The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

Articles Under: Catechizing with Art

To view the artwork online click here. When you ascend the hill that leads up onto Franciscan University of Steubenville’s campus and look across the Rosary Circle, a glittering mosaic will likely catch your eye. At first, you may only be able to make out a vague form inside a golden almond shape. As you get closer, you’ll see Our Lady, crowned as Queen of the Angels, standing within a mandorla formed by fiery seraphim. Her rose-colored mantle drapes around a representation of her holy womb. Inside, surrounded by concentric circles dotted with stars, Jesus holds a miniature Portiuncula and... Read more
To view this image on a smart board, click here. “Mary does bring us closer to Christ; she does lead us to him provided that we live her mystery in Christ,” wrote St. John Paul II. [1] Throughout the year, the Church offers the faithful countless spiritual paths to live in the mystery of Christ through the feasts and fasts, the seasons and rhythms of the liturgical year. Manifold dimensions of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus’ Life, Passion, Death, and Resurrection unfold in time across the liturgical year. In this way, each day of the liturgical calendar is a renewed... Read more
The Mass of St. Gregory depicts a miracle in the life of Pope St. Gregory the Great, who died in Rome on March 12 of AD 604. According to tradition, he and others experienced the appearance of Jesus as the pope celebrated a particular Mass. It is considered a eucharistic miracle because of the circumstances surrounding the event. We learn of this narrative through the stories of the saints collected and published by Jacobus de Voragine, a Dominican priest of the thirteenth century. The original title of his book was Readings from the Saints . But over time, the published... Read more
The sacristy of the Cathedral in Toledo, Spain, houses a painting made in the late sixteenth century by Domenikos Theotocopoulos, better known by his nickname , El Greco. In the center of the picture, we behold Christ wearing a brilliant red tunic. All the other figures—clad in gray, green, yellow, or blue—fall into subordinate places around Christ, as cool bodies gathered around a flame. A man in green takes hold of the red garment at its neckline to begin the divestment, the “ expolio .” The brutal removal of the vesture, and its imminent sundering by the executioners, vividly reminds... Read more
To view or to zoom in on this art on a smart board click here. One of the most famous Catholic paintings of history is the humble work of art titled The Angelus by Jean-Francois Millet. This painting might be considered unique in that it has been viewed as inspired fine art by some and purely sentimental illustration by others. What is in this image that stirs the aesthetic imagination for some and is dismissed by others as a simplistic work of religious nostalgia? Importantly, how does it incarnate the subject of prayer? Jean-Francois Millet was born in Grechy, France... Read more
In 2020, the Shepherds of the Church gave us a treasure in the new Directory for Catechesis . Dr. Farey was a member of the working party for the bishops on the new Directory and shares additional reflections on its practical implications in this conclusion of the three-part series. There are many small ways by which beauty can be brought into one’s catechesis easily and simply, even if finding beautiful images or music are not one’s forte. The new Directory for Catechesis urges us “that every form of catechesis . . . attend to the ‘way of beauty.’” [i] Beauty... Read more
To view the art on a smart board, click here. O Come, Let Us Adore Christ Our Lord! “ Adoration is the first attitude of man acknowledging that he is a creature before his Creator,” notes the Catechism (2628). In adoration we exalt the greatness of God and express gratitude to Jesus Christ for reconciling us to God in the mystery of his Paschal death and Resurrection. Saint Luke’s Gospel tells us that the good news of God’s reconciling the world through his Son came first to simple shepherds in the midst of their ordinary work. As they kept watch... Read more
When John Everett Millais’ Christ in the House of His Parents was first displayed at the Royal Academy, the public response was near-universal revulsion. At that time it bore no title but Zechariah 13:6: “And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then shall he answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” The intense and earthy detail of Millais’ depiction of the Holy Family scandalized press and public alike. One critic decried its “painful display of anatomical knowledge, and studious vulgarity of portraying the youthful Savior as a red-headed... Read more
To view this image on your laptop or on a smartboard click here and zoom in. Pentecost, by the artist El Greco (c. 1597), is one of the most extreme images of an event in Scripture. What was the convergence of history, culture, and personality that led to El Greco’s image of the descent of the Holy Spirit as described in the Acts of the Apostles? In the sixteenth century in Northern Europe, the Protestant movement attacked many longstanding Catholic traditions of art making. This movement led away from images that expressed supernatural and sacramental realities and toward more literal... Read more
Because of the pandemic, instead of working directly with children, many parish catechists are helping parents gain confidence in preparing their children for sacraments without traditional classes. I believe this new process can ennoble families to better assume their role in society. “Ennoble,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, means to “make noble or elevate.” [1] Kings and queens elevate or “ennoble” a “commoner” to the status of “noble.” One cannot ennoble himself. He receives his nobility either through family inheritance, marriage, or as a gift bestowed by the proper authority. As Catholics, our ennoblement begins at Baptism when we become... Read more