St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Oroville, CA – Statues on the side altars

On either side of the sanctuary are niches holding statues of Mary and the Child Jesus on the left (north) and Jesus with His Sacred Heart on the right (south). The background of the niches is the same puffy-white-cloud motif as in the sanctuary providing a nice framing. Both statues are apparent in photographs of the church at its outset in 1929, but have been repainted in striking colors from the original coatings of primarily white.

The Blessed Mother’s mantle is painted in a deep blue, rather than the “typical” robin’s-egg-blue, and glows in the arched niche radiating colors and grace. The Baby Jesus cradled in her left arm has His arms open in welcome to come to Him and His mercy. The clothing of both images is trimmed in gold and the Blessed Mother has a Rosary draped from her right hand. On the base of the statue is a scripted “M” traced in gold.

In the right-side niche is a statue of Jesus dressed in a dark red mantle over a contrasting white garment. The Savior points with both nail-marked hands toward His glowing Sacred Heart which is surrounded by thorns and topped by flames and a cross. The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was made known in more-modern times largely through the efforts of the French priest St. John Eudes, who in 1670 obtained permission to honor the Sacred Heart in the liturgy. The devotion became widespread after the appearances of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in France in 1673 and 1675. The Feast of the Sacred Heart was officially established in 1858 by Pope Pius IX and is celebrated on the Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi.

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