Phase Three to begin May 24th

We are excited to announce that we will begin PHASE THREE of our Centennial Renovation the week of May 24th. PHASE THREE will involve the painting of two murals related to St. Helen on the transepts, completion of the nave – the main body of the Church, and new Stations of the Cross. Conrad Schmitt Studios will continue the work, which will be completed by October 2022. The cost to the final phase is estimated at $1,100,000. To date we have received one sizable donation and several others totaling $670,000. The remaining balance of the cost will come from some reserves of the Church and a PHASE THREE CAMPAIGN which will begin once all of the marketing data is in hand. Due to the size and the history of St. Helen Church we are hopeful upon completion of this phase to submit an application to the Vatican for St. Helen to be designated as a minor basilica.

We will be providing ongoing information on our plans, renderings of the work to be performed, the PHASE THREE CAMPAIGN, and alternate plans for Masses during construction.

If you wish to donate to phase three of our Centennial Renovation you can do so by:

1. Text to Give by dialing 772-208-6229 and choose Centennial Renovation.

2. Utilize your Faith Direct account to schedule funds for this collection.

3. There are special envelopes designated for Centennial Renovation at the Church doors and in the back of the church.

Emperor Constantine’s Vision

In our Christian history, there have been many significant moments of spiritual inflection. History tells us that the early Church was persecuted mercilessly for the first three centuries. With very few exceptions, every pontiff of this era entered eternity as a martyr. Thousands upon thousands of faithful were forced to walk a via crucis and die for the Son of God and His Gospel. This all changed when Emperor Constantine, son of St. Helen, had a famous vision prior to the battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312. Our Lord revealed a bright sign in the sky composed of the Greek letters Chi and Rho with the Latin words “In Hoc Signo Vinces” beneath it. We know that Chi-Rho are the first two letters of the title Christ. The Latin phrase means “In this sign conquer.” Constantine had this symbol emblazoned upon his army gear, shields and weapons. When he defeated Maxentius in this historical battle, Christianity was declared legal and protected by law with the Edict of Milan in 315 AD. This painting portrays the emperor Constantine seeing the vision in the sky with the opposing armies in the distance ready to do battle. Historically, this is an important moment. Spiritually, it is a key in the development of Christianity across the Roman empire and world. As Tertullian famously said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” The first centuries martyrs ensured the faith survived by offering the greatest gift possible, their life.

St. Helen Finds the True Cross

In this mural, we see the historical moment when St. Helen traveled to Jerusalem and found the true Cross of Christ. With piety and devotion, Helen approached her son, Constantine, desiring to travel to the Holy Land and erect three major basilicas. In the year 325 AD, Helen entered Jerusalem and set out on this noble task. She consulted the local populace as to where the site of Jesus’s crucifixion would be found. It was revealed that the Romans had constructed a pagan temple dedicated to three deities was placed over it. Helen had this enormous structure removed at great personal expense. Upon removal, a small hill along with a pit which contained three crosses was revealed. Helen consulted Bishop Marcarius, the local prelate of Jerusalem, who instructed her to have a sick individual touch each of the crosses and only the true one would bring healing. In this mural, we see the true Cross being shown in the center with a sick person being brought to touch it. Once healing happened, the veracity of the true relic was confirmed. St. Helen is profoundly important for the universal Church as well as us here in our small town of Vero Beach.

As mentioned, this phase will include new Stations of the Cross. The Stations of the Cross or the Way of the Cross, also known as the Way of Sorrows or the Via Crucis, refers to a series of images depicting Jesus Christ as he experiences his arrest, crucifixion, and death. Each of these stations will include an original depiction of Christ, designed for St. Helen. Many of the stations are still being developed but we include below an example of how the framed sixth station will appear.