September 25, 2015

Painting by young adult Catholic will be used to promote vocations

Father Eric Augenstein and Michael McCarthy hold a painting of St. Junipero Serra in the St. Alphonsus Liguori Chapel in the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center in Indianapolis. The painting, created by McCarthy, was commissioned by the archdiocesan Vocations Office and the Indianapolis Serra Club. It will be used on prayer cards and posters to promote priesthood and religious vocations. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

Father Eric Augenstein and Michael McCarthy hold a painting of St. Junipero Serra in the St. Alphonsus Liguori Chapel in the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center in Indianapolis. The painting, created by McCarthy, was commissioned by the archdiocesan Vocations Office and the Indianapolis Serra Club. It will be used on prayer cards and posters to promote priesthood and religious vocations. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

By Sean Gallagher

The canonization of St. Junipero Serra by Pope Francis on Sept. 23 during a Mass outside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington drew the attention of Catholics across the country, and helped introduce them to the 18th- century Franciscan missionary to present-day California.

But members of Serra International have known about and had a devotion to St. Junipero for decades.

The Indianapolis branch of the organization that promotes vocations to the priesthood and religious life was founded in 1951.

Now Serrans in Indianapolis and staff members of the archdiocesan Vocations Office will use a newly painted image of St. Junipero to encourage people to consider their call from God.

The painting, the image of which will be used on vocations prayer cards and posters, is the creation of Mike McCarthy, a young adult member of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis.

An outreach coordinator for the archdiocesan Catholic Charities’ refugee settlement program, McCarthy will soon begin work full time in creating sacred art.

“I love the saints,” McCarthy said. “[St. Junipero] just adds another brother, another intercessor to my prayer family. I definitely asked his prayers for the painting.”

The 18-inch by 24-inch oil painting features St. Junipero wearing a Franciscan habit carrying a walking staff shaped like a cross because he is known for walking across Mexico and California in spreading the Gospel. Behind him is Mission San Carlos Borromeo, which he founded and where he is buried. The Pacific Ocean is also depicted in the background.

“Junipero Serra and his work in founding the missions of California are important parts of our history as Catholics in the United States, and their story is often forgotten when the history of our country is recounted,” said Father Eric Augenstein, archdiocesan vocations director. “I hope that bringing more attention to Serra at this time of his canonization will encourage people to learn from his missionary zeal and perhaps even be inspired in their own journey as missionary disciples.”

Carl McClelland, vice president for vocations for the Indianapolis Serra Club, was impressed by how the painting is “very colorful and positive.” He hopes it will help the club draw more people across central and southern Indiana into its ministry of vocations promotion.

“We want to get more involved in the schools and the parishes,” said McClelland, a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Indianapolis. “The canonization of Blessed Junipero Serra, our namesake, helps with that. Now we have something that we can give out to people as we go along.”

Father Augenstein was glad that the Vocations Office and the Serra Club were able to commission a young adult Catholic to create this new painting of St. Junipero.

“There are extraordinary gifts and talents in people all around us,” Father Augenstein said. “At the heart of discernment is discovering how God is calling you to use your particular gifts and talents to build up the kingdom and to grow in holiness.

“When we see other people using their gifts—like Mike using his artistic ability to paint an image of a saint—it can compel us to reflect on how God is calling us to use our own gifts and talents as people of faith to build up the kingdom.”

The prospect that his painting may inspire the vocational discernment of Catholics across central and southern Indiana is astonishing for McCarthy.

“I think it’s amazing,” he said. “I’m humbled that I was asked to make this painting. I hope it’s something beautiful that people can respond to and pray with.”
 

(For more information on vocations to the priesthood and religious life in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, log on to www.HearGodsCall.com. For more information on the Indianapolis Serra Club, log on to serraindy.org. For more information on the artistry of Michael McCarthy, log on to www.michaelmccarthyart.com.)

Local site Links:

Like this story? Then share it!