What follows is a brief history of the events that led to a modern masterpiece that is truly touching people around the world:
Tim is in Toronto for an art show and has the inspiration to create the sculpture after seeing a homeless man sleeping on a park bench and feeling that it could have been Jesus.
Tim has finished the clay scale model of the sculpture and seeks a location for the sculpture in Toronto.
A patron is secured and the location is confirmed at Regis College, a Jesuit school part of the University of Toronto with great street exposure downtown. Tim commences work on the fully “life size” scale sculpture. This process takes approximately 8 months.
While Tim is creating the life size scale sculpture, Pope Francis becomes our new Pope and is in the news every other day with his unconventional approach to raising awareness of how we should treat the marginalized around the world.
The sculpture is unveiled in Toronto. News of the sculpture and the dialogue it instigates goes viral.
Jesuits share the image of the piece with the Vatican, and Tim is invited to meet Pope Francis and have the original model blessed by his Holiness. Pope Francis blesses the five foot model on Nov. 20th 2013, touches the foot and calls it “a beautiful piece of art.” Tim donates the model to the Vatican Archives. After this, the sculpture is covered by News outlets around the world. When Schmalz sees Pope Francis touch the sculpture, he thinks “Well that’s just it; this sculpture is symbolically representing what he’s doing. He’s out there touching the homeless people; he’s reaching out to them every single day.”
A bronze cast of the sculpture is installed at a small Episcopal church in an affluent neighborhood in Davidson, NC. The evening after the piece is dedicated, the local police receive several calls that there is a vagrant asleep on a park bench at the church and one of the residents calls the local media. The story goes national across the USA.
Due to the press, commissions for bronze casts of the sculpture arise from various cities across Canada and the USA resulting in an American Patron who is willing to support 12 bronze casts going to major cities around the world starting with London, England. (News)
News of “Homeless Jesus” going to London reaches Dublin and sparks much dialogue and press regarding finding a location for the sculpture in Dublin as well. The sculpture now located at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin Ireland. Another cast in the city of Belfast may also be on the horizon.
Cardinal Wuerl is moved by the sculpture and through the help of Catholic Charities brings a cast of the sculpture to the Nation’s Capitol. The sculpture was installed and dedicated in time for the Pope’s visit later that year. In this city of “National Monuments”, many consider this sculpture to be that for the marginalized across the country. (News)
The “Homeless Jesus” sculpture is a visual representation of Matthew 25. The sculpture suggests that Christ is with the most marginalized in our society. The Christ figure is shrouded in a blanket with His face covered with the only indication that the figure is Jesus being the visible wounds on the feet. The life-size version of the work provides enough room for someone to sit on the bench and is cast in bronze metal measuring 36”H x 84”L x 24”D.