Fr. Mark Hoying is shown with with the Station painted by Julie Basinger. The paintings by local artists of the 14 Stations of the Cross were placed around St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Kalida last Saturday. (Photo submitted)
Fr. Mark Hoying is shown with with the Station painted by Julie Basinger. The paintings by local artists of the 14 Stations of the Cross were placed around St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Kalida last Saturday. (Photo submitted)

KALIDA — Last February Fr. Mark Hoying announced he was looking for a few good artists. His mission was to have the 14 Stations of the Cross painted on stand-alone wood murals placed around St. Michael’s Catholic Church during the Lenten season. On Saturday, that vision became a reality when the final paintings were in place.



All ages stepped up to volunteer their time and talent to do the work. Fr. Hoying called some to encourage their participation.
“He called and asked if I would be interested,” said Julie Basinger. “I’m just getting back to drawing and painting. I loved the idea.”
Although Fr. Hoying gave out the “canvas” for the artists and directed which station each artist should draw, he did not include any further instructions. Each artist was allowed to illustrate and paint their station as they interpreted it.
“I saw my station as the basis of our faith,” said Mike Sarka, who painted the 12th Station when Jesus dies on the cross.
Sarka, who has painted for many years, said he is more of a realist painter. He knew he wanted to include John, Mary Magdalene, and Mary, mother of Jesus. A Roman soldier is also in his painting. “I sketched it on the board before painting it,” Sarka said.
Sarka said he wanted people to see the suffering Jesus endured on the cross. “You wouldn’t believe the tears I shed while doing the painting,” Sarka admitted. “It is difficult to think of the suffering Jesus did for us,” Sarka is retired and said he probably had more time to work on the painting than others.
Basinger did the third Station when Jesus falls while carrying the cross.
“I wanted to emphasize Christ and the pain of falling,” Basinger said. “I was thinking of the solitary suffering and sadness he felt while he fell.” She said she initially drew several sketches on paper, often using models outside to study the shadows as it would have fallen on Jesus. For her final painting on the board, she projected her final sketch. Basinger said she gets her love of painting from her mother, Nora Basinger.
“My mother was an artist,” Basinger said. “We always had her paintings hanging around the house. “She passed that love on to me. Using acrylic as her medium Basinger said she learned a lot while doing the mural. “I normally use oil but learned more about using glazes with acrylic paints.”
Will Zeller is taking an art class at Kalida High School. His teacher passed on Fr. Hoying’s request for volunteers to work on the murals. “I’ve always liked painting and do it as a hobby, said the Kalida senior. He painted Station 10 when Jesus is stripped of his clothing.
“I chose to focus on the shading of the clothing,” Zeller said. He also worked on different skin tones. When completed Fr. Hoying noticed that the arms of Jesus had different shading. “He told me that was important since everyone was guilty of stripping Jesus of his clothing,” Zeller said.
“All of these paintings are a good way for everyone to see our community and to see everyone’s vision,” Zeller said. “I didn’t see anyone else’s work until they were all brought in,” he said.
“All ages worked on these paintings. They are all different,” Sarka said. “There is a whole spectrum of talent that I find fascinating,” he said
“I’m proud to be a part of it,” Basinger said about the murals depicting 14 Stations of the Cross. “I love seeing each artist’s work and how they interpreted their station.”
Each Station includes a sign with title and the name of the artist. The 14 Stations are lit at night.