Cardinal Czerny blesses sculpture on showing kindness to strangers

Cardinal Michael Czerny, S.J., Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, blesses a new sculpture entitled “Be Welcoming” dedicated to migrants and refugees saying it serves as a reminder to show kindness to those around us.

By Vatican News staff writer

Cardinal Michael Czerny, S.J., Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, has blessed a new sculpture located at the St. Mary of the Lake Catholic Church in Chicago, USA.

Back view of the "Be Welcoming" statue by artist Tim Schmalz

Back view of the “Be Welcoming” statue by artist Tim Schmalz

An Angel in disguise

“Be Welcoming” is by Canadian artist, Timothy Schmalz, known especially for his lifelike Homeless Jesus statues and the Angels Unawares sculpture of migrants and refugees in St Peter’s Square.

The bronze sculpture depicts a stranger sitting on a bench carrying their belongings on their back.

Walking to the other side, the “stranger” is revealed to actually be an angel in disguise.

Front view of the "Be Welcoming" statue by artist Tim Schmalz

Front view of the “Be Welcoming” statue by artist Tim Schmalz

“I hope that this sculpture will continuously keep us alert to who are the angels, alert to our invitation to be angels for others, alter to discovering that God sends us angels in the poor, in the lost and the neglected,” Cardinal Czerny said at an unveiling ceremony Tuesday.

Artist Timothy Schmalz said the “Be Welcoming” sculpture is inspired by a bible passage that reminds us to show kindness and hospitality to those in we encounter.

The Artist

Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz has spent 25 years sculpting large-scale works in bronze that are installed all over the world.

Much of Mr. Schmalz’s artwork focuses on timely issues of social justice, including homelessness, migration, and human trafficking.

The power of art, Mr. Schmalz said in an interview with Vatican News earlier this year, is “to create awareness in a very subtle and beautiful way to a whole society.”