The High Altar reredos is officially known as the Ter Sanctus (thrice holy), which comes from the hymn sung during the Eucharist: “Therefore with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify thy glorious name.”

The 110 carved figures surrounding the “Majestus” sculpture of Christ in majesty are composed of saints and angels, but the six prominent figures on either side are actually anonymous, and call attention to a different kind of hero.

The six figures recall the Works of Mercy from the Gospel of Matthew: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”

Together, the six figures challenges believers and nonbelievers alike to be a force for compassion in the world — something that is all too often heroic and extraordinary.