Art historian and judge keynotes art contest reception

Simply stewardship
Lesle Knop is the executive director of the archdiocesan office of stewardship and development. You can email her at: lesleknop@archkck.org

by Lesle Knop

Saint John Paul II wrote an apostolic letter nearly 20 years ago in which he called us to “remember the past with gratitude, to live the present with enthusiasm and to look forward to the future with confidence.”

In his joyful letter, “At the Beginning of the New Millennium,” he quoted the fifth chapter of St. Luke, when, one day, after speaking to crowds from Simon’s boat, Jesus invited him to “put out into the deep” to catch fish: “Duc in altum” in Latin.

With these words, “Put Out Into the Deep,” the Regional Juried Christian Arts Competition and Exhibition sponsored by the Catholic Fine Arts Council hopes to challenge contemporary Christian artists to use their skills and talents to lead others to Christ.

Saint John Paul II wrote: “Peter and his first companions trusted Christ’s words, and cast the nets and ‘when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish’” (Lk 5:6).

The missionary spirit embodied in this passage from the lives of the apostles is our invitation to put out into the deep through the thoughtful stewardship of our many gifts that have been entrusted to us.

The Catholic Fine Arts Council was founded by the Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas in 2009 as a service to everyone in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

Along with honorary chairpersons John and Pat Menghini, members of Church of the Ascension, the council invited artists to enter its second regional art exhibit, entitled “Duc in Altum: Put Out Into the Deep.” Christian artists were encouraged to submit their artwork for consideration by a panel of art professionals and Father Kent O’Connor, pastor of Good Shepherd Church in Shawnee, who are volunteer members of the Catholic Fine Arts Council.

Nearly 50 exceptional paintings, sculptures and other works of art will be on display at Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kansas, starting Oct. 16. Winning artists, selected by the competition juror Denis R. McNamara, Ph.D., will receive a total of $3,200 in prizes made possible by the Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas.

McNamara will present a lecture, titled “Iconic Images: Seeing Heaven on Earth,” immediately before the artists’ reception on Oct. 16 starting at 4:30 p.m.  

McNamara, an architectural historian specializing in American church architecture, is an assistant director at the Liturgical Institute of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary, Chicago, and serves as a liturgical design consultant.

I would encourage you to join us for this theologically motivated lecture. I am confident that you will be inspired by McNamara’s words, and, when viewing the art, you, too, may want to “put out into the deep!”

Note: The program is free. You may register online.

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