Editor Emeritus - Ed Wilkinson

Artistic Masterpiece Issues A Call to Forgiveness

There’s a full court press on to urge Catholics to make use of the confessional on Reconciliation Monday, April 10. It’s a tri-diocesan effort with the Archdiocese of New York joining with the Dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Centre in a massive public relations campaign.

One of the cornerstones of the campaign is a 20.5 by 23 foot rendering of Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam” that was unveiled this week in Bay Ridge.

The work of artists Mike Fusco, James Raczkowski and Kerry Thompson, the enamel and acrylic rendition was stenciled and painted on the side of a building at the intersection of Third Ave. and 81st St.

“Obviously, it’s a big deal to recreate a master’s work,” Fusco said. “You notice many more qualities in the process that a normal observer misses. In that regard, it’s quite special. You’re retracing footsteps, and it puts you in a similar state of mind because you’re working towards achieving the same result hundreds of years after the fact.”

Fusco, who studies the works of master artists in his graduate painting program at the New York Academy of Art, said that he was familiar with the fresco method of the original.

Thompson, a graduate of the New York Academy, said that the process was pretty much the same as that used by Michelangelo. A lot of planning went on in the studio and then a stencil was made and applied to the wall. The artists then spent four days in a cherry picker actually applying the colors.

The scene, painted more than 500 years ago in the Sistine Chapel at Vatican City, depicts the hand of God reaching out toward the hand of Adam.

In Bay Ridge, the image is accompanied by the words: “Connect with God, experience the power of forgiveness this Easter.”

The billboard message informs Catholics that churches throughout the greater New York City area will be open for walk-in confessions on Monday, April 10, from 3 to 9 p.m.

“The message is intended to inspire forgiveness amongst all people. But for Catholics specifically, we are encouraging them to go to confession and receive the sacrament of reconciliation in preparation for Easter Sunday,” said Msgr. Kieran Harrington, president and chairman of DeSales Media Group, the communications and technology arm of the Diocese of Brooklyn, which created the Easter ad campaign.

“The central act of Jesus is to reconcile the world with the Father. We are authentic followers when we have the courage to forgive those who hurt us and to seek forgiveness from those whom we have wronged. In confession, we confront our sins and experience God’s mercy,” Msgr. Harrington said.

The campaign includes billboards throughout Brooklyn and Queens, as well as newspaper ads, digital ads and radio spots recorded by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio.

Billboards have been placed near CitiField on the Whitestone Expwy., and in Brooklyn at 1064 Atlantic Ave.; Gowanus Expressway (North bound) at 46th St.; and the Belt Parkway (East bound) at JFK Expressway, 153rd Pl.