By Rory Bostwick
Special to The Witness
MARION — Father David O’Connor, the pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Marion, purchased a beautiful wooden sculpture of the Holy Family in Bethlehem, on a recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The sculpture beautifully depicts the love of the Holy Family and accentuates the protective and fatherly care of St. Joseph.
Rory Bostwick, a parishioner and member of St. Joseph Boy Scout Troop 68, was in search of a worthy Eagle Scout project. Father O’Connor asked Rory if he was interested in renovating a shrine area in the church to house the Holy Family.
“At first, I was nervous because the project was not fully defined, and it would be very visible, but, after some thought and prayer, I decided to take it on.” Bostwick said, “I wanted to accomplish something that was lasting and that would help to bring people closer to God and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.”
The project developed into the repurposing and refurbishment of two separate shrine alcoves in the church. Originally, statues of The Blessed Mother Mary and St. Joseph hung in one shrine area, while the other contained a petition board and image of the Divine Mercy.
The project included trim removal, patching walls, painting the shrines and surrounding areas, upgrading light fixtures, repurposing the existing statues, and properly installing the new sculpture. Throughout the project, Bostwick was able to seek out and enlist the help of many skilled parishioners and scouts willing to volunteer their time and talents to help complete the project.
One shrine area now displays the new Holy Family sculpture on a beautiful handmade wood and marble base, made by parishioner, Bill Perreault. The second shrine area now incorporates both the Blessed Mother statue and the image of Divine Mercy. The shrine areas are complete with kneelers and adjustable lighting to provide a place where parishioners can feel comfortable to visit, pray, reflect and glorify God. Father O’Connor expressed a hope that this project will inspire and encourage other scouts to consider the possibilities for future Eagle Scout projects in service to the parish.
After a long journey and period of preparation, the Holy Family sculpture was blessed and dedicated by Father O’Connor, on Sunday, March 18, the day before the feast of St. Joseph.
Bostwick is a junior at Xavier High School in Cedar Rapids.
(Left to right): Scouts Aidan Bostwick, Rory Bostwick and Charles Bostwick with Father David O’Connor in the area renovated by Rory Bostwick. Between them is the statue of the Holy Family. St. Joseph parishioner Bill Perreault, created the base of the shrine. The statue was blessed on March 18. Rory Bostwick completed the project as part of his effort to become an Eagle Scout. (Contributed photo)