DIVINE intervention would seem to have guided the amazing journey of a statue of St Gerard Majella from the other side of the world to a Brisbane church named after him.
The statue was unveiled and blessed at St Gerard Majella Church, West Chermside, by parish administrator Fr Gerard McMorrow on Holy Thursday.
Fr McMorrow said parishioners were “absolutely thrilled” to finally have a statue of St Gerard in the church for the first time since it was opened in 1962.
Fr McMorrow said while he was in Rome he came across a religious store and asked if they had a statue of St Gerard.
They told they could get one at a cost of more than $5000. Fr McMorrow left the store disheartened.
A few weeks later, while in Amsterdam, he was visiting Jewish wartime writer Anne Frank’s home when he suddenly found himself surrounded by police wearing riot gear.
Fr McMorrow said to escape the action he headed from the busy street to a store on the side of the street with a long hallway to take refuge in.
He noticed it was a Catholic religious store and standing in the window were two beautiful statues of St Gerard Majella.
The store was closed, but Fr McMorrow wrote down the details with the intention of returning as soon as he could.
He returned to the store and bought the statue, which was significantly cheaper than the version he had been offered in Rome.
The statue is Flemish and was made in 1840.
Fr McMorrow had the statue shipped to Australia, but his joy turned to horror when he discovered it was severely damaged in transit.
The parish was blessed to find an inspired 95-year-old Gold Coast artist named Gaetano Paino, who said as long as God wanted him to do his work and kept him in good health, he would fix the statue.
Mr Paino had almost finished repairing the statue when he suffered a stroke and was hospitalised.
But he was out of hospital in time to put the finishing touches on the statue in time for the blessing and installation on Holy Thursday.