Old tree finds new life in artist’s hands

 Bishop Patrick Dunn with Marcelle and Jiries Giacaman.

A hazard at a Sisters of Mercy facility has been cut down and put to new, and beautiful, use.

 Bishop Patrick Dunn with Marcelle and Jiries Giacaman.

Bishop Patrick Dunn with Marcelle and Jiries Giacaman.

The garden at the Te Ngakau Waiora Mercy Spirituality Centre in Auckland features native plants. However, early last year it became clear that a large pohutakawa tree there had to go. It had become a hazard and had to be cut down.
The centre contacted woodcraft artist Jiries Giacaman and asked him if he was interested in using some of the timber.
Mr Giacaman, who learned his carving skills in the Holy Land, where he grew up, didn’t hesitate.
In fact, he was so grateful, he offered to make some carvings for the centre. A visit to the centre chapel gave birth to the idea for a set of the Stations of the Cross.
Each Station is depicted on a tablet about 20cm square. The sculpted figures in the reddish wood of the pohutukawa stand out against the light coloured walls of the chapel, while the Roman numeral for each station is carved from kauri.
This kauri came from timber saved from the roof of the 100-years-old St Benedict’s Church in Newton, when it was being renovated about 10 years ago.
Mr Giacaman is a master carver who said he loves to work with wood. “All the prayers went through this wood to our Heavenly Father,” he said, and he has made many other beautiful objects with it.
When the Stations were completed and installed, the Bishop of Auckland, Bishop Patrick Dunn, blessed them and offered Eucharist.
Mr Giacaman and his wife Marcelle were present to celebrate with the management, staff and the resident Sisters of Mercy.
Mr Giacaman also presented Bishop Dunn with a little Nativity scene carved in the same pohutakawa, and this piece of art of is now in the Bishop’s Chapel at Pompallier Diocesan Centre in Ponsonby.
People who would like to see the Stations of the Cross are invited to visit the Mercy Spirituality Centre during working hours from Mondays to Fridays (9am-5pm) or to come for Christian meditation on Mondays at 7.30pm and Wednesdays at 11am.

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Michael Otto

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