Students and visitors entering the middle school campus of All Saints Academy in Grand Rapids will be inspired by a new painting depicting 12 saints adoring the Blessed Sacrament. The piece was commissioned in honor of ASA's 10th anniversary, and the artwork was unveiled April 13.
John McCoy, a Cincinnati-based Catholic artist, created the painting. It features the Eucharist being adored by saints Alphonsus, Isidore and Jude, a reference to the four parishes who together established All Saints Academy (the parishes of Blessed Sacrament, St. Alphonsus, St. Isidore and St. Jude). Alongside them are Our Mother of Perpetual Help, St. Albert the Great, St. Cecilia, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Joan of Arc, St. Juan Diego, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, St. Sebastian and St. Teresa of Calcutta.
McCoy said seeing the finished painting is surreal. “It’s amazing how fast it went,” he said, adding that during the seven weeks of the project, he still had time to go on a retreat and to observe Holy Week with family and friends back home. “The amount of time I’ve been working on the painting itself is not very long. I definitely think it’s from God and is all part of God’s plan.”
He arrived at ASA on Feb. 26 to begin familiarizing himself with the school community and conceptualizing the project. He said he turns to the Holy Spirit throughout his entire process and especially at this early design stage.
“I was really inspired, and I drew the monstrance on a whiteboard,” he said. “I was like, ‘Oh, Mary should be right next to Him,’ and then I drew Mary…The ideas were coming one after the next, and it all came together.” The cornerstone for the entire concept was the realization that the Eucharist should be at the exact center of the canvas.
After finishing a digital version of the design in late March, he built his 5’x12’ canvas and began painting. He took a break for Holy Week, and then did the bulk of the painting from early to mid-April.
The finished painting was blessed by Most Reverend David J. Walkowiak, bishop of Grand Rapids. McCoy said the fact that Bishop Walkowiak planned to visit ASA’s middle school around the time the painting was completed was another blessing from God. The Bishop blessed the artwork after celebrating Mass with students, and then he visited classrooms. See photos of the Bishop's visit in the gallery at the bottom of this page or at this link. It was the Bishop’s second visit with ASA students that week; he visited the elementary campus at Blessed Sacrament two days earlier.
While working on his paintings, McCoy makes time-lapse videos showing how his process comes together. Watch the videos embedded below (or on McCoy’s YouTube channel at this link) to see how this project was created.
Reflecting on the creation of this painting for All Saints Academy, McCoy summed up his thoughts with two words: “Praise God.”
All Saints Academy educates 250 students in preschool through 8th grade. Learn more here.