EL DORADO — Carved mahogany icons grace the front doors, catching the attention of parishioners of Holy Redeemer Church in El Dorado as they enter the church to worship.
Designed to offer a moment of transition from the outside world to the inner sacred place of Holy Redeemer, the project was three years in the making. Father Gregory Pilcher, OSB, said the beauty of the churches he saw on his pilgrimages through Europe inspired him to bring the story of Christ to life on the doors as a way to signal the entrance into the worship area of the nave.
Depicting scenes from the Bible, the eight icons are carved with gold accents and are read from bottom to top, but also tell a story when read from left to right, Father Pilcher said.
Beginning at the lower panel reading upward, the left door depicts The Fall of Man, The Nativity, The Holy Family and The Crucifixion. The right door shows from the bottom up, The Harrowing of Hell, The Resurrection, The Ascension and Christ the King.
The pastor commissioned Catholic liturgical artist George Hoelzeman of Hattieville to produce the artwork. Owner of G. R. Hoelzeman Studios, Hoelzeman does liturgical art, design and consultancy around the country.
The icons were installed on the doors in December, Father Pilcher said, and are a part of ongoing renovations at the parish. The pastor has used Hoelzman’s commissioned work over the past 10 years, installing an ambo, baptismal font, presider’s chair and altars.
The icons were paid for by donations from parishioners.
Father Pilcher began fundraising for the project three years ago by offering the eight icons as memorials or honorariums for parishioners to express themselves in a permanent way. Those donating to the project were Steve and Andree Cosse; Phil and Denise Pesek in memory of Shirley Pesek; Kay McVay and children Karen, David, Linda, Stephen, Susan and Patrick in memory of David McVay and his son Michael; Ernie and Becky Cagle in memory of Jack and Vivian Norman; Marie, Thomas, Kevin and Michael McKinlay for special memories of the church family 2008-2013; John and Laurie Eckart in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Leo Eckart and Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Baltz; Susan and Joseph Hickey in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Elery W. Owens and Dr. and Mrs. J.P. Hickey; and by the children of Robyn Jucas in her memory.
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