Statue tours diocese

Feb 15, 2024
Missionary of Our Lady of La Salette Father Phil “Skip” Negley, pastor of Blessed Trinity Parish in Orlando, blesses the “Life Monument” statue Feb. 13, 2024. Sculptor Tim Schmalz (far right) hopes the gift of the resin replica to the JMJ Pregnancy Center will promote the message of life. (GLENDA MEEKINS)

ORLANDO | Hoping to extend a pro-life message throughout the Diocese of Orlando, Canadian artist Tim Schmalz donated a resin replica of the original “Life Monument” statue to JMJ Pregnancy Center. While the original statue hewn in bronze resides in Rome, the replica will make its rounds to diocesan parishes, remaining for one month at a time, beginning with Blessed Trinity in Orlando.

Schmalz pointed to the image of the Virgin Mary with Jesus in her womb as a response to those who say life begins at birth. “In a culture that’s trying to snuff out all representations, this is a challenge, a battle,” said Schmalz who believes he is an “artistic soldier” for the Church.

“The wonderful thing about artwork is that it has its own power,” Schmalz said. “To bring it with a powerhouse, it has a ten-fold effect.”

His prayer is that the sculpture helps onlookers recognize the beauty and dignity of all life and remember their lives also began in the womb.

“The coolest part of this for us is to be that living witness of the sanctity of life,” said Bob Perron, JMJ’s executive director. “The beauty of the sculpture speaks for itself. It also raises awareness for JMJ, that folks might learn about the work we’re doing.”

Father Phil “Skip” Negley, pastor of Blessed Trinity, said he’s excited to have the sculpture at the parish. “This is what the Church is all about — the gift of life and the gift of unitarian life, the love between the Trinity and now we see the love of Mary and her son, Jesus.”

JMJ supports the God-given right of every pregnant woman to give birth and the right of every unborn child to be born. To learn more visit

By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic staff, February 15, 2024