GUSTINE - A newly-completed cross comprised of 220 inlaid, engraved bricks and a striking centerpiece graces the entrance to Our Lady of Miracles Catholic School.

Project organizers Florie Nunes and Durvalina Snoke joined Shrine of Our Lady of Miracles parishioners in celebrating the completion with a July 7 unveiling.

The 220 bricks which form the cross carry a variety of personalized messages. Some are in memory of a loved one; others honor alumni at the parochial school. Many simply reflect community supporters of OLM, or past OLM Celebration presidents.

“There are a variety of messages,” Snoke commented. “Every time I come here I just like to read the bricks. They have meanings that are important to people.”

Snoke and Nunes said they were working as volunteers at the school when the idea of the the brick cross fund-raiser came to them.

They first started in 2012, but work on the project was intermittent as life intervened.

The project as initially envisioned would have included 300 bricks, each with enough space for three lines of copy. But the feedback was that project supporters wanted to be able to put more information on a single brick, Snoke said, so they shifted to larger bricks from a different supplier.

“I think it helped the project turn out much better, and we also got to select the color,” Snoke told Mattos Newspapers. “It turned out so nice. You have a vision when you start, and this exceeded what mine was.”

The project raised about $40,000 for the school, the organizers estimated.

“My original goal was for it to go toward something educational for the kids, but it looks as it will go to operating expenses,” Nunes said. “Wherever the need is.”

The community was extremely supportive of the project, she added, knowing that the cause was special.

“I have always felt this school was the gem of the community,” Nunes reflected. “Whatever we can do to keep it we’re here to do that.”