“Communion of Saints” art piece which spans the front walls of the sanctuary of Saint Anne Catholic Church of All Saints Parish. The art piece is the creative work of artist John McCoy who was commissioned in the summer of 2016 to paint a representation of the Communion of Saints and to have the work completed in time for the parish’s feast day – the Solemnity of All Saints, November 1, 2016. The painting consists of 10 canvases, each 9 feet in height x 6 feet in width, on which are depictions of 62 celebrated saints of the Church.
The 62 featured saints represent the broad spectrum of the Communion of Saints, including the patron saints of the four former parishes (St. Anne, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist, and St. Mary, the Immaculate Conception). There are depictions of saints spanning the entire history of the Church, from its early formative years to recent times. (The most current being St. Jose Sanchez del Rio – who was canonized October 16, 2016, just two weeks before the painting was completed!). There are male and female saints, young and old, ordained, religious and lay persons, married and single, and representing the diversity of culture, race, and geographic area. While there are 62 recognizable saints, the entire Communion of Saints are represented by the outline of figures in the background.
All Saints Parish was formed when the previous four independent Catholic Parishes in Alpena merged into one, by decree of Bishop Steven Raica, Bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord, on May 1, 2015 and celebrated on the feast of Pentecost, May 24, 2015. Initially the newly merged parish was known as The Catholic Community of Alpena; however on February 2, 2016, following a process in which parishioners submitted names for consideration, the parish received its new – and current – name of “All Saints Parish” by decree of Bishop Raica. While there can be excitement about the changes that come when parishes merge, there is also disappointment, hurt, and yes, even anger and resentment that accompany those same changes as parishioners experience a sense of loss of their former identity and move gradually to accept their new identity as a merged parish. To foster that new identity, the All Saints Pastoral Council determined it was time to do something to help bring the parishioners together as one parish. It was with that spirit “Communion of Saints” art piece was commissioned.
May the Communion of Saints represented by this painting pray for us, and accompany us on the journeys of our lives; accompany us to the altar of sacrifice and the Eucharist, and accompany us, hopefully, to our heavenly home where we too will be part of the Communion of Saints.
A reflection from the artist . . .
Painting the “Communion of Saints” for All Saints Parish has been one of the most profound experiences of my life, and I have felt God’s presence and guiding hand through it. I am grateful to play a role in the Divine story which is His, to which he calls each of us; nothing beyond is more worthy of time and talent.
The artwork “Communion of Saints” is centered on the Eucharist and embodies the act of Adoration. The quiet that accompanies the painting is the invisible nature of the real Communion of Saints, there with us yearning for us to draw closer to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. The presence that emanates from the painting is the joy in our hearts when we are together in the Body of Christ