Every classroom at UP has a crucifix. Dundon-Berchtold Hall’s crucifixes have been donated by UP students, priests, faculty, and staff from their studies, service, and travels all over the world. Anywhere you have Catholics, you will have crucifixes, which differ from crosses in that there is a corpus (body) on a crucifix, versus the emptiness of a cross. In light of the Resurrection, many people wonder why anyone would want to gaze on this image of an agonizing death. One answer is that the crucifix helps the beholder remember that God took on flesh to suffer in solidarity with all those who are ill, tortured, or stricken in any way. Crucifixes in Catholic hospitals, for instance, help many patients experience a feeling of connection with God that is deeply compassionate, helping them feel a little less isolated. Where the empty cross celebrates a triumph over death, the crucifix helps many people confront suffering–a part of being human– with courage, resilience, and hope. The international crucifixes in Dundon-Berchtold are a visceral reminder that there is nowhere on this earth God is unmoved by those in pain.
Did You Know? is a mostly weekly feature in upbeat that pokes around among the many mysterious customs and beliefs professed by Catholics. If you have a question about why Catholics do or believe something, please send them to Fr. Jim Gallagher, Campus Ministry, or Karen Eifler, Garaventa Center.