Gracing the left side of St. Columba Church’s sanctuary upon the once-blank wall, a striking mural now stands, painted by Bloomsburg parishioner and gifted artist Rain Escovedo. Bishop Ronald Gainer made a pastoral visit to the church on March 25, the fifth Sunday of Lent and the Feast of the Annunciation, to celebrate Holy Mass and bless the mural, which was recently finished by Escovedo after nearly eight months of work on the 30-foot high painting behind the church’s statue of its patron, St. Columba.
The mural, a type of icon, is intended to be looked through – not at – as a window into heaven, according to the artist. Beside the mural is a detailed explanation of the painting, which includes images of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and Jesus, as well as a superb rendition of the Holy Trinity amongst a duo of angels. It’s a colorful, prominent work of art set inside an inviting place designed to welcome the prayerful.
Bishop Gainer blessed the mural after an invitation by St. Columba’s pastor, Father Richard Mowery. In his homily, Bishop Gainer noted that, “For thousands of years, the Church has asked artists to draw the faithful of the Church closer to Our Lord. We thank the Lord for inspiring Rain Escovedo to produce this beautiful image that adds to the mystery of our faith…that truly is the best kind of art.”
The artist had the help of a team of parishioners who set up scaffolding, built the platform for the inviting prayer area as well as giving her the moral support to produce such a large piece of work in such a short period of time.
“Painting a mural is a lot like trying to follow Christ,” Escovedo says in her artist’s mission statement. “He invites us. We say ‘yes.’ Often we foolishly think we can do it quickly, excellently and without help. He humbles us, He helps us. He uses us in our inadequacy to do something beautiful. In the end, He is the one to be thanked, then we go home.”
(Photos by Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness.)
By Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness