Portrait of a Bishop . . . and Friend

One of the out takes.  Don't ask for serious, Bishop Stika just can't seem to pull off serious.  Life's too short not to be smiling.

This past weekend the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus was dedicated in Knoxville, Tennessee, the mother church for the Diocese of Knoxville.  I was there all weekend to photograph the Masses and celebrations, of course.  But now I can speak to a piece of it that I contributed.

In his Homily at the dedication Mass, Bishop Rick Stika, our bishop, said that he did not want people to say to him, "Good job, Bishop."  Rather, we should look at one another and congratulate the other for doing a good job in building this cathedral.  perhaps, but I would like to say "good job" to someone who is both my spiritual father and a friend.

So I was delighted when I was asked to photograph Bishop Stika for his portrait for the cathedral.  Many thanks to my friend, Derek Halkett, who accompanied me to the Bishop's residence one morning to help move lights and backdrops.  

I was not worried about posing so much as I wanted the lighting to be such that one would call the portrait "painterly."  Bishop Stika is a classy guy so I wanted a classic feel to the portrait.  I have photographed Bishop Stika enough to know that how he stands is almost irrelevant because he always exudes a sense of bonhomie and good nature.  He can't help it, he is just that type of person.  Regardless of your faith (or even a lack of it), you know when talking to him that the bishop is someone who has an intimate friendship with his Lord.

And he is a hoot as well.

The official portrait:

At the end of the session, the bishop asked me if I wouldn't mind taking one more picture.  I knew what he wanted as hew as asking.  So I photographed him and his two faithful companions, Molly and Rosie.  In fact, when you visit the cathedral, look at the fresco of St. Francis of Assisi - and see the two dogs at the saint's feet.  Oh, and the cardinal in the tree behind the saint?  What other MLB franchise has one of its most ardent supporters incorporate them into the cathedral he founded, hmmm?

Molly and Rosie

And I invite you all to go and visit the new Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Knoxville.  Membership in the Catholic church not required, our doors are always open.  Walk around.  Sit awhile.  It is a very special place.