‘I am a Redemptorist of the Eastern Rite. In the Eastern tradition, an icon is a sacrament. Sacraments are visible signs of invisible grace. When we look at St. Alphonsus, when we look at his life, we can recognize that he is a visible sign of invisible grace. When we look at the icon of St. Alphonsus we are worshipping Christ who lived through him.- Most Rev. Peter Stasiuk, C.Ss.R., DD. Eparchy of Saints Peter and Paul, Melbourne, for Ukrainian Catholics in Australia and New Zealand.
‘Icons are not passive objects, they are very much alive. In this particular icon St. Alphonsus continues to speak to us, to preach to us, to witness to us.’
St. Alphonsus was born in Marianella, Naples in 1696. Three hundred years later, in 1997, the Australian Redemptorists commissioned the painting of an icon in honour of what God had revealed to the world through the life and mission of this saint.
Fr. Joseph Carroll, C.Ss.R. invited artist, Geoffrey Horgan, to undertake the task. An experienced iconographer, the artist has painted extensively for the Russian, Greek and Macedonian Orthodox Churches in Victoria and South Australia, together with icons for Catholic communities in Victoria and Tasmania.
The icon depicts St. Alphonsus in glory. He is rapt in contemplation of God’s infinite and unconditional love. The saint is in a posture of openness, willing to be engaged by God and willing to be engaged by the poor. The self-emptying love of God manifest in his Christ is at the centre of the icon. The mutuality of the relationship between God and humanity springs from the icon’s heart just as it did through the life and mission of St. Alphonsus
The Latin inscription in the icon is from the Prophet Isaiah: ‘He anointed me to bring Good News to the poor’ (Isaiah 61:1).
Father, you constantly build up your Church by the lives of your saints. Give us the grace to follow St. Alphonsus in his loving concern for the salvation of people, and so come to share his reward in heaven. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen- Prayer from the feast of St. Alphonsus de Liguori, August 1.