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Issue Date:  January 20, 2006

From artists to activists: The many paths of service

A vocation of service can take many forms, and in this special section on Ministries, reporter Patricia Fening Gayes profiles five people who minister through the visual arts. With paintings, sculpture, photography, silhouettes and stained glass, they see sacred art as a way of healing the world and bringing God’s love to the viewer.

“God draws us to himself through beauty,” says Franciscan Br. Robert Lentz, known for his contemporary icons. Lentz, like others featured in the article, found resistance to the idea that art could be a ministry, but he says, “The church has always used beauty in her effort to present the divine mysteries. There must, then, be room for artists in the church and in our religious orders.” ( See story)

Paige Byrne Shortal makes the case for another form of self-expression as a ministry. ( See story) Pastoral writing on catechesis and dialogue on Catholic issues can be a substantive contribution to the parish bulletin, she says, but no matter what the outlet, it can offer a chance for writer and reader to grow together in holiness. Meanwhile Benedictine Sr. Theresa Torres reviews a guide for pastors of Hispanic congregations, calling on them to address critical issues for that community in their homilies. ( See story)

Finally, two articles look at people whose lives of service have taken them far from the comforts of home. Reporter Tom Carney profiles the Rev. Bob Cook, a Presbyterian minister from Iowa who is now working as an official “lay Catholic missioner” at a Salvadoran parish that partners with faith communities in Des Moines for development projects. ( See story) And  Patrick O’Neill writes about Elizabeth McAlister’s 40 years on the forefront of the peace movement, a life of civil resistance that has included about four years behind bars. ( See story)

-- Teresa Malcolm

Other stories in this section
Detroit soup kitchen reopens after fire

By Catholic News Service
Retired driver makes bread runs for the hungry

By Catholic News Service

National Catholic Reporter, January 20, 2006

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