CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Exhibition of The Merciful Face

HONG KONG (SE): A exhibition of the paintings under the theme of The Merciful Face, by Sister Marie-Anastasia Carré, was held at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception from August 6 to 21.

Sister Carré, from the Community of the Beatitudes, said at the opening ceremony on August 6 that the concept behind the over 40 pieces on display—14 of which depict the way of the cross, Jesus’ manifestation of the love of God —is about how God comforts people in jeopardy with his mercy.

She explained that the beauty of Christian art reminds people that virtue is the oxygen of the soul and an important part of human dignity.

Sister Carré said Hong Kong people pay a lot of attention to their personal appearance, but she reminded them not to overlook their internal beauty.

She said she believes that art can nourish the internal needs of people and show the dignity of being human, which has an intangible need for beauty, eternality, absoluteness, quality time and relationships with others, as well as with God.

She explained that in her experience, people who ignore their internal needs feel an inner emptiness.

She said artistic expression in people raises them above mediocrity, which is a reflection of the principle governing God’s creation of humankind.

The opening ceremony was officiated at by John Cardinal Tong Hon and attended by Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung and Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing, as well as the parish priest of the cathedral, Father Dominic Chan Chi-ming.

Cardinal Tong said it was pleasing to see the paintings of the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord and he expressed hope that the art could help visitors understand the mercy of Jesus Christ and inspire them to be just as unconditionally generous as the Lord. He added his hopes that the paintings would lead visitors to pray to bring peace to their souls.

The cardinal spoke of his awe at the depictions of the face of Jesus in the paintings displayed in the four papal basilicas in Rome, which manifest his merciful heart, adding that he recognises the contribution that artists have made throughout history.

He said that the Church today needs to catch up with the achievements of the religious art of the past.

Sister Carré spoke of her work and put on a demonstration at the Catholic booth during the Hong Kong Book Fair in July.

In addition, Church communities in Hong Kong held a number of workshops on the connection between painting and spirituality during August. The project will culminate with an exhibition in Macau.

Sister Carré was born to an artistic family. She studied visual arts in university and later taught art at secondary school. Since joining the Community of the Beatitudes, she has been involved in social services and says that she was inspired by art while working in a youth reform facility in The Philippines.

She is now primarily engaged in art using acrylics and watercolours and, more recently, frescoes. One expression of her painting is liturgical, intended for display in chapels, prayer rooms or retreat centres, while another expression is intended as an expression of God’s love.

The exhibition was organised by the ad hoc committee of the Jubilee of Mercy and sponsored by the Hong Kong Catholic Social Communications Office together with the Diocesan Audio Visual Centre.

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