It is unmistakable and powerful: Where for almost four years only the smooth Nagelfluh wall could be seen behind the altar of the Poinger parish church of Seliger Pater Rupert Mayer, a cross is now attached. On Thursday evening at the Holy Mass on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception with Auxiliary Bishop Rupert Graf zu Stolberg, the new crucifix by the artist Josef Henselmann was officially handed over to its intended purpose. Originally created for the chapel of the Jesuit Provincialate in Munich, it was given to the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising after they had given it up, with the condition that it be made accessible again in a church area in the Munich area. According to an official press release from Poing, the liturgical equipment of the church will now be completed by the cross.
In fact, until now there had been no crucifix in the church consecrated in 2018, except for a small processional cross. Of course, the idea of the late architect Andreas Meck was that the cross should characterize the entire building: if you look up, you can see that the ceiling forms a cross. Not enough for some, there had been a lot of criticism – which is why the church administration and parish council were involved in finding a suitable supplement.
The cross is covered with silver sheet
The director of the Freising Diocesan Museum, Christoph Kurzeder, suggested the Henselmann crucifix because its materials correspond to those already installed in the church interior and the proportions of the cross seemed ideal. The 2.60 meter cross by the artist, who died in 1987, is made of wood and covered with silver sheet. The crucified body is cast in bronze. The crucifix complements the ensemble of altar, ambo and tabernacle by the artist Ulrich Rückriem.
A specially set up cross committee of the parish discussed this cross and other models and concepts of modern artists for several months. In close consultation with the art department of the Archbishop’s Ordinariate, headed by Norbert Jocher, the commission ultimately selected the Henselmann crucifix. The building and art commission of the archdiocese approved this project in the summer. The archdiocese then donated the crucifix to the Church Foundation of St. Michael, which then had it restored by the restorer Stephan Rudolph.
For this purpose, the Church Foundation received grants from the Archbishop’s Ordinariate and donations from private donors from the parish. It was then attached to the wall behind the altar by the Bergmeister locksmith shop from Ebersberg in consultation with the architect Axel Frühauf. It creates “a new central point of reference that points to Christ, the Lord of his Church,” says the press release.
“The parish is pleased with the good result of a year-long search and finding process. It is also very grateful for the constructive and critical support of many experts and believers throughout the archdiocese,” says the press release from Poing. The new cross now also connects the youngest church in the Archdiocese with the cathedral in Munich, because the large crucifix in the Frauenkirche was also designed by Josef Henselmann.