Blessing of Sidewalk Sculpture, "When I Was Naked"

"When I Was Naked" - A Gift to St. Matthew's

On Sunday, November 17, 2019, the 3rd World Day of the Poor, Msgr. Jameson led a crowd of 11:30am Mass-goers to the sidewalk along Rhode Island Avenue for the blessing of a special new statue.

The bronze sculpture, "When I Was Naked" was recently installed at the foot of the Cathedral steps. As Msgr. noted before the blessing, the statue will stand as a constant reminder to look for Christ in the poor and vulnerable in our daily encounters.

Timothy P. Schmalz is the sculptor, and the donors who made this work possible are Mr. and Mrs. Michael Huke. They are pictured in the photo at right (from left to right, Timothy Schmaltz, Msgr. Jameson, and Mr. and Mrs. Michael Huke).  St. Matthew's is most grateful for the artist's work and the generosity of these benefactors. 

Timothy Schmalz is a figurative artist whose pieces have been installed worldwide, including in historical churches in Rome and at the Vatican. Photo books of his works highlight a series of bronze sculptures depicting the loving actions, now known as the 'corporal works of mercy,' that Jesus speaks of in the parable quoted in the blessing, below. For more information on the artist's work, visit

Another sculpture of "When I Was Naked" can be seen at St. Peter in Chains Basilica in Rome. 

Blessing of the "When I Was Naked" Sculpture

Dear Brothers and sisters,
we have genuine reason to rejoice
because we are about to bless
a very special image of Lord Jesus Christ,
placed before us to reveal the truth
that Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. 
When his disciples pressed Jesus
to tell them how they would gain eternal life,
he told them this parable:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 
Then the king will say to those on his right,
'Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you
from the foundation of the world. 
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me, 
naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’ 
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink? 
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you? 
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
'Amen, I say to you,
whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine,
you did for me.’
'Then he will say to those on his left,
'Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 
stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ 
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.’
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life.”


Let us pray to God the Father, who has given us the Word, through whom all things were made and in whom they have their being; he is our Savior and Redeemer.

Father, your Son is boundless wisdom and the truth above all truths; grant that we may grow in our knowledge of him and the desire to imitate him and remain united to him, we pray to the Lord.

R. Lord, hear our prayer

Father, it is your will that in Christ we should have a teacher who is gentle and humble of heart; grant that we may obediently learn from him kindness and goodness; we pray to the Lord.

R. Lord, hear our prayer

Father, grant that our efforts as a parish will focus not only on charity, but also justice, and that we will be known by all who come in contact with our Cathedral parish for our compassion, our advocacy and our protection of the poor, the homeless, the immigrant and the refugee; we pray to the Lord.

R. Lord, hear our prayer

Father, give strength and health to our Holy Father Francis and our Bishop Gregory, as they seek to transform the Church into the face and hands, the eyes and ears, and the heart of Christ in the midst of your creation.  We pray to the Lord.

R. Lord, hear our prayer