About a year ago I received a call from a family of St. Sebastianites, expressing their desire to commission a painting as a gift to the parish and to support Catholic art and artists. They gave a generous donation toward the project and we contacted Mr. Eric Armusik, the young artist from Hamburg, PA who also executed our beautiful St. Sebastian paintings. After a period of prayer and discussion, it was decided that the painting would be of the crucifixion and that it would be approximately four by five feet.
Mr. Armusik was quite enthused about the project and the scope of the endeavor grew – literally. The donors kindly enlarged their gift with the artist’s prompting and along with that, the painting grew to nine and a half by five feet! The plan was to have the painting finished and temporarily installed in our sanctuary for the season of Lent to assist the parish in our Lenten prayers. But the size of the task, other commissions being handled by the artist, and shipping difficulties delayed its arrival in Akron by several weeks. But now it is here and installed in time for this last half of this holy season.
We are so fortunate to have this new work of art. There is, in the end, these things: the one, the true, the good, and the beautiful. And as Fr. Benedict Groeschel was fond of saying, “It is ultimately the beautiful that will save us.”
It is not only beautiful, but utterly unique. It was not picked out of a catalogue and no one will visit us and say, “We have that one at our parish too!” There are no mugs, calendars, or prayer cards (yet) with this image on it anywhere in the world. Like a song of worship, you must be here, at St. Sebastian, to experience its beauty and power to inspire. May it inspire more Catholics to support Catholic art and artists so that the Church may return to its role of Patroness of the Arts and through it, train artists in the sacred and gain influence once again in the cultural scene.