The Power of Beauty and Education
With fears of the corona virus spreading far and wide and threatening to paralyze our spirits (in a way like the virus itself), it’s a little strange to be excited about launching a major public event here at the Mission. But that’s what’s happening…to me anyway – call it Franciscan foolishness…
For the first time ever, our Franciscan leadership, under the guidance of Fr. David Gaa, has approved the temporary expansion of our Mission Museum to house a major art display. And for good reason: to broadcast our Gospel vision as a center of Franciscan evangelization through the power of beauty and education. For three months this summer, through the miracle of 21st century technology and the enterprising spirit of Bridgeman Images, our premier campus gathering areas, Serra Chapel and the Friars Lounge, will become the Sistine Chapel. The exhibit, photographic reproductions of the Sistine frescoes, is currently attracting large crowds to the campus of Christ Cathedral in Orange County.
In one way, the exhibit carries forward a long-standing Franciscan mode of devotion and preaching: making the beauty and inspiration of faraway holy sites more available to local communities. The Stations of the Cross, practiced frequently during Lent, came about through friars who wanted to make it possible for people to experience a spiritual pilgrimage without having to travel all the way to Jerusalem. In a similar way, St. Francis himself was able to establish the “the Pardon of Assisi”, making it possible for pilgrims to visit his beloved chapel in Assisi to receive the grace of God’s forgiveness more easily than travelling to St. Peter’s in Rome.
As we bring the Gospel to life in new ways, let’s pray for an end to the corona virus and, with prudence, place our future – and our current project – in the hands of God!
Fr. Dan OFM, Pastor