap. Actually, I tried a few different types. My buddy didn’t really know what kind of soap he used."
Mr. Daisomont discovered that a 3.2-ounce bar of Dial is dryer than most other brands and easier to work with. "I’ll go to a dollar store and buy like 16 bars at a time, three bars for a dollar. Ten days ago I bought 62 bars, and I think I have a dozen left," he said. He saves all his shavings and molds them into tiny swords, helmets, shields and bases for his sculptures.
To join several bars, he will use a carpenter’s lap joint, fit them together, pour hot water over them, drain the water and press the bars together until they are fused.
Among the more than 100 sculptures he has made are about 30 armors of God. "If you look up Ephesians, chapter 6: 10-20, it will tell you all about putting on the armor of God," he said. "I use the breastplate, the shield, the helmet; and then the sword, naturally, is the word of God."
The only paint that he uses is gold paint for the chalices and David’s harp. "Anything that’s brown is instant coffee," he said. Other colors are achieved by shaving colored pencil leads and mixing them with a special floor wax, letting it set, and then applying the mixture with a Q-tip.
Using a few simple tools like an X-ACTO knife, a razor blade, a hacksaw blade and sandpaper, he is able to achieve the look and texture of wood, marble, granite and other materials. But, he doesn’t take credit for it. "It’s all the work of the Holy Spirit," he said.
"I was a carpenter for many years and a certified welder, but I have absolutely zero training in art," he said. "Doing these sculptures is like putting plastic models of cars together, except there are no directions. The Holy Spirit is my directions."
Mr. Daisomont, who attends St. Michael Church in Waterbury, hopes to form a nonprofit organization, build a Web site and sell his sculptures at church bazaars to raise money for Catholic causes. Until then, he is stockpiling his art and selling it piece by piece, starting at $29.95. When a repairman showed up at his home to work on the television, Mr. Daisomont showed him the sculptures in his studio.
"He was here for over an hour," Mr. Daisomont said. "My TV’s still the same."
For more information on Crosswerks Ministries, call Mr. Daisomont at (203) 419-6286.