The Crucifix That Once Was Lost, Then Found, Returned, Reassembled, Restored, and Reinstalled in its Rightful Place
These photos are from an article I wrote about the restoration of a priceless hand carved, painted, silvered, and gilded wooden crucifix from Italy that was installed in my church (Holy Cross San Jose) in 1907. In the beginning, the church was a mission to the many Italians in the neighborhood under the Latin name SS Sagradischimo Crucifisci. In the 60s, the crucifix was considered to be out of style, and so the pastor took it down and threw it away. Soledad Vallejo, the caretaker, rescued it and kept in her garage for almost 40 years. After her death, her daughter offered the crucifix back to the church--in pieces. Brother Charles Muscat and his birth brother Grezio put it back together. Current pastor Father Clair Orso hired David Dittmann, a Santa Clara art restorer, to bring it back to its original beauty. Dave finished the restoration in time for the crucifix to be reinstalled behind the altar at the start of a year-long celebration of the church's centenary. It was reinstalled at the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross!