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Spirited Unity of Art, Faith
Service opens Vatican exhibit resource center

By BETH PRATT A-J RELIGION EDITOR


Yvonne Racz with Christ the King improvies a celebatory dance as she brings in the incense at the beginning of the Mass establishing a Vatican Art Exhibit Pilgrims' Resource Center at the Catholic Renewal Center Saturday morning, June 1, 2002. Racz is also the artistic director of Ballet Lubbock.
A-J Photo / Robin M. Cornett
A celebration of art and faith Saturday morning by about 400 worshippers marked the opening of the Catholic Renewal Center as the Vatican Exhibit's Pilgrim Resource Center.

It also marked the eighth anniversary of Bishop Placido Rodriguez, the second bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lubbock.

"Faith has a universal dimension as well as its artistic expression," Rodriguez said in his homily on the body of Christ.

The rare frescoes from the Vatican Museums on exhibit beginning today at the Museum of Texas Tech represent an agreement of church and state that brings a unity of purpose both secular and spiritual.

photo: news
  Most Rev. Pl�cido Rodre�guez, Bishop of Lubbock, leads the congregants in singing a song during the opening moments of the Mass establishing a Vatican Art Exhibit pilgrims' resource center at the Catholic Renewal Center Saturday morning, June 1, 2002. The bishop also marked his eighth anniversary of installation as the Bishop of Lubbock.  
"We dedicate this Catholic Renewal Center as the Vatican Exhibit's Pilgrim Resource Center for the benefit of those people of faith who honor the faith of our ancestors," the bishop said, proclaiming the opening of the exhibit in Lubbock a historic event.

Joe and Esperanza Hinojosa, members of Plainview's Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, praised the beauty of the service, citing Yvonne Racz's liturgical dance bearing the brass bowl of burning incense.

"The diversity of people that came reflects the true nature of the universal in the church coming together as one, coming together as a true family," Joe Hinojosa said.

Times are changing, he said, speaking of the sorrow he felt at seeing the Baptist church in Happy damaged by a tornado and then destroyed by fire.

A bishop's message

Calling for a renewal of faith, Bishop Placido Rodriguez said, "I used to think the words of Scripture were dead and dry. I also used to think the works of religious art were dead and dry.

"I now know that they are full of energy and life. It was my heart that was stony and dead, so how could anything grow there?

"Now you see why we need to dedicate this Pilgrim Resource Center ... why I renew my heart with a fresh commitment to serve the Diocese."

Exhibit facts

• Featured: "Medieval Frescoes from the Vatican Museums Collection." Thirty-one medieval frescoes discovered at Roman churches St. Nicola in Carcere (St. Nicholas in Prison Church) and St. Agnese fuori le Mura (St. Agnes Outside the Wall Church).

• When: Today through Sept. 15.

• Where: Museum of Texas Tech, Fourth Street and Indiana Avenue.

• Museum hours: 1-6 p.m. Sundays; 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; and 9 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Thursdays. Museum doors open 30 minutes before each day's first tour; final daily tours begin at 5 p.m. Sundays and 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. The museum also will be open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday. It will be closed all other Mondays while the exhibit is on display.

• Tickets: Are free but must be reserved in advance. Call 742-6800 or toll free (866) 803-6873. Those reserving tickets must know date and time of day that they wish to attend.

"I think the people of God, though they worship in different ways, have a sense of unity in Christ," he added.

Maia Ghandour, a junior at Lubbock High School, said she enjoyed the service. She is a member of Christ the King Cathedral Catholic Church. When she was a student at All Saints Episcopal School, she studied art history, so is somewhat acquainted with what the frescoes represent as art.

"I'm very excited (about the exhibit)," she said. "I think it will be good for Lubbock."

The bishop began and ended his homily with stories about seeds that held life after thousands of years as a comparison of the continuity found in the church through the centuries.

Quoting from a news story about a seed found in a 2,000-year-old tomb in Japan, Rod riguez said the seed was planted and grew into a large magnolia plant.

An even more amazing mystery, he said, is the celebration of corpus christi (the body of Christ), instituted by Jesus more than 2,000 years ago and still a source of unity for all Christians.

That unity of faith also is expressed in the exhibit's 31 frescoes that were found in the 13th-century churches of St. Nicola in Carcere and St. Agnes fuori le mura (St. Agnes Outside the Wall).

The Eucharist is the mystery that unites Christians, the bishop said, noting that the first Eucharist on the South Plains was celebrated "either in Palo Duro Canyon or Blanco Canyon, near Floydada in 1541 by Francisco Vasquez de Coronado's chaplain, Fray Juan de Padilla."

Rodriguez cited the continuity of faith in the area, which includes the establishment of the Diocese of Lub bock on June 17, 1983, his installation in 1994 as the second local bishop of the diocese and celebration of his eighth anniversary here.

bpratt@lubbockonline.com 766-8724




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