Faith in God can be sparked at any given moment from a range of things, sometimes not related in any way to God. Perhaps through a movie, a bad experience, or through the constant gloom and doom spoon-fed to us through the media. Sometimes it comes due to directly or partially being involved with the church or the body of Christ. For example take Melissa Restuccia, a priest whose faith was ignited thanks to her side gig.
In her full-time position, the Honesdale local is director of the craftsmanship division for the Vestal Focal School Area in Vestal, New York, close to Binghamton. Before that, she procured an associate degree in fine arts from Cornerstone Junior School and a four-year certification in workmanship training from Marywood College, so you may be able to say with confidence that she knows a thing or two.
About 10 years prior, parishioners sought to restore Our Lady of Sorrows, a Catholic church in Vestal. The priest there invited her to assist with one section of the restoration assuming she would be a great help.
“And the priest there said, ‘Our Stations of the Cross are in really bad shape. Can you fix them?” Restuccia, now 52 years old, said.
In Catholicism, the Stations of the Cross are artistic creations or symbols that portray the occasions of Jesus Christ’s final days on the planet. They are often found on the insides of many churches all around the world in one area or another.
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“I said, ‘Well, I’m more of an illustrator-painter.’ And he said, ‘Well, I have faith in you,” she said.
Utilizing accessible learning materials on the web, she watched how others would restore and complete the work and tried to mimic the videos where she was at. Through this method, she was able to teach herself how to form the crosses that enhance each station and generally tidied them up.
“So basically, I’ve learned by just doing as I go along, I’m self-taught,” she said. “I’ve done I would say maybe 20 statues, 25.”
The sculptures incorporate reestablishing one for 90-year-old Sarah Notarianni of Scranton, who accidentally broke the fingers on the left hand of a baby Jesus Christ statue when she first arrived in Scranton from Italy a long time back.
“I always say that the statues come to me when I need them,” Restuccia said. “I had a woman whose mother had made in the ’70s…molded ceramic pieces. And when they moved, one of them was shattered. So she brought me all the pieces. And it went together. And I put it all back together. And she cried. I mean, a lot of times these things are very emotional for people.”
This is great to see that the statues were able to be restored, and Restuccia picked up a new skill that many people use and can be very handy – using the internet for help. All good things come from God, which includes the ability to create, restore, and even fathom statues. It spans the building of the churches, to the art depicted on stained glass, to the craftsmanship to build benches, podiums, and gifts for our music players and those who lead us in worship music. If it came from God or He has His hand in it, then we should strive to take care of it the way Restuccia and the priest did in this story.