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Garan Santicola, Guest Columnist, The Christophers

Garan Santicola

July 7, 2024

An Exhibit of Sacred Art 

     Currently on display at the Michael McGivney Pilgrimage Center in New Haven, Connecticut, is a sacred art exhibit entitled “Do This in Memory of Me.” Organized and curated by the St. Edmund’s Sacred Art Institute in Mystic, Connecticut, as part of the National Eucharistic Revival, the exhibit showcases the work of artists from around the country in a variety of mediums with insightful takes on the theme of the Eucharist.  

     Highest honors in this juried exhibition went to Robert Armetta’s Entombment, an oil on canvas painting of the dead Christ sprawled across a stone slab awaiting preparation for burial. A work of stark realism, Entombment highlights the desolation of Christ inherent to the Eucharistic sacrifice.   

     Second place was Kate Capato’s The Well, an oil on linen painting of the woman at the well pouring back the water she just drew as she gazes at Christ in a moment of complete surrender, finally realizing her true desire; and an outstretched arm is all we see of Christ as the woman’s look reveals His transformative presence.  

     Third place went to Neil Hughes’ Agnus Dei, an oil painting of a solemn, high Latin Mass, wherein a deacon, subdeacon, and several altar servers flank a priest performing the Consecration as incense rises towards the crucifix they face. 

In a few of the honorable mentions, Mary takes center stage as the lens through which to understand the person of Christ: Mia Lang’s charcoal and graphite drawing A Mother’s Heart depicts Mary kissing the baby Jesus. In Jennifer Ward’s egg tempera with gold leaf icon Noli Me Tangere – Touch Me Not Mary turns from the empty tomb to find the risen Christ. And Mary sits upon a cloud with her feet resting upon a crescent moon, cradling the baby Jesus, in Joseph DeVito’s sculpture in clay Mary, Mother of the life Within.  

     Honorable mentions were also given to: James Langley’s mixed media Holy Communion, showing a communicant kneeling to receive the Eucharist; Ewa Krepsztul’s egg tempura on wood The Word Became Flesh Triptych, a three-paneled representation of the miracle of transubstantiation; and Anthony Suppa’s oil painting St. Peter Denies Christ, wherein an anguished Peter leans on a large earthen vessel that represents the dust of the earth, a nearby skull represents mortality, a rooster represents conscience, and Peter clutches his keys to keep a firm grip on the Barque amid his trial. 

     A selection from this exhibit will travel to Indianapolis for display at the Eucharistic Congress from July 17th to 20th before returning to the Michael McGivney Pilgrimage Center, where works will remain on display until August 25th. In a statement about the intent of the exhibit and its importance to the Eucharistic Revival, Deacon Francis Valliere, Coordinator of St. Edmund’s Sacred Art Institute, said, “We want to get across to people that God’s beauty can help heal them.” 

     The interplay between beauty, healing, and the Eucharist is a unifying thread running throughout the entirety of the exhibit as each work invites contemplation of the love of God at the heart of the sacrifice of the Catholic Mass. Following in the footsteps of Catholic artists throughout the centuries, the creators of these works inspire faith in the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist by utilizing the beauty of their craft to open hearts to God’s healing gift. 

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