Processional Cross for St. Anthony of Padua Church in Strong City, KS

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Project by Mark A. DeCou posted 07-21-2007 05:03 PM 7432 views 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was a commissioned piece, and so it has been sold.

If you would like something similar, please email me at:

[email protected]

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Project Story:

I was pleased to add this Processional Cross to my list of items to build for the church in Strong City, KS. Originally this item was not on the “must get a new one” list that the church wanted for their big historical renovation and updating of the church building.

When I was awarded the commission for the furniture pieces for the restoration of the church, I had asked for half of the commission as a down payment to help me cover the cost of the materials, and pay our house expenses while I worked on the project.

After the Pieces were built and ready for stain, I asked for another 30% of the project cost. The remaining 20% due when the pieces were delivered. At times I have been given 100% of the money upfront on a commission, but since this was a group of folks on the building committtee that didn’t know me, I thought the progress payment method would serve us all better, and provide all of us a level of trust that a new relationship needs.

Before the 2nd payment was made however, the Priest, Father Nick, wanted to visit my studio shop and view the “progress”. He was unfamiliar with my work, only just meeting me once during a short meeting at the church about the bidding of the work. The church had already given me quite a bit of money without seeing anything other than some digital pictures through emails. I understood his desire to check up on the work. So, I was pleased to host him on a cold and rainy Sunday afternoon while he viewed my shop and the progress on the church’s work.

Father Nick was pleasantly surprised to see the pieces in progress, and stood there looking at the Altars for awhile. I let him stand there looking. Then he turned and pulled the “check” out of his right coat pocket and held it out with both hands, head bowed, saying,

“It is my great honor to give you this check for the work you are doing for the church….”

I was so honored by his presentation, that I was in shock, and could hardly say, “thank you.” For me to be speechless is pretty odd (you think I write long, try talking to me, or rather “listening” to me talk).

I have been given a lot of checks over the years. Sometimes they are sent in the mail with a note, other times without a note. There have been a couple of times where people write the check out and act sort of upset, like I ought to be ashamed for charging so much. To keep me going on this journey, most of the time the checks are given with a smile.

But this presentation by Father Nick was the most honoring way I have ever been handed a check.

There are many things that demand money for us to live as a family in this country, and the checks I receive cover those bills, the materials I buy for the projects, the tools needed to do the work, etc. But, I don’t do this work because I like the money. Money could be made much easier, and more of it, by doing something else. I do this work because I love doing it, love working with the people I meet along the way, and feel created for, and called to this work.

As I have thought through that day with Father Nick many times since, I have come to the conclusion that there is something special that exchanges between an artisan and a commissioner that goes beyond just money.

There is a mutual respect, and a shared understanding of how we both depend on each other in the relationship. This respect causes the Artisan to do their best, and Commissioner gladly pays for the effort.

This was what Father Nick did for me that day when he passed the church’s check over to me, giving me honor and respect. It was for this reason that I quit other higher-paying work.

That moment with Father Nick was an affirmation that I had made the right decision in 1997. Click here to read the full story of that day

As Father Nick made his way around my cramped and filthy shop trying not to get saw dust on his all black clothes and jacket, he asked if I would build a Processional Cross for the church. He said that he didn’t have Board Approval for the decision, but that he was going to go ahead and commit to it anyway, if I would agree to build something that would match the church and the other work I was building. I gladly agreed, and my mind started racing.

To keep the price down on the Processional Cross, we all agreed that I would take the Corpus (carved body representing Christ) off of the existing Cross, and install it on the new cross. I did do some gold painting of the carved figure, but otherwise used it as it was. I designed this new Processional Cross to match the large Cross on the front wall of the church, and used gold/bronze powder for the decorative trim matching the other furniture pieces. The handle is wrapped in heavy grained leather that I dyed and distressed to make it look a little older than new leather.

Here are the posted projects from this Commission:

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Here is a last photo showing the Contemporary Aluminum Processional Cross that the church was previously using. It has now been retired from service.

Thanks for looking,
Mark DeCou

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Want to See More of my Furniture Work?:
If you go to my Mark DeCou Website you will find that I have not updated my website in quite some time. I realize that I need to invest in improving my website, but until that is accomplished, here are some more Lumberjocks related lilnks with updated postings of my furniture work, sorted into categories. Thanks for your interest in my work, and your patience with my website.

Arts and Crafts, Mission Style Related Projects:
  1. Arts & Crafts Entry Table; with Carved Oak Leaves
  2. Arts & Crafts Orchid Stand w/ Wine Bottle Storage
  3. Arts & Crafts Style Morris Inspired Chairs
  4. Arts & Crafts Display Top Coffee Table
  5. Arts & Crafts Style Inspired End Table Set
  6. Arts & Crafts Style Inspired Prairie Couch
  7. Table Lamps
  8. Arts & Crafts Carved Entertainment Center
  9. Mission Entertainment Center
Church & Worship-Art Related Projects:
  1. Carved Communion Table
  2. Carved Roll Top Sound Equipment Cabinet
  3. Fancy Church Side Altars
  4. Processional Cross
  5. Fancy Speaker's Lectern
  6. Church Hymn Number Board
  7. Communion Chalice (Cup) and Paten
Art-Furniture Related Projects:
  1. Sam Maloof Inspired Walnut Rocker
  2. Original Art Carved Tilt Front Desk, inspired by Birger Sandzen
  3. Natural Edge; Nakashima Inspired Coffee Table
  4. Decoratively Painted Box End Tables
  5. Birch China Cabinet for Cut Glass Collection
Rustic, Western, Cedar Log, and Cowboy Related Projects:
  1. Naughty (Knotty) Refined Rustic White Oak & Black Walnut China Hutch
  2. A Kansa Indian and Buffalo Accent Art-Chair
  3. Refined Rustic Dining Chairs
  4. Refined Rustic Dining Table
  5. Cowboy-Western Style Suitcase/Luggage Support Racks
  6. Fun With Cedar Logs #1; Sitting Stool
  7. Fun With Cedar Logs #2; Coat/Hat/Spur Rack
  8. Fun With Cedar Logs #3; Western Style Hat/Coat Rack
  9. Fun With Cedar Logs #4; Entryway Stool
Outdoor Furniture Related:
  1. Kennebunkport Style Adirondack Chair
  2. Outdoor Garden Wedding Arbor
  3. Outdoor Project: Cedar Wood Double Settee

(Note, this original design, project story, and photos are protected by copyright 2007 by the Author, M.A. DeCou. No unauthorized use is allowed without expressed written approval by the Author. Weblinks to this page are permitted without permission.)

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

15 comments so far

View darryl's profile


1795 posts in 5238 days

#1 posted 07-21-2007 05:13 PM

that’s a very inspiring story Mark, thanks for sharing.

View 's profile

593 posts in 4884 days

#2 posted 07-21-2007 07:23 PM

Great job Marc, as always! Anyway it’s quite redundant to tell you again and again how great stuff you build.

And what a fantastic story that goes with the project too. The bit about the check it is specially funny for me.

As you can see if you look at my profile/blog, I do live in Japan. There are a lot of good things and a lot of bad things here but if there is one thing we must give the japanese people credit for, is the deep sense of respect they usually have for the rest of the community.

You’d like to know that checks doesn’t exist here but when you have to give money to somebody -like in funerals or weddings- there are a few kinds of special envelopes and other rules to follow and it always shall be given holding it simultaneously with both hands while bowing in signal of respect.

This is also specially true -only that it is even more strict- with business cards.

Keep up the good work and makes us dream with your creations. Thank you for being a woodworker.

View rentman's profile


230 posts in 5006 days

#3 posted 07-21-2007 08:12 PM

very nice,great story thanks for all you wisdom you give!!!!!!

-- Phil, Chattanooga,TN

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5072 days

#4 posted 07-21-2007 08:41 PM

an artist.
an angel.
a master craftsman
an artisan

an honour to know you

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View rookster's profile


67 posts in 5062 days

#5 posted 07-21-2007 08:48 PM

Mark, this is the reason I have you marked as my buddy. Without fail your work inspires me, and you take the time to compose words that match. Thanks for sharing the stories of these church commissions!

-- Rookster, (

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5226 days

#6 posted 07-21-2007 10:01 PM

The last few decades has seen a shift from public works that a community shares in to private works. It is good to still see some great work in the public domain. I hope this leads to much more!

View Karson's profile


35229 posts in 5312 days

#7 posted 07-22-2007 12:55 AM

Mark, Another great piece for a pleased customer.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 5223 days

#8 posted 07-22-2007 02:30 AM

Your love for God and you fellow believers shows in all your work that you have done for the Church. You have not wasted your God given talents, that’s for sure! Your work is inspiring and beautiful.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View DocK16's profile


1198 posts in 4999 days

#9 posted 07-22-2007 06:05 AM

Another great piece to add to the previous work you have done. I have always felt somewhat frustrated not having the musical talent with voice or instrument to contribute in God’s house. It was nice to be able to find God did give me some talent with ww and got a great deal of satisfaction in building a lecturn and baptismal font. I feel the same satisfaction in the print of your story.

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 5089 days

#10 posted 07-22-2007 08:15 AM

Mark, you have a good way with words and write in such a way that one can see the heart behind the man.

I couldn’t help but think of the words that Jesus taught when telling the parable of the good and faithful servant. ”Well done … you have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!” [Matt 25:21]

In a similar way, Father Nick expressed this sentiment to you. No doubt you will hear these same words again in eternity.

Thanks, my friend.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 4978 days

#11 posted 07-22-2007 11:48 AM

Inspired – Thank you Mark for sharing a wonderful story and your craftsmanship.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View mot's profile


4928 posts in 4948 days

#12 posted 07-23-2007 10:05 PM

Wow, Mark. Another breathtaking piece with an excellent background story!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5158 days

#13 posted 07-24-2007 08:27 PM

Mark you have encouraged and influenced all of us that have known you for any length of time. You have left your mark forever on me. Your spiritual inner self comes out unknowingly and glows on us and inspires us to attain a higher plain of spirituality and makes us strive to attain a better self. If this sounds wacko maybe it is but I’ve known Mark quite a while now and he has inspired me beyond words. Thanks Mark for your prayers and kindness and all the knowledge you’ve imparted to me. mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View dlcarver's profile


270 posts in 4642 days

#14 posted 03-25-2008 12:33 AM

You don’t know me. I am a fellow carver and I think your work is fantastic. Do you belong to Chip Chats and subscriptions to Woodcarving and Woodcarving illustrated? I know they all would love to do articles on your work. Check out my own gallery.
Keep up the beautiful work.

-- Dave Leitem,Butler,Pa.,

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4734 days

#15 posted 03-25-2008 01:59 PM

Hi Mark,

You originally posted this long before I came on board but I am glad that this one surfaced on my list. As always you did a beautiful job on not only this piece but all the pieces commissioned by the church. And thanks for the story behind it as well. I have often said that I believe the story behind a piece is as important as the project itself.

Thanks for sharing.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

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