Arts News

{mosimage}TORONTO - During his five years as Toronto’s poet laureate, Fr. Pier Giorgio Di Cicco says what’s surprised him the most is the “unspoken need for spirituality” in Canada’s largest and most prosperous city.

Di Cicco told The Register in an e-mail interview that there has been a surprisingly “deep civic hunger” in the city. He said his presentations, talks and city-building initiatives to different community groups echoed “a call to a common spiritual language.”

Ellen Gable Hrkach's success proves romance novels need not be smutty

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{mosimage}In the beginning, she just wanted to tell her story. But now, writing has become something of a vocation for Ellen Gable Hrkach — secondary to her marriage and motherhood of course — as she weaves fictional romance with church teachings on sexuality.

“Fiction is a wonderful way to evangelize and I don’t think it’s used enough,” Hrkach said.

The Ottawa Valley mother of five boys first set out with the mindset that if she touched one person’s life, that would be enough. But more than one person has been moved by Emily’s Hope, published in 2006, and have gone on to devour her second novel, In Name Only, released this year. The self-published author has sold 1,700 copies of her first book and continues to get a passionate response from readers.

Toronto artist, Farhad Nargol-O’Neill, aims for 2011 Venice Biennale

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{mosimage}TORONTO - For some artists the idea of devotional art may be laughable — an obscure subspecies of Hallmark greeting card imagery with no purpose other than to excite shallow sentiment. But for Toronto sculptor and painter Farhad Nargol-O’Neill there’s no such thing as meaningful art without devotion.

“Creation of art is an act of devotion,” Nargol-O’Neill told The Catholic Register on a recent visit to his studio.

Linden MacIntyre's Christian soldier slogs on

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{mosimage}The priest as a hardworking assassin just doing his job, eliminating child abusers and perverts from the priestly ranks, is not a very likely starting point for a serious novel about a man in middle age struggling with meaning in his life. Award-winning CBC journalist Linden MacIntyre makes it work in The Bishop’s Man .

It’s been 21 years since the Mount Cashel Orphanage scandal erupted — the first of a long series of awful stories about sexual and physical abuse of minors by Catholic priests and vowed religious. While David Harris’s Unholy Orders: Tragedy at Mount Cashel did the journalistic job back in 1991, it has taken this long to get a thoughtful treatment of the post-scandal church in a novel.

The Good Thief's tale of redemption

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{mosimage}When Jesus welcomes the good thief into paradise, St. Dismas has clearly had no opportunity to make amends for his deeds, reform his way of life or even say he is sorry to his victims.

When Australian actor Allan Girod presents the Canadian premier of Irish playwright Conor McPherson’s The Good Thief at Toronto’s Fringe Festival , audiences will have an opportunity to ask themselves whether they could follow Jesus’ example and welcome a dangerous, violent man into their society.

Hawthorn School aids Vatican Museums

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{mosimage}TORONTO - When Grade 9 student Christina Mavroidis saw the famed Pieta and other art wonders of the Vatican and its museums this year, her love for art was transformed.

“I don’t know how they were able to put so much emotion into so many statues,” she said.

But just as the art has changed students like Mavroidis, so have the students affected the art. Every year, Hawthorn School for Girls, an independant Toronto school based on Catholic values, raises money for the restoration of Vatican Museums artifacts. It became a member of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums after the Canadian chapter was established in 2000. Over the years, the school has presented between $6,000 and $9,000 for the Vatican Museums.

Paul Roorda's art views the Gospel through skeptical eyes

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{mosimage}TORONTO - A worn, century-old Bible, powdered blood and butterfly wings aren’t exactly what you’d expect to see in most artwork.

But Kitchener, Ont., artist Paul Roorda says re-using materials in creating his art helps to portray the themes of resurrection and transformation.

In his exhibition “Skeptic’s Gospel and Other Remedies for Truth,” Roorda explores questions about faith and doubt, life and death, humanity and divinity. The exhibition opened March 13 and runs to April 22 at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto.

National Gallery to host papal art exhibit

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Canadians will get the chance to see the differences in art patronage by popes of the 16th century at a rare exhibition this summer at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

The gallery will host From Raphael to Carracci, the Art of Papal Rome, an exhibition which will gather together 150 works of art which have rarely been seen outside of Italy or appeared together at one time.

The exhibit was announced at a Toronto news conference hosted by the National Gallery of Canada Feb. 26.

Street art goes Main Street

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{mosimage}TORONTO - As you peer through the keyhole, the silent memorial begins. More than 400 names of homeless people who have died on Toronto’s streets flash across the screen inside the graffiti-adorned house, one after the other.

This is the work of “Other,” also known as Montreal street artist Derek Mehaffey. It’s part of the first major street art exhibit at a Canadian museum.

Church architecture must express meaning

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{mosimage} TORONTO - Christian architecture has to do more than amaze or comfort the people who walk into churches. A church has to mean something, says architect Roberto Chiotti.

Chiotti is best known for his design of St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin , a groundbreaking Catholic church in north Toronto that reinterprets the tradition of church architecture to make it work with, rather than against, nature. St. Gabriel’s is the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) by the Canada Green Building Council certified church in Canada and stands as a physical embodiment of the theology of Passionist Father Thomas Berry.

Theology of the body rocks

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{mosimage}TORONTO - If sex sells, can a pope’s teachings about marriage and sexuality also appeal to the masses?

Two Catholic musicians are hoping that John Paul II’s “theology of the body” set to music will be able to. Or at least encourage listeners to consider an alternative view to the sexually permissive culture.