Chainsaw image of Christ graces ground of St. Thomas
Catholic Globe report
MANSON - A 12-foot Scotch pine tree trunk on the grounds of St. Thomas Catholic Church recently received a heavenly transformation. In a span of three days, the trunk was turned into a magnificent carved statue of Jesus by chainsaw artist, Jeff Klatt, from Storm Lake who was commissioned for the project by the Father Robert McClintock Knights of Columbus Council #14494.
According to Father Richard Ries, pastor, the Scotch pine, well over 90 years old and on its way out, once lined the walk in front of the old St. Thomas Church.
“The branches had died but the main trunk was intact,” he said. “I was asked whether we could have a statue carved into it. Many ideas were tossed around from a statue of St. Thomas, an eagle, an angel or Jesus. Of course, Jesus was unanimous. So the Knights of Columbus felled the top part of the tree so the artist could begin.”
Jerry W. Chizek, financial secretary for the KC Council, said Father Richard Ries was interested over the past few years in having a tree on the St. Thomas Church property sculpted.
He pointed out that they had a tree on the east side of the property line cut off at ten feet high several years ago and could not find a chainsaw artist to do the work. That tree deteriorated to the point where it could not be used for sculpting.
When the Scotch pine recently died it was another opportunity to have a sculpture created.
Steve Leppert, Father Robert McClintock Knights of Columbus Council #14494 Grand Knight, made contact with the chain saw artist from Storm Lake. Klatt, a well-known Iowa chainsaw artist, had a three-day window from May 7 to 9 between jobs.
“Talk about a quick turnaround. Several members of the KCs got together on Saturday afternoon, May 5 to take down the tree to Jeff’s 12-foot specification and by Wednesday evening, May 9 the finished Jesus was in place,” Chizek said.
He said the fact that they were able to have the ability to “resurrect” a dead tree to an image of Jesus has created a sense of pride within the parish and the entire community.
“As artist Klatt started on Monday morning, people were curious on whose image was being portrayed; Mary? St. Thomas? Or Jesus? As he continued his craft, it became apparent it was the image of a man and one of the last things Klatt did was to inscribe Jesus’ name on the pedestal for clarification. The three-dimensional detail of the artwork is cause for celebration,” he said.
Klatt treated the finished artwork with Australian timber oil and advised the parish to treat the wood again this fall and annually after that to help prolong the life of the sculpture. As with any outdoors wood item, even with the best of care, there is an expected life of approximately 25 years before the elements will get the better of this piece of art.
For many parishioners, Chizek said, this sculpture will also be a reminder of Father Ries’ tenure as pastor in the cluster from three parishes in Manson, Pomeroy and Rockwell City as he begins his new ministry in retirement and moves away from Manson in July.
KC Council #14494 is four years old and has 65 members.
“The three day project attracted a crowd of hundreds of people, some as far away as Des Moines. Even the birds of the community respected the statue by not messing it up, unlike the job they did on a statue of St. Francis,” Father Ries said.
Since its completion, Chizek witnessed families stopping along the street to take pictures or walk to the sculpture to have their picture taken along side of Jesus.
A goal of the project in the near future is to landscape around the sculpture and light it for night viewing.
|Back to top|
|Headlines | Home|