Letter to Father Anthony Pascale



February 4, 1971

4956 Kahala Avenue, Honolulu, Hawaii 96816


Dear Father Pascale:

Allen Rowland asked me to write something about the Way of the Cross in your church to include in a projected pamphlet. 

Here goes:

From the plans and conversations with the architect, I realized that the intention was to use honest materials and not to disguise them as something else.  The sincerity in the use of the materials was to be expressed in the casting of the cement walls by emphasizing on the finished walls the joints of the planks and the grain of the wood used as the mold into which the cement is poured.  Vladimir Ossipoff suggested for the Way of the Cross a technique not used before in Hawaii but that seemed in accord with the general plan of sincerity and simplicity. 

A Styrofoam negative sculpture, used here as a first for our State, even though simple and with a touch of the primitive in its final aspect, is delicate to execute.  It consists, simply stated, in making a mold of a sculpture that does not as yet exist.  The mold is fixed in place where the wall will be and a single operation of cement pouring forms both the wall and the bas-reliefs.

Thus instead of having the art as an afterthought in relation to the architecture, art and architecture come into being as one. 

This suggested that a style more architectural than realistic would be in accord with the process used.  Also, that the panels are relatively small in size and at a level eleven feet high when viewed meant that any extraneous details should be left out as they would not be visible to the worshipper.

The realization follows such a plan.  A certain monolithic effect is achieved not unlike that found in Egyptian temples where the bas-reliefs were carved directly out of the stone wall.  An obvious display of drama has been avoided in favor of a symbolism easier to grasp at the distance specified.  Thus “nailing to the cross” is represented mostly by hammer and nail, and the Veronica episode by the Veronica kerchief itself.

If the altar area and all liturgical accessories follow the rule of stylistic simplicity and sincerity in the use of material with which the church has been begun, this unity will doubtless help to create the spiritual atmosphere that all churches should aim for. 

Jean Charlot

[1] Way of the Cross.  Church of St. John Apostle and Evangelist, Mililani, Hawai`i; Styrofoam reverse sculpture cast with the cement wall; fourteen panels, each 20 X 16 inches.  Completed November l970, cast in situ February 1971. 

Edited by John Charlot.