Traditionally, Mary’s pregnancy was hidden or portrayed as barely showing and St. Joseph was characterized as an older man in the background.
But Caswell said he sees a trend in churches of telling the traditional stories from a new angle.
“Culture and society have changed,” he explained. “Churches still want commissioned works to be of the highest quality and to remain true to doctrine, but they want them to reflect a more genuine portrayal of life and of the things with which we can all relate.
With his new sculpture, Caswell said he aims to show Mary “celebrating” her pregnancy and motherhood, and to portray Joseph as a “strong, solid and protective man, very much in love with Mary.”
But this depiction also hints at the sorrows of Mary. Her statue will look across the Wichita cathedral to a scene of the Crucifixion that Caswell promises will be “powerful.”
“The cross will appear to come right out of the floor. People will be able to walk around it, look
up into Jesus’ face and even touch his feet,” the sculptor said. “In the Book of John, it talks about Christ willingly sacrificing himself on the cross. He was in control at every moment. He will be looking down, but his face will not appear as a victim. I will create his face to reflect a sense of calm and peace.”