The Eucharist is a moment of thanksgiving to God, making the sacrifice of Christ the Savior present at Mass. Sacred art depicting Christ in the Eucharist – whether hung inside or outside of a church – allows viewers the opportunity to reflect on the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
In participation with the National Eucharistic Revival, Holy Cross College at Notre Dame is hosting the St. Joseph Gallery exhibition “Body & Blood: Contemplations on the Eucharist.” The show began Monday, August 21, and will run through Friday, December 15, on the college campus with a gallery reception scheduled to take place on Thursday, October 26, from 3:30-4:30 p.m.
“This exhibition, ‘Body & Blood: Contemplations on the Eucharist,’ features a variety of creative works reflecting on the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, the Christian practice of consuming consecrated bread and wine during Mass in commemoration of the Last Supper, and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This collection of art includes imagery created by Holy Cross College students, alumni, faculty, and staff, along with local community members,” said Angelo Ray Martínez, Assistant Professor of Visual Arts, Program Director of the Visual Arts & Music program, and Director of the St. Joseph Gallery. “There is also a small selection of infographics from Blessed Carlo Acutis’ ‘Eucharistic Miracles of the World’ exhibition, documenting the supernatural occurrences of bleeding hosts and other Eucharistic miracles. Some of the artworks are more representational and literal, while others are more abstract and open-ended. However, all of the images explore the truth, beauty, and goodness associated with the True Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.”
Artists found inspiration in nature, through prayer, and from family.
“My piece is of Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest,” artist Mary Kloska told Today’s Catholic. “I originally painted this icon while writing a book about the spirituality of praying for priests. I was meditating on Jesus as our Eternal High Priest and particularly His relationship with His Mother. My inspiration for this work was Jesus as the Priest, altar, and victim – His Sacred Heart being His Eucharistic heart.
“My hope is that viewers of this artwork are drawn more deeply into an understanding of Jesus’ Sacred Heart being His Eucharistic heart set on fire with divine love,” Kloska continued. “Jesus is the priest offering the sacrifice of His own life on Calvary. Jesus is the victim being offered to the Father in reparation for sin. And Jesus Himself is the altar where the fires of divine love consume His gift – body, blood, soul, and divinity – offered in the Eucharist not only for us to the Father, but also to us as we receive Him. He desires that we receive His love and offer Him ourselves, thus also being consumed and transformed by divine love.”
Artist Brandie Flores hopes viewers of her piece find a renewed closeness to their faith.
“It was an honor for me to be a part of this exhibition. As a practicing Catholic, the Eucharist [means] so much. It represents the power of the Holy Spirit, the Real Presence of Christ, holy Communion, and the holy sacrifice of the Mass,” Flores said. “For me, art has always been an outlet, a synthesis of form and feeling.
I wanted to convey my appreciation for Catholicism. Sacred art is true and beautiful; it evokes and glorifies faith and adoration, which is what drew me to become involved in this exhibit. … My goal is invoking people to feel a little closer to their faith with my artwork.”
Marcella Cloud, an art major at Holy Cross, became involved with the project upon the request of Martínez.
“In this piece, I wanted to focus on the Eucharist in adoration; more specifically, this moment in adoration when the priest lifts the monstrance, which holds the Eucharist, to bless the congregation,” Cloud said. “My goal and hope for this piece is that the viewer never forgets the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and that the viewer remembers Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and the hope that it brings for our salvation.”
According to artist Stephen Barany, he attended two printmaking workshops hosted by Martínez during the summer. During one of the sessions, he decided to make a print of the Lamb of God, which is now part of the exhibit.
“I love that Holy Cross College provides students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to share their faith-based artwork with the college and local community,” Barany said. “It reminds us that our faith is not a private, individual experience, but has roots in the Church, the Body of Christ, of which we are all a part. My inspiration for this piece was the Mass, specifically the words, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God.’ In the print, I blend Eucharistic imagery with the depiction of the Lamb of God in Revelation.”
Artist Megan Gettinger said she appreciated that the exhibit allowed her a unique opportunity to participate in the Eucharistic Revival.
“The inspiration for my piece, ‘Co-mingling,’ was the Eucharist and the Incarnation. It is an abstract reflection on the Eucharist as an entry point of the Divine into humanity, and on Jesus, present in the Eucharist, as the One in Whom Heaven and Earth co-mingle,” Gettinger said. “I also reflected on the Eucharist as a daily, tangible, consumable proof of the reality of the Incarnation.”
Gettinger hopes exhibition visitors are drawn into the beauty of the Eucharist and the great mystery of the sacrament. “I hope that encountering the artwork at the exhibition will stir up a longing in the viewers’ hearts to go encounter Jesus in the Eucharist.”
The exhibit is open to the general public from now until December 15 on the Holy Cross College campus.
“I hope that our visitors leave the exhibition with either a desire to learn more about the True Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, or a deeper sense of wonder and amazement about the great mystery of this blessed sacrament,” Martínez said. “Either way, I hope that the exhibition inspires some of our visitors to go to Mass and celebrate the magnificence of Christ’s True Presence as they are nourished by God’s infinite love as it is offered in the Eucharist.”
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