In the heart of Bridge City is a new reminder of the ever present promise of hope and love in a world that often seems lost amid the confusion of life and human circumstances.

Fr. Steve Leger blesses the new bronze statue of Jesus Christ during dedication ceremonies at St. Henry Catholic Church.

Fr. Steve Leger blesses the new bronze statue of Jesus Christ during dedication ceremonies at St. Henry Catholic Church.

A stunning bronze image of Jesus Christ has recently been erected roadside on the grounds of Saint Henry Catholic Church. With arms out-stretched, the depiction of the Christian savior evokes a sense of the omnipotent power of love and grace available to all.

A year in the making, the bronze statue was the initiative of Bridge City Knights of Columbus Sacred Heart Council. With the blessing of Saint Henry pastor Fr. Steve Leger, the Bridge City KC members began the process of commissioning the statue. The Knights hired Artisan Granite of Rhode Island to create the statue.

“There were many images available for us to consider,” said Ron Jackson, a member of the Bridge City Knights of Columbus, “But we inevitably chose an image depicting the “Sacred Heart of Jesus” the namesake of our Bridge City group.” Fr. Leger concurred and artists began the casting of the bronze image.

Initially, the statue was expected to be completed and received at the parish in late autumn 2013. After the final casting, however, the manufacturer informed the group that there were minuet flaws in the details on the base of the statue. The Bridge City Knights were offered the option of accepting the statue as it was by the expected delivery date or wait longer for the recasting of the statue.

Members of the Bridge City Knights of Columbus Sacred Heart Council gathered at the site of the new bronze statue.

Members of the Bridge City Knights of Columbus Sacred Heart Council gathered at the site of the new bronze statue.

“The flaws in the details were very minor,” Jackson said, “But we decided that since the statue would last for hundreds of years that we should get it right the first time.”

Thus the first completed bronze statue was melted back down and began the process of recasting while the Bridge City Knights of Columbus waited word on the progress of the future Saint Henry heirloom. Finally, in May almost a year later, the Bridge City Knights of Columbus received shipment of the statue.

“It was beautiful,” Jackson said.

The Bridge City Knights selected the location for the statue in front of Saint Henry Catholic Church on West Roundbunch Road. Mark Frey of Frey Landscaping in Orange built the foundation for the statue and later provided the landscaping around the monument.  The limestone stone work for the foundation was donated by Sydney Badon of Groves.

Embedded into the limestone is a plaque  the reads in Latin, “Venite Ad Me Omes,” and translated below it in English, “Come to me all.” The remainder of the inscription reads, “A gift from the Knights of Columbus Sacred Heart Council #3406 to St. Henry Catholic Church, June 1, 2014.”

According to Jackson, June 1, was selected as the date for the dedication of the statue immediately following 10:30 services. “As it turns out, the Catholic Mass for Sunday, June 1, celebrated the ‘Ascension of our Lord.’ It was more than coincidental. We couldn’t have picked a more appropriate day for the dedication. It just turned out that way.”

A brief ceremony was held following the Sunday church service that included the blessing of the statue by Fr. Leger.

The Bridge City Knights of Columbus Sacred Heart Council is one of the largest and most active councils in the area with 253 members. Jimmy Leblanc is Grand Master for the organization that is involved in supporting the church and many community based projects and charities. Among the programs supported by the Bridge City Knights of Columbus include: Wounded Warrior Project, Catholic Youth Ministry, Support Charities, ACTS, Radio Maria, Special Olympics, Bridge City High School Project Graduation Class of 2013, Project Graduation, Hospitality House, Orange Christian Services, Oklahoma Tornado Victims Relief Fund, City of Bridge City, Knights of Charity, West Texas Firefighters and EMS, Bridge City Library, Encounter Catholic, Habitat for Humanity and Beaumont Hope Resource Center for Women.

A new bronze statue of Jesus Christ is a gift to St. Henry Catholic Church by the Bridge City Knights of Columbus Sacred Heart Council.