The restored statue of Jesus is lifted back into place on the cross on the west side of St. Agnes Church.

WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ

The restored statue of Jesus is lifted back into place on the cross on the west side of St. Agnes Church.

December 29, 2014
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

After a four-month hiatus, the statue of Jesus is back on the cross outside St. Agnes Church, 10826-62 Ave.

It was returned Dec. 10 and it looks sparklingly clean and shiny. It took two cranes to lift the 450-kilogram cast iron statue up and screw it back in place.

Project manager Bob Forrow, a member of the twinned pastoral council of St. Agnes and St. Anthony parishes, was happy to see the project come to an end. "It's a unique job but there was always a problem."

St. Agnes decided to have the statue refurbished last summer because rust had begun to form on it.

"We were worried that eventually the rust would eat through the statue and it would become a hazard and might fall on a parishioner," explained Forrow.

The seven-foot statue was placed on the west side of the church a few years after the church was built in 1953.

With financing in place, Forrow began looking for a company to do the job. It wasn't an easy task. "It took me a long time to find people who would do it," he recalled. "It's not like you can look for someone in the Yellow Pages."

He talked to the Alberta Museum and the City of Edmonton and both recommended a well-known city sculptor. After realizing the job was too big for him, the sculptor recommended a south side firm called Behrends, which does signage, outdoor installations and electrical work.

WALNUT SHELLS

Behrends removed the statue in August and cleaned off the rust. Then workers sandblasted the statue with walnut shells rather than sand for fear that sand would damage the details on the sculpture, particularly details of the face.

"It would have looked mushy," noted Forrow.

At the request of the parish council, workers painted the statue bronze and put on a coat of preservative. The wooden cross was in good condition as it had been covered in metal. Parish volunteers painted it to protect it from the weather.

Forrow said Behrends could have completed the job in a month but it was delayed by weather and other problems. The total cost of the project was $8,000.