On Sunday the 4th May the Parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel celebrated the installation of a set of Liturgical Banners with a blessing during the 8.30am Mass at St Anne’s Church, Sunbury in the presence of the Liturgical Artist, Judy Dioszegi and the architect, Randall Lindstrom.
The project began early in 2013 with a reconvening of the steering committee that had been elected at a Parish Assembly to guide the updating of the interior of St Anne’s Church. The task was to consider ways in which the expanse of the blank brick curtain wall behind the sanctuary might be made less of a blank space and more eye-catching. In the centre of the wall is a shape of a brick round tower, split by a stained glass window. Both these continue up and out of sight. The stained glass window shows the beginning of the story of Jesus from Mark’s Gospel chapter 1 with light streaming down from above.
While it may have been possible to fit windows or other artefacts into the walls it was considered that these would lessen the integrity of the great curtain walls themselves. After discussion with the architect, Randall Lindstrom, it was decided to investigate some form of liturgical banner or banners.
Banners have been used by human societies since the dawn of time to get attention, to inform, and to inspire action. They communicate on many levels through texts, colours, shapes, symbols, and shades.
The committee researched church tapestries both in Melbourne and overseas. The team of Judy Dioszegi and her daughter Debbie Vicini was chosen and over many months the design evolved.
“Randall, our artistic sounding board, ……came to our aid and helped refine the many ideas we were shuffling back and forth. Fr. Kevin and the committee were supportive with constructive comments and suggestions, and patience as we worked through the design process. And, at the end of many days, after much discussion, drawing, erasing, reworking and of course, lots of prayer, we had a direction, a theme, a story…the Resurrection.”………. Debbie Vicini
The final design of the banners was for them to start at the Crucifix and to move across the wall passing the stained glass window with its theme of the commissioning of the Son by the Father through the Spirit and on to the left-hand side of the wall with the Resurrection. To achieve this, the design takes our eyes from the dark blues, greys, and black of the sky at the Crucifixion, interspersed with lightning-like flashes of white in all directions, down towards the floor and across to the left. Once our eyes have passed the window they are directed upwards by the design, and the colours that started in darker shades get lighter as our eyes are lifted up, until the final panel of colours which represent the colours of our earth and our plants and where we are now as Children of the Resurrection. The horizontal arms of the Crucifix are continued across all panels to tie them into a whole and to suggest that there can be no Resurrection without the Crucifixion.
(from a letter from Debbie Vincini)
There are 120 pieces in these 10 panels. Each piece is cut, backed, applied to a background and sewn. A paper pattern was created and carefully laid out to ensure accurate follow-through, which although we try, is seldom perfect. We like to think it adds authenticity, and is appreciated as a one-of-a-kind hand stamp of the artist. As well, the fabrics can have a mind of their own and sometimes one will act differently than another, unique in its qualities… like us. The process of one piece at a time is a discipline in patience, focus and sometimes frustration. While some days are rewarding, others are less so. Occasionally, we felt like, “Are we still working on this panel!”
And then, suddenly, a finished panel appeared. For me, this is the most satisfying part of any project. When I considered the large quantities of cloth in the studio, and the stacks of carefully cut pieces, and 9’ paper patterns all over, sometimes it seemed endless. But when the day came and everything was in its place and the last stitches had been sewn and we were looking at 10 beautiful completed panels, it was very rewarding. It gives me hope and keeps me focused on the idea that out of chaos came come incredible beauty, if you are patient, prayerful and positive.”………. Debbie Vicini
Celebration and Blessing
At the blessing of the banners Fr Bert Fullbrook SDB spoke of how we can see in these banners a representation of the Paschal Mystery which forms the most important part of the Church Year. He thanked the design and production team of Judy Dioszegi and her daughter Debbie Vicini and also thanked Randall Lindstrom, our liturgical architect, for his input. Thanks were also due to the installers Tony and Mario who have communicated with Judy by email many times and have spent several days and nights installing the tapestries. Finally thanks went to the Parish Team of Bingo volunteers (Graeme, Gary, Ray, Robert and Tony) who donated this tapestry.
Special mention was made of Fr Kevin McIntosh, Parish Priest of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish who was the driving force behind the project but was prevented from being at the blessing by illness.