Leaping into March

IMG_6253We were blessed with everyone’s presence on Saturday as our special project began–group participation in making an icon of Archangel Michael for Brother Gerry.  After 15 years of service to the many visitors to the Shrine of St. Anthony, Brother Gerry is leaving March 5, 2016.

Thousands of people over the years requested prayers from Brother Gerry and he kept slips of paper with those prayers on the altar of his heart. Each October and at Christmas, his train collection graced the Carroll Manor House to the delight of everyone and he is an avid collector of postcards.  Brother Gerry handled everything at the Shrine–from changing lightbulbs in the high ceilings to repairing the plumbing and taking care of the garden infested with feisty chickens.  To get the cranky old stove to the right temperature as he knew all of the Viking stove secrets (“If you want to cook a fish for Vladislav, you have to set it at 500 to get it to 350, then jiggle the thermometer a couple of times!”)

Many of you who pray and paint during workshops or guild meetings know Brother Gerry has a special relationship with us; he would bring fragrant incense to our room in a smoking censer and place it in the fireplace to prepare us for the sacred act of writing icons and always came by frequently to make sure we had everything we needed. Popping into the room to bless our hands and pray over our work, bringing us cookies and coffee in the middle of the night for those of us who stayed into the wee hours, then telling us “I’m going to bed, don’t forget to blow out the candles and turn off the lights!”

On Sunday, February 28th after a special Mass was held for Brother Gerry; filled to capacity, people spilled out into the hallways and up the stairs.  A beautiful going away party was held in the Papal dining room afterward.  When the many well wishers on Sunday heard we were making an icon for Br. Gerry, they too wish to participate; wanting to paint a small section or placing gold on the halo.  Our goal is to finish it before the end of April then hand deliver this icon. IMG_6256

Since Br. Gerry likes postcards from all over the world, here is where you can send yours:

Br. Gerry V. Seipp, OFM Conv.  Immaculate Conception Friary  75 St. Francis Place  Rensselaer, New York  12144.  We will miss this caring and compassionate Friar with all our hearts and wish him Peace and All Good!

Beginning with opening prayers on Saturday then proceeding to bless the eggs we use to make our emulsion.  This is the first step new students learn; some find it unnerving and we remind people, it is an egg and we have a full carton if you destroy the first attempt.  It’s even more fun when a physician and a nursing student approach the egg with palpable trepidation!  Dr. Okan and John were reverent and respectful of this process, taking great care to remove the membranes for their emulsion.

John says a prayer to the egg

John says a prayer to the egg


“I’m thinking I might destroy it?” He did …


second attempt


Susan giving verbal support while Okan gives it a try


Success! Yolks enough to make 30 icons!


Okan begins the icon for Br. Gerry


John waits his turn


Prosopon students Susan and Nancy


Tatiana working in the sunshine


Rebecca finishing her icons


Kristin working on Mandilion prep and husband, Gene keeping good company


Deko using the white glove technique 🙂


So far, so good! Next step is gold!

Cathy was with us too but I think she had gone to wash her brushes and we neglected to get her photo but please keep her in prayer–Crystal WILL walk this year!

March 26, 2016 will find us at Holy Cross Orthodox Church  located at 105 N. Camp Meade Road in Linthicum, MD.  We will begin at 1:00pm and close at 6:00pm.  We will continue with our various practices and work on the icon for Brother Gerry.  The gold will be finished  by then so the next step is Venchik line and beginning rosykrsh.  Volunteers?

Children are invited to attend as we’ll have the Kids Corner and plenty to keep the kids busy.  Holy Cross has a playground that is fenced in–snacks provided but you are welcome to bring along some too!

See you all on March 26!

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