Special ceremony for a special statue

There’s something quite beautiful and unique to see at the entrance way to the Lancia Villa Vista nursing home care facility at 800 Sinclair Ave., Steubenville.

It’s a 2-ton Pieta statue that was formally dedicated and blessed during a special ceremony held May 22 and conducted by Diocese of Steubenville Bishop Jeffrey Monforton in the presence of the Lancia family – Joseph and his wife, Linda, and sons Giuseppe Lancia and Guirino Lancia, all owners/administrators of Lancia Nursing Homes.

The ceremony took place not only for the Lancia family but for staff and residents as well and included a Mass and a light lunch afterwards.

The life-size marble replica of the renowned Renaissance artist Michelangelo’s famous Pieta sculpture is true to the original housed in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City and is finished in authentic Carrara marble.

The work of art depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion “and she is full of pity,” Joseph Lancia said, explaining that a promise he had made to himself is the reason for the statue’s local presence.

“I made a promise if we could successfully continue in the operation of our nursing homes and also succeed in our newly built home (Villa Vista), I would do something to recognize our Creator,” he said.

“The Pieta is a statue of Mary holding her son who is taken down off the cross, and she is full of pity,” he said. “I put it in the entranceway of the nursing home so it would be visible to the city, because I feel we should do our share of sacrifice toward mankind. It’s a message. We should all do some type of sacrifice toward mankind in our lifetime,” he said.

“I made the promise in 2004 when we started the addition – Villa Vista – and the statue came on Good Friday in 2012,” Lancia said. “I don’t know if it was coincidental or divine intervention.”

The statue was ordered in August of 2011 and came by boat to the United States, then was delivered by crane through Steckman’s in Toronto.

Enclosed in a glass structure, the statue is illuminated and “extremely visible at night” for travelers heading west on Sinclair Avenue to see.

Lancia said it is the only statue of its kind locally.

“I have been to Italy and seen the real one. If you ever get a chance to go to the Vatican, you want to see that,” Lancia said.

But for a closer-to-home look, take a drive by the Steubenville facility.