The statue of St. Gerard Majella was created by Jorge Posada. The St. Gerard relic is displayed in the saint's outstretched arm.
The Sanctuary contains nine icons, one of the Risen Christ surrounded by eight saints.
The icons depict the following: St. Francis of Assisi, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Martin de Porres, St. John the Baptist, the Risen Christ, St. Clare of Assisi, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Gregory the Great, and St. Frances Cabrini.
These saints were chosen to represent various aspects of the Christian experience.The following is an explanation and brief account of the lives of these holy men and women. Each saint's story deals with overcoming the struggles of everyday life.
Each story is a testimony of the power of faith in their lives. This faith empowered them to make the journey of death to a new life, dying to themselves so that Christ could live in them.
These icons represent the lives of real people. They are our heroes in the faith. They have dealt with many of the same struggles and obstacles to the faith that we face.
Whether it be as basic as - is Jesus the Son of God, or coping with grief, or facing racism, or moving to a new country, or converting to the Catholic faith - these saints show us the way through their faith response.
Not only did they overcome various personal obstacles, each of them in turn gave expression to their faith by their ministry. Whether it be founding a new religious community, reaching out to the poor in their midst, educating the youth, caring for the sick - they enfleshed their faith with apostolic actions.
They stand before us as models, and they encourage us to take up our cross each day and follow the Lord. They teach us by example how we can breathe new life into our world by our response to the Gospel invitation of Christ. They are present to us as representatives of the full communion of saints, whose prayers we can request as we make our own response to our baptismal vows.
St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)
Francis is probably the most known and regarded saint by people of various faiths throughout the world. He was born into a wealthy family in Assisi, Italy. Francis, like many young people, searched for the meaning in his life.
One day while in prayer at the chapel of San Damiano, Francis heard from the image of Christ on the cross telling him "Francis, go out and build up my house, for it is nearly falling down." He would eventually understand these words to mean that he was being called to renew the Church.
He turned to the gospels as his guide in life. It was through the gospels that he embraced a life of poverty, chastity and obedience. While Francis is best known as the patron saint of ecology because of his profound love of all creation, he was chosen to be part of our icons because of his faithfulness to the gospel. St. Francis is also the founder of the Order of the Friars who once staffed our Mission.
St. Vincent de Paul (1580-1660)
Vincent is the patron saint of our faith community. Vincent's story is another one of struggle. Vincent aspired to the priesthood with little more ambition than to have a comfortable life.
But when he was confronted with the plight of the poor in his native France, he had an inner conversion. He dedicated his life to the service of the poor. He founded the Vincentians, a community of priests professing vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and stability.
They devoted themselves entirely to the people in smaller towns and villages. Later Vincent established confraternities of charity for the spiritual and physical relief of the poor and sick of each parish.
From these, with help of Saint Louisa de Marillac, came the Sisters of Charity, "whose convent is the sickroom, whose chapel is the parish church, whose cloister is the streets of the city."
He organized the rich women of Paris to collect funds for his missionary projects, founded several hospitals, collected relief funds for the victims of war, and ransomed over 1200 galley slaves from North Africa. He was zealous in conducting retreats for clergy at a time when there was great laxity, abuse and ignorance among them. He was a pioneer in clerical training and was instrumental in establishing seminaries.
St. Martin de Porres (1579-1639)
Martin's story is about a different type of struggle that he encountered. He was the illegitimate son of a freed-woman of Panama, probably a Negro but possibly of Indian descent, and a Spanish grandee of Lima, Peru. Martin was reared in poverty, locked into a low level of Lima's society.
At 12 his mother apprenticed him to a barber-surgeon. He learned to cut hair and also how to draw blood (a standard medical treatment then), care for wounds, and prepare and administer medicines.
He applied to the Dominicans to be a "lay helper," not feeling himself worthy to be a religious brother.
After nine years, the example of his prayer and penance, charity and humility led the community to request him to make full religious profession. His days were spent caring for the poor and nursing the sick.
Side by side with his daily work in the kitchen, laundry and infirmary, God chose to fill Martin's life with extraordinary gifts: ecstasies that lifted him into the air, light filling the room where he prayed, bi location, miraculous knowledge, instantaneous cures and remarkable control over animals. He has been chosen because of his struggle with racism.