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Talking faith in art

SHIJIAZHUANG (SE): “To communicate the message entrusted to her by Christ, the Church needs art,” Pope John Paul II wrote in a letter to artists in 1999.

It has also been used over the centuries as a form of catechesis and in China, the famed Jesuit missionary of the late 16th and early 17th centuries, Father Matteo Ricci, used both painting and cartography to convey his message.

A great number of Catholic communities on the mainland do the same today and Fides reports that on the day of the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, the 10th edition of the Exhibition of Works of Art at the cathedral of the diocese of Tianjin was held.

Ten years ago, the diocese established a Group of Artists, the aim of which was to illustrate, through the language of art, the bible, faith and catechesis.

A member of the group said, “Over 10 years, we have presented to the public 1,739 works of art that illustrate Christian themes. Of these 994 are calligraphy, 414 painting and 331 crafts, all of which are designed to communicate the Christian message.”

In this year’s exhibition, 224 works of art were displayed. Among them were paintings, paper cuts, engravings, embroidery, sculpture and photographs.

“Each work is an expression of love for Christ and for the Church,” the artist said. The diocese of Ningxia has also inaugurated an Exhibition of Christian art in the parish of Yinchuan. 

Most of the extremely precious works belong to a collection of a Chinese priest. They include paintings of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary dating back more than a century.

Some members of the art group contribute by donating paintings or needlework. One depicts Our Lady of Sheshan and another has the words, “God is Love,” embroidered on it.


Many Catholics and non-Church people visited the exhibition.

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