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Statue of Jesus finds home at Gretna shrine


A life-size statue of Jesus originally planned for the personal garden of an Omaha couple is now at home at the Holy Family Shrine near Gretna.

Archbishop Emeritus Elden Francis Curtiss will dedicate the statue March 28 during a 2:30 p.m. ceremony open to the public. A light reception will follow.

The bronze figurine, created by sculptor Carl Weiss, a member of St. Joseph Parish in Springfield, is Jesus kneeling and praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.

It was donated by Dr. Bert and Joy Frichot of Omaha, who originally had Weiss make the statue to display in their personal gardens. It will be placed in a prayer garden on the shrine grounds east of the chapel.

"This is another example of the marvelous ways the Lord has made things happen," said Father Matthew Gutowski, pastor of St. Joseph Parish and one of the shrine's founders. "We always say he's the one who built the shrine and continues to bless us with these various facets."

The Holy Family Shrine, located along Interstate 80, opened in 2002 after four people felt inspired by the Holy Spirit to build a roadside chapel. More than 20,000 people from all over the world visit the shrine each year.

Two years ago, Weiss offered the bronze Jesus to the shrine, and while doing so, proposed that the shrine's board move forward with its master plan to have outdoor life-size walking Stations of the Cross spanning 650 yards - the estimated distance Jesus carried the cross.

Weiss is working on the first Station - Jesus is condemned. He and shrine personnel are seeking potential donors for the project. Each station will be added as funds permit.

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