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The Annunciation – St. Gabriel the Archangel

Read the story...

I usually have quite a lot to say about the work you see in my portfolio. At least some notes or thoughts about the space give the viewer some insight into the work. But this work came on so fast that I’ve hardly time to think about it. Not that I won’t have a clearer mind to write about it in the near future but at present painting seems to be forcing out any other creative expression.

Instead I’ve added an article that was written by Shuan Huber for the parish newsletter. A delightful, talented young woman who’s interview style was so conversational I hardly realized it when the interview was over. With the additional editing of the parish staff, Rhonda Becker, Patrick Lynch and Linda Hemmer a different view of the work is offered here.

For all those who have said “yes”

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at whatwas said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus” (Luke 1: 26-31)

And Mary answered “yes” not knowing what that “yes” would entail. When she held her son as an infant, she probably never imagined one day holding his dead body after it was lowered from the cross. Yet, she knew that this was God’s child, so her “yes” was for all of us.

The annunciation story is a foundational part of the St. Gabriel community’s story. Because of that, the scene of Mary saying “yes” to St. Gabriel is becoming a legacy at our parish and for future generations. This scene, and the many events that unfolded from it, is being painted in the outer area of the Loft. The mural is visible from Hudson Lane and will be a welcoming view for many who visit our parish. This area is being transformed into a space for everyone to further develop their education and faith.

A few generous gifts were given to St. Gabriel and are being utilized to enhance the art and environment of our parish. The completed project will be dedicated to the memory of parishioners like Catherine Thompson. Catherine spent almost 30 years following her calling as an educator of the children of our parish. She then continued to dedicate her efforts by lovingly keeping the rectory & parish office in good order. Catherine was a woman who followed the example of Mary in saying “yes” to God through her service to this parish.

A committee was formed to decide how to display the powerful choice Mary made and the events that it set in motion. Pat Sheehan, owner of Fourth Wall Murals, LLC, has been commissioned to render the powerful image of Mary saying “yes” to God and everything that followed her decision. Pat has spent his life in Louisville and had a love of art from the time he was a small boy. His high school art teacher helped him develop his love of telling stories with his paintings. However, he had to put his creativity on hold in order to support his family and he took a job at MSD. But his passion for art was always right under the surface. At his wife Siobhan’s prompting, Pat went back to school to study commercial art and his artistic career took off.

Pat’s faith has always been a large part of his life, especially when he considered entering the seminary as a young man. However, God guided him toward a different calling. As an active parishioner of St. Bernard, he was asked by Fr. Joe Fowler to take charge of the Art and Environment of their parish. This is where he learned the methodology of how to emphasize God’s word through his art. Pat finally feels as though he is fulfilling God’s calling by bringing His Word to life.

The breathtaking mural of Mary’s Annunciation is just that: God’s Word coming to life. Pat has captured the emotion of this scene and the various Biblical events that followed. When describing his own work, Pat says: “If you are going to convince someone to believe, then you need to believe it yourself and put that belief in there.”

The mural is scheduled for completion in the Spring of 2011. If you are curious before then, please come by during the week and have a look at the work Pat is doing. It will definitely inspire you to think about what God is asking of you. Perhaps you can take the time to listen for your message as you take in the vision that is being created here.

Shaun Paradis Huber

Click here for a short video about this work.