The small bottle merges the Catholic and Cajun cultures in a Louisiana church.
A tiny addition to a painting of the Last Supper is drawing attention to a small Louisiana church. The artwork, which pictures Christ seated among four of his disciples, also features a small bottle of what appears to be Tabasco sauce, just to spice the scene up.
The painting has adorned the walls of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church for fifteen years, but few noticed until now. In a report featured above, KATC interviewed Fr. Bryce Sibley, who commissioned the work when he was pastor of St. Joseph’s. He said he thought that people were aware of the Tabasco bottle and was surprised to see it making headlines.
“There’s a humor. Jesus was humorous. There’s humor in the scriptures. Quite often I think that being funny or whatnot is a great tool for evangelization. If people are going to come to the church just to look at this, maybe sit and take a little time for prayer? Who knows, people may be brought back to church.” Fr. Sibley told KATC.
Even the current pastor, Fr. Nicholas DuPré, hadn’t noticed it. According to USA Today he only went looking for it when he received a letter from Shane Bernard, who works for the Tabasco parent company, McIlhenny Co., as a curator and historian. Bernard had heard rumors of a Tabasco bottle making its way to the Last Supper and wished to confirm this.
Fr. DuPré said he had to get a ladder so he could get a closer look at the medallion painting, which is placed near the ceiling. DuPré quickly went to Facebook, where he announced that it was no rumor, there was indeed a bottle of Tabasco sauce in the painting.
“I think that it gives us a human side of what we do. As Catholics we have a meal at the heart of the way that we worship God. So, I see it as a beautiful and humorous marriage of our Catholic culture and local Cajun culture.” Fr. DuPré commented on the work.
Fr. DuPré confirmed on the St. Joseph’s Church Facebook page that there was indeed a bottle of Tabasco sauce in the painting. It didn’t take long for the makers of the world famous sauce to acknowledge the honor. In thanks, they sent Fr. DuPré a large bottle of Tabasco, which the priest shared with his flock on social media:
Fr. DuPré joked that he was considering putting the bottle on display in the vestibule to let the whole congregation take part in this silly cultural merger. He wrote:
“Might have to make this into a memorial of some kind with this (actual) bottle of Tabasco sauce and put it inside of the vestibule of St. Joseph Catholic Church to commemorate the finding of the ‘Holy Grail of Tabasco bottles.’”