Arts Allow Us to Fully Express Our Faith

As the warmer weather continues, we see more and more of God’s beauty unfolding in nature. 

The Earth returns to a colorful cacophony of flowers and trees, bringing delight after a long, cold winter gives way to spring. 

The use of color and beauty for religious purposes is as long as the history of the Church. 

Depictions of the Gospels have been treasure troves for artists across the ages. These pieces of art were also used as teaching tools for the faithful, who may not have had the ability to read or access to the Bible. 

As we come out of Easter, Jesus’ resurrection sows in the garden of this world the seeds of the radical transformation of our bodies and creation itself in the power of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

The Catholic Church celebrates a broad use of arts in its liturgy. 

The beauty of church architecture is as diverse as the Church writ large. Soaring steeples topped with the cross were used to show the faithful God’s giving us his only begotten son. 

The reconstruction of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris is a grand example of the beauty of the Church. 

Music is the broadest art used in the celebration of the Mass. Raising our voices in unison to our God brings joy and helps reinforce our faith. 

The use of stained glass in churches depicting Gospel scenes or demonstrating the travails of a saint is seen beautifully as the morning sun shines through to offer a diffuse illustration of the scene. 

The Church’s historic use of bread as the Eucharist is another example of an art used to celebrate the Mass. 

Even before Christ’s use of bread during the Last Supper, He uses the metaphor to foretell a crowd, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35). “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (John 6:51). 

The Tablet has been showcasing artists producing creative projects in celebration of their faith. 

A profile of award-winning artist Patricia Brintle and her renderings of iconic Catholic saints in a lower Manhattan church is but one example of professing her faith through the arts. 

There was also a feature article on Arthouse 2B, being shepherded by Claire Kretzschmar and Erin McAtee, who assist other Catholic artists by providing support and finding performance spaces for the artists’ projects. 

In the April 22 edition of The Tablet, we featured a number of artists across many disciplines talking about the future of Catholic art. 

Many offered heartfelt comments on where Catholic art will be employed and enjoyed by the faithful. 

As Gwyneth Thompson-Briggs said of her paintings, “My mission is to reveal God’s glory to a modern audience.” 

Italian painter Francesco Santoro, whose work adorns the walls at St. Joseph Church in Astoria, told The Tablet, “I want to represent the Christian faith and the events of Christianity through an artist’s perspective.” 

All this joy of art within the Church allows us as Catholics to express our love of God and the importance of our faith.