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Memorial Icon of Theotokos Hodgetria

On Sunday, August 21st 2011, following the 11 a.m. Mass, the Icon of Theotokos Hodgetria, Mother of God and her son, Jesus , which was commissioned as a memorial for Fr. Thomas Brioschi, was blessed. 

Fr. Tom was the pastor of Saint Thomas Becket from July 2003 to December 2007. Fr. Tom loved being a priest, and he loved taking care of the parish. He took a very personal pride in this building and helped to ready it each weekend just like someone would ready their home if they were having guests for dinner. It was also not uncommon for the staff to see him with his toolbox in hand ready to go fix something. 

Fr. Tom died at the age of 49 after a courageous battle with cancer. Many parishioners, friends, and family members donated money to be used towards a memorial. This past year the Parish Pastoral Council and Fr. Bill Murtaugh made the decision to commission iconographer, Nick Markell, to paint or ‘write’ an icon for our Sanctuary using the dedicated memorial funds. 

The commissioning of the memorial icon was inspired by Fr. Tom’s visit to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles. On the Cathedral’s sanctuary walls are 37 tapestries of saints. They show a stunning connection between art, faith and human community. Using this inspiration, Fr. Tom’s memorial icon is hoped to be the beginning of more icons on the walls of STB to join in our communion as church. “ Iconic imagery is meaningful … it is the poetry of the eternal and the ritual of heaven to transfigure our imagination.” (N Markell) 

In a recent conversation with Harold Brioschi (Fr. Tom’s father), Deacon Kelly was told that Fr. Tom would be honored to have such a beautiful piece of artwork dedicated in his memory. The Brioschi family has a long history of involvement with art, both secular and liturgical. Fr. Tom’s great grandfather, Carlo Brioschi, graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Milan, Italy. After immigrating to Minnesota, he sculpted the statue of Columbus that stands on the grounds of the State Capitol. He also did many of the sculpture work at the St. Paul Cathedral and the Basilica of Mary in Minneapolis. 

Fr. Tim Wozniak blessed the icon on Sunday, August 17th 2011. Fr. Tim was a close friend of Fr. Tom. They were both members of a dinner group that would often meet at STB’s parish house. Several of Fr. Tom’s family members were in attendance and hospitality was shared following the dedication. 

(Feast of the Assumption on 15 Aug 2011)