Father Drew Hoffman points to the window of the Immaculate Conception just before blessing a reproduction in wood of the window Friday, Dec. 7, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita. The reproduction hangs in the gathering space near the Cathedral offices. (Advance photo)

Those who visit the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita for the first time often crane their necks to study the paintings or windows high above them.
Chet Hockman, a member of St. Anne Parish in Wichita, just made it easier for anyone interested in the circular window above the west transept of the cathedral, an image honoring Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.
Hockman, a painter and wood carver who has produced many art pieces for his own parish, St. Anne in Wichita, including the Stations of the Cross there, wanted to donate a carving to the Cathedral.
So Father Adam Keiter, the rector of the Cathedral, asked him to create the image of the stained glass window in a four-foot round, relief-carved wood so that the patroness of the diocese, the United States, and the Americas could be venerated more easily.
Hockman happily agreed to the task.
But, before he could start, the artist said he had several unique challenges that had to be overcome in the basic design of the carving. For example, how to deal with the “leading” around the glass and speculating about what the original artist of the stained glass had created beneath the heavy brackets that reinforce the window.
With those design problems resolved, the wood structure “canvas” was built, and Hockman began carving the images. After those steps were complete, the remaining challenge was the painting.
“During the painting, it was important to try to capture the stained glass original’s beautiful coloring,” he said.
“So, because the color of the wood can darken the paint, I had to paint all the carving white and then paint the final colors over that to make it as bright as possible. To prevent accidental damage, each section of the carving had to be painted and sealed before progressing to the next area of the artwork.”
Hockman, a Navy veteran of the Vietnam war, has been creating various pieces of art since he can remember and now that he is retired, he will be concentrating on his artistic endeavors.
The “Immaculate Conception of Mary” carving was blessed Friday, Dec. 7, by Father Drew Hoffman on the Solemnity of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary and is hanging on the north wall of the gathering space, located off of the south entrance of the Cathedral.

Chet Hockman is making it easier for visitors to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception to see the what the window depicting the Immaculate Conception, high above the pews, looks like. (Courtesy photo)