Although they are years away from building a church, the “temporary” home of Saint Albert the Great Parish makes quite an impression. They have come a long way since the last time I visited in 2007. Eight months ago they dedicated their Parish Center, which will serve as the sanctuary for the foreseeable future. My wife and I attended Mass at St. Albert the Great so I could hand out brochures for the Kids Helping Kids Fun Walk after the 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. services. The benefit for Catholic Charities of East Tennessee is coming up on May 16.
The parish is home to a multitude of remarkable sculptures by Timothy P. Schmalz. The Canadian artist was commissioned to create a likeness of St. Albert the Great. The statue was unveiled a week ago at a parish picnic. I used my phone to send a picture of the statue to my son. He chose the scientist saint as his confirmation patron.
Another recent Schmalz work is in the narthex. The piece is called Standing Holy Family and is signed on the back with the artist’s lightning-bolt initials. Fr. Chris Michelson, pastor of St. Albert the Great, installed Schmalz’s statue of the holy family called Generations when he was pastor of All Saints.
I was amazed by the collection of three-dimensional Stations of the Cross. Each one was placed on a custom-sized wooded stand and spread evenly around the worship space. You can view them all on the artist’s website.
Shortly after Easter, I was describing the paschal candle to a non-Catholic. She didn’t quite get how it could drip hot wax on the head of a priest who was carrying it. St. Albert the Great has a very tall candle that may help explain. The statue in the background is the first Station of the Cross.