20 years later, St. Joseph statue given new life

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When he was about 13 years old, Father Joseph D. Bergida, now parochial vicar of St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Clifton, took an oil-painting class with his brother and sister. While most students painted canvas, the siblings asked the instructor if they could paint statues instead.

Father Bergida's sister painted a figurine of Mary and his brother a bust of Christ. Father Bergida selected a statue of St. Joseph and the Christ Child.

For the next 20 years, the St. Joseph statue made its home at Father Bergida's parents' house.

Then a few months ago, he was asked if he had a statue that could be used on the St. Joseph Table at St. Andrew the Apostle.

Father Bergida knew just the piece, but after two decades it needed some TLC. So for about six weeks, he spent his evenings and free time repainting the familiar statue. The biggest challenge was painting the small, intricate eyes. But thanks to a YouTube video, he learned the techniques he needed.

Father Bergida said the repainting process drew him closer to St. Joseph.

"I had him in my sitting room, and I'd look at him and think about him before bedtime," he said. "It certainly increased my devotion to Jesus' foster father."

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015