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Friday, 09 February 2024 12:32

New Processional Cross marks 150th Anniversary

To mark the 150th anniversary of the Diocese of Sandhurst, master joiner Martin Coman has created an exquisite processional cross which embodies the origins of the Diocese. Formed in the shape of the Paderborn Cross and made from timbers which have historic significance to St Kilian’s and Sacred Heart Cathedral, the eight-foot-high cross will be used to lead the Pilgrimage from St Kilian’s Church to Sacred Heart Cathedral on Palm Sunday (24 March 2024).

Martin, a St Joseph’s Quarry Hill parishioner who created the Ambry for the Cathedral which was blessed in late 2022, was thrilled to be asked to work on such a significant symbolic work for the Diocese.

“I remember one Friday night getting keen on it, and I didn’t stop until Sunday, I just really didn’t notice ... Once you get into it you tend to just keep going; it’s nice challenging work to do.”

Martin painstakingly formed the cross from two strikingly different types of timber — sugar pine, a soft blonde timber and blackwood, a dark hardwood. “Ordinarily, you wouldn’t put these two timbers together, because one is quite hard and the other is quite soft,” said Martin indicating he had chosen these timbers, not for their workability, but their inherent beauty and historic significance to the St Kilian’s and Cathedral story. Martin explained:

“Sugar pine was used as an outside moulding to cap the rafters above the altar of the Cathedral. When the cathedral was finished in the 70s, there were two lengths of sugar pine moulding left over and they were given to me by Paul Coppock*. That was my reason for choosing the sugar pine.”

“Blackwood is heavily featured in the Cathedral; the pews are made of blackwood. It’s indigenous to the Diocese and some of this timber has come off my property. So, that defined that choice.”

Sugar pine is native to the west coast of America and was imported especially to make the Cathedral rafters. “I remember Paul Coppock telling me that they brought it in in flitches — huge blocks of wood — and they milled up all the timbers for the Cathedral at St Kilian’s joinery. So that’s the real link,” said Martin.

St Kilian’s Church was initially to be the site of the Diocese’s cathedral and was the pro-cathedral for many years until Sacred Heart Cathedral opened. So, the cross is especially fitting to lead the pilgrimage from St Kilian’s to the Cathedral.

 

Processional Cross 1

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Processional Cross back Logo

Processional Cross Post

The processional cross is eight feet tall. A Paderborn Cross sits on a long blackwood post with vertical sugar pine inlays forming eight sides to symbolise creation.

 

The Paderborn Cross was made in four sections mitred together with solid circular pieces laced on the front and on the back. Martin elucidated on the symbolism of the Paderborn Cross as he understands it.

“In my mind, the vertical of a cross represents heaven and earth, and God in the distance. We can’t really know God without the horizontal which represents the entire life of Jesus; and within that too there is the Holy Spirit at the intersection of the Cross.”

Looking at the lines of the Paderborn Cross which he created by inlaying blackwood into sugar pine Martin ponders, “The lines of the Paderborn Cross must mean something; they wouldn’t be there for no reason. So, if you happen to find out what they mean I’d love to know,” said Martin.

*Paul Coppock owned and operated Coppock Joinery. He and his team worked on the second stage of the Cathedral in the 1970s.

Coppocks Joinery1

Copcoks Joinery Craftsmen