WCR PHOTO | CHRIS MILLER
The St. Joseph the Worker icon sat near the altar in Hinton's Our Lady of the Foothills Church.
The icon of St. Joseph the Worker commemorating the centennial of the Archdiocese of Edmonton has begun its tour of parishes in the far-flung archdiocese.
Blessed by Archbishop Richard Smith during a May 1 Mass at St. Joseph's Basilica, the icon remained there for the Week of Family and Life.
From there, it was transported to the archdiocese's western region where it is being displayed for a week at a time in parishes in Jasper, Grande Cache, Hinton and Edson.
Ensconced at Hinton's Our Lady of the Foothills Church from May 24 to 31, Basilian Father Brian Inglis, the pastor, encouraged parishioners to drop in and view both the icon and the accompanying historical display.
Accompanying the icon along its journey is the Jubilee 100 historical display, A Wonderful Transformation. The display is a series of doubled-sided panels that explains the archdiocese's history.
"The panels show the early faith and hard work of the Oblates and religious congregations of women and men to establish parishes, hospitals, schools, orphanages and homes for the elderly," Inglis said.
The icon is heavy and very large (59 inches high by 43 inches wide), requiring hard work to move. Either a truck or SUV is needed to transport the icon, and at least four people to lift it.
In Hinton, the icon was set up to the left of the altar. The tall historical panels were at the back of the church, and people passed by them as they entered and exited the building.
"Both the icon and the panels are beautifully done," said Inglis.
The icon will travel over the next 20 months, visiting parishes, missions, and educational institutions. After its tour ends Nov. 23, 2014, the icon will be permanently installed at the basilica.
The travelling icon is one way to bring a sense of unity to the archdiocesan Church, Inglis said. "We are not to see ourselves as individual parishes or the Church of Hinton, but the Church of Edmonton."
Archbishop Richard Smith said the icon should be a reminder about staying open to the working of God in our lives, and an invitation to trust in what God is doing as St. Joseph did.
Over the next few months, the icon will stop at special events, such as One Rock, a youth music festival in Cochrane, from July 19-22, the Skaro Pilgrimage, Aug. 14-16, and the Catholic Archivist Group Conference, Sept. 24-27.
Near Christmas and during Holy Week, the icon will be on display at the basilica.
During winter months, when weather conditions might be hazardous, the icon will travel within Edmonton, where distances are shorter between churches.
Friday was set as the transfer day between parishes to ensure that the icon and historic display are ready for weekend Mass.
Parishes will decide how to incorporate the icon into their activities.
Two sample liturgies were provided to guide veneration of the icon once it is set up in a church.