The Holy Family traveling sculpture

To sign in: when receiving this sculpture, please enter your information in the comment section at the bottom of this post.

This unique piece of art was inspired by the location of the wood’s origin……Bethlehem, Israel. A good friend of mine, Steve Weidner and his family were in the Holy Land in 2014 and were purchasing some items and they thought about my love of woodcarving and purchased a log of a 500 year old olive tree from a Christian family of woodcarvers from Bethlehem, the Zacharias brothers. Steve and his family presented it to me as a gift in photo 1 (12)December 2014.

The magnitude of the gift and my appreciation for such a gift is inexpressible, so I wanted to do something very special with this log.

So as I contemplated what I would use as my subject for the carving, my first thought was the Holy Family because of Joseph and Mary’s sojourn from Nazareth to Bethlehem and the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. What better way to celebrate the essence of this olive tree than with the depiction of the perfect family and a vehicle to lift our families in prayer.

This was my first encounter with olive wood and I was amazed with the density of the wood. It is much heavier than most of the US Midwest hardwoods and the grain pattern in this particular log is intricate and the multi-colors awesome. However, the characteristics of the wood was challenging because there were many indentations in and around the log with many splits and at the time of the carving, there was probably some moisture still in the log. So I decided that these imperfections would be a design feature in the sculpture.

photo 3 (10)photo 1 (13)I found a picture of the Holy family that I thought would work with the particular characteristics of the log, sized the picture to the log, and began the process.


This photo was early on in the process and I was surprised how quickly the rough in took shape in spite of the complexity in the carving, but that soon slowed as I approached the particular details of the sculpture, especially because the grain of the wood was so pronounced.

photo 1 (10)photo 3 (12)During the carving process, I was inspired to share the graces of this Holy Family sculpture with other Catholic families by allowing it to travel from family to family. My hope is that each family will receive blessings of peace and joy from the the gift of this sculpture in their home. I envision that each family would keep it for approximately a month and then share it with another Catholic family, perhaps family or friends, other parishioners, or someone in need of special prayer for one reason or another.

After receiving the sculpture, we ask that each family go to the home page of and click on the Gallery page. Then proceed to the Holy Family traveling sculpture. We invite you to read this post, but it is not necessary to sign in. Scroll down to the bottom of this post and sign in thru the comment section. The information you post here is confidential, so if you would leave your name, contact information, your prayer request and any comments you might like to make, it will help us pray for you. It will also allow us the opportunity to track the sculpture’s providential journey and provide a map of sorts for all of us to see how God is using this sculpture to bless His people  photo 2 (9)

This page will always be available to leave comments and prayer requests because we would like to pray for you and your family. Prayer for you is the primary goal of this sculpture and the more you share with us , the better we can focus our prayer for you. We have also included, on the information card in the base of the sculpture, a special Holy Family prayer that we hope the families will pray as often as they can when the sculpture is in their possession. United in our love of God and our unique connection to the Holy Family traveling sculpture, we would like to think that we are a small unique family within God’s family that can lift each other up in prayer to our Father. As the sculpture makes its way around, our family grows and it can be a fun prayer ministry that we all can share. God hears our prayers!photo (68)

And even if this sculpture doesn’t make it to your home, you are invited to become a member of our prayer family and join us in prayer for families. Let us know and we will pray for you as well.

IMG_1085 Click here to see a short video of the Holy Family traveling sculpture.

Inspired by St. Joseph to the late Father Schmidt of St. Anthony’s parish in Morris Indiana. The Holy Family prayer

Let us Pray,

Almighty God, grant that our families be what you have called them to be. Help fathers and mothers. May they possess the fullness of your love, and may their tender care reflect your own. Help our children. Fill them with love and respect, with obedience and all the virtues. May all members of our families’ treat each other as members of the Holy Family so that happiness be theirs, and peace come to our world. Amen.

To sign in on receiving the Holy Family traveling sculpture, please use comment section below and enter your name, address, phone #, prayer requests, comments and please post comment section. Thank you and God bless!

This personal information will not be public!

One thought on “The Holy Family traveling sculpture”

  1. Thank you for the opportunity to have this beautiful wood carving in our home, Gary! It was very fitting for us since we have a special devotion to The Holy Family. In fact, that is what we named our home school. To us, The Holy Family has always been the ultimate model for all families in the world. We are honored to share in the journey of this statue and look forward to its many travels. And we are awed by the special talent God has given you–it is truly a gift! Again, thank you for sharing your talent with us. Please keep our family in your prayers–that we will always stay close to The Holy Family and The Holy Catholic Church. May God bless you and your family as well!

    The Oelkers

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