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A Pinprick to Revive Devotion

Father Leonard Kostka decided to create a “One Drop” cross. The lapel pin or necklace consists of a sterling silver Celtic cross with an almandine garnet in the center.

RENSSELAER — One drop will save the world from sin.

That’s the reason Precious Blood Father Leonard Kostka decided to create a “One Drop” cross. Available as a pin or necklace, it serves as a reminder that one drop of the blood of Jesus can save the world from trouble.

“We get so used to the Eucharist, we need a pinprick sometimes to revive our devotion,” he said.

The lapel pin or necklace consists of a sterling silver Celtic cross with an almandine garnet in the center. Father Kostka consulted Rensselaer silversmith and St. Augustine parishioner Lana Zimmer. They decided they liked the Celtic cross and she developed the design. A company custom casts the cross and she assembles the parts.

Father Kostka is a former Saint Joseph’s College professor and a former pastor at St. Augustine in Rensselaer.

Zimmer, who also teaches in the education department at Saint Joseph’s College, said about 150 people around the country have one of the crosses. Father Kostka said at least one priest in Africa has one, also.

He wanted to use a ruby instead of a garnet, but the cost would be prohibitive, he said.

The crosses, which went on sale in December 2006, symbolize, in a world where “the more violent the better,” the one drop needed to clean it from all the “garbage,” Father Kostka said. Because symbols speak better than words, he decided to dramatize it.

He stressed the sacrifice Christ made, citing “Adoro Te Devote,” in which St. Thomas Aquinas refers to Jesus as a loving pelican.

Pelicans were once thought to feed their blood to their young by piercing their own breasts, Father Kostka said.

Father Kostka said the hymn has the theme that one drop is ransom for the entire world’s guilt.

The reason it’s called “most precious blood” instead of simply “precious blood” is because of its ability to nourish and cleanse, he said.

The crosses cost $48, which covers materials and labor.

Father Kostka, who said he’s never done something like this before, doesn’t receive any money from the crosses and hasn’t tried to advertise them much.

Betty Tonner, a parishioner at St. Augustine, Rensselaer, said she first heard about the cross at a Precious Blood Companion meeting at which Father Kostka talked about his idea.

“That idea sort of stuck with me,” she said. She bought one that year and the next Christmas bought five more for her daughters-in-law and her daughter.

She said the cross has grown to have a special place in her heart and she wears it everywhere. When she’s at Mass she holds onto it when the wine is consecrated, hoping for a special connection to the blood of Christ and for special blessings. “It just rings a bell in my heart,” she said.

She also treasures the cross because of her admiration for Father Kostka, who she calls “our resident saint.”

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This story was made available to Catholic Online by permission of The Catholic Moment (, official publication of the Diocese of Lafayette, Ind.



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