As a Western Silversmith for over 35 years I love to design and create buckles, horse and human Western Jewellery of all kinds. People that know me also understand that I believe being a Western Silversmith goes far beyond that and a large part of my mission is to portray the elegance of the West. That is why over the years I have created flower vases, wine boats, flasks, napkin rings, candle sticks, etc. So when Mike Nicola approached me about a Chalice and Paten I not only loved the thought of the challenge but the story.
Mike explained that a young man that worked on his place, doing everything from mowing grass to feeding horses as he went through school, was soon to be ordained as a Catholic Priest. Mike and the others in the Parish felt Sean would enjoy a Chalice and Paten that represented his Western roots.
As I set out to design I thought of the history and strength of the Catholic Faith, I thought of the dedication and commitment this young man was making and how these elements, Faith, Dedication and Commitment define the West itself.
The Chalice was built out of heavy 16 gauge Sterling Silver with the exception of the base which was created out of heavier 14 gauge Sterling Silver. The methods I employed were hand rolling, forming, spinning, sculpting, hand raising with hammers and of course soldering. Finished it weighed close to 3 pounds.
The Paten was hand raised with a series of hammers out of heavy 16 gauge Sterling Silver.
The decoration on both pieces involved sculpting Celtic Crosses and the Three Nails(likeness of horse shoe nails) and hand engraving both lettering and floral. It’s quite an experience to engrave latin lettering, there are so many different meaning in shape and direction of letters.
Not only did I have the honor to create these pieces but Mike invited me to the Ordination Service for Sean who is now know as Reverend Sean McCann. And although I am not a Catholic it was an incredible feeling to watch the Bishop Bless the Chalice and Paten ,throughout the service 40 Priests drank from the Chalice along with taking bread from the Paten.
The next day I watched as Reverend Sean McCann preform his first Mass, it was very satisfying to think he will use the pieces practically daily for his entire life as a Priest.
Later that day Mike, Chris and family hosted family and friends in a fantastic celebration at their home, can’t tell you how fun it was to see the new Priest that will return to the Vatican in 3 months step out of his car with his Robes topped off with a Cowboy Hat!!!
At one point I happened to walk into the room the Chalice and Paten were displayed, there were 7 Priests discussing the Latin engraved on the Chalice, man am I glad I didn’t make a mistake!
I want to Thank Mike and Chris Nicola for their friendship and having the faith in me to create these pieces along with Reverend Sean McCann, the McCann family and the entire Parish for allowing me to be part of this. I will honor and cherish this the rest of my life.