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Sacred Heart of Jesus statue restored following vandalism
Linda Oppelt
/ Categories: Diocesan News, Parish News

Sacred Heart of Jesus statue restored following vandalism

By Grace Donnelly

(PHOTO) Jimmy Gibson, facilities manager at Sacred Heart Parish in Colorado Springs, is pictured securing the statue that he repaired to the platform above the entrance to the parish center. (Photos courtesy of Grace Donnelly)  

COLORADO SPRINGS.  Last May, the Sacred Heart Parish community was devastated when its statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which proudly stood above the parish center for 68 years, was destroyed. A mentally ill person pushed it off the “eyebrow” above the parish center doors and it broke into multiple pieces. The community feared that the statue was gone forever.

However, through the dedication of the Sacred Heart Parish community and the hard work of Jimmy Gibson, parish facilities manager, the Sacred Heart of Jesus statue is fully restored and back where it belongs.

After the statue was damaged, the parish had to make a decision: repair it or replace it. Gibson said he wanted to try repairing the statue before the parish invested in a new one.

 “I just offered to see what I could do. I was fairly sure I could fix it,” he said. However, the repair process proved to be quite involved.

“First, I assessed what was usable and what was too far gone,” Gibson said. “After that, I started to put the base together. Once the base was ready, we used a lift to place the upper body back on the base.”

Gibson also used concrete repair epoxy and rebar to make sure the statue was stable. Then he sanded and repainted it. He also added a new personal touch, painting Christ’s heart in bright, bold colors.

“I’m broken and Jesus never gave up on me, so I did not want to give up on him,” Gibson said.

Moving the statue, which weighs an estimated 1,000 pounds, wasn’t easy. The parish hired Christensen Crane to hoist the statue and return it to its perch above the parish center.  

The parish has also taken precautions to ensure that no one can climb up onto the “eyebrow” again and destroy the statue.

Special thanks to Jimmy Gibson for restoring the statue and to Christensen Crane for their assistance. Also, thanks to Holy Cross Father Jarrod Waugh, Sacred Heart pastor, and Holy Cross Father Randy Rentner, associate pastor. Thanks also to Knights of Columbus Council No. 13981 for helping to return the repaired statue to its home. The effort represents the resiliency of the parish community and the welcoming spirit of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

(Grace Donnelly is Communications, Volunteer and Safe Environment Coordinator for Sacred Heart Parish in Colorado Springs.)

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