Installation of 50th Anniversary Statue Delayed

The base of the statue
Workers on Tuesday continue construction on the statue’s base. Photo by Will Edwards.

Update: Jesus the Teacher statue to be installed ‘sometime before spring commencement’

The dedication of a 25-foot statue of Christ to commemorate DeSales University’s 50th anniversary will be delayed until Nov. 12, according to multiple university officials.

The sculpture, which will bear the name “Jesus the Teacher,” had originally been scheduled to be unveiled during an early September ceremony, but damage to its molds after a change in foundry locations made the deadline unreachable, DeSales University Senior Vice President (ret.) Rev. Alexander Pocetto, OSFS, said in an email.

The statue will stand at the top of the campus mall, near the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, where construction on the project’s base has already begun. It is being crafted by notable Lehigh Valley-based sculptor Ben Marcune, who was commissioned to create the university’s other bronze effigies, which include St. Francis de Sales, St. Jane de Chantal, Our Lady of Deliverance, Rev. Louis Brisson and Mother Mary de Sales Chappuis.

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“The scriptural quotation on the pedestal will read: ‘Learn from me for I am gentle and humble of heart’ (Mt 11:29). It is a scriptural passage that was cherished by St. Francis de Sales and embodies the essence of Salesian spirituality,” said Pocetto, who had a hand in the statue’s conceptual development. “Of course, there is no better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary than to concretize and give prominence to the origin and the basis of the educational philosophy of DeSales University, and to celebrate those historical figures that made DeSales University possible.”

University President Rev. Bernard O’Connor, OSFS, along with Marcune and Bishop John Barres of the Diocese of Allentown, will speak at the Nov. 12 commemoration. Marcune declined to comment on the statue and its delay until its unveiling.

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