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Filipino liturgical artist gives Pope Francis another framed artwork

A Filipino liturgical artist personally handed Pope Francis a framed artwork, the third piece given to the head of the Roman Catholic Church, during a visit at the Vatican this week.

Br. Jaazeal "Tagoy" Dineros Jakosalem, OAR's art work, “Embracing Mercy”, which was presented to Pope Francis at the Sala Clementina, Vatican City. (Br. Jaazeal "Tagoy" Dineros Jakosalem / CBCP News / MB.COM.PH)

Br. Jaazeal “Tagoy” Dineros Jakosalem, OAR’s art work, “Embracing Mercy”, which was presented to Pope Francis at the Sala Clementina, Vatican City.
(Br. Jaazeal “Tagoy” Dineros Jakosalem / CBCP News / MB.COM.PH)

Brother Jaazeal “Tagoy” Dineros Jakosalem, of the Order of Augustinian Recollects (OAR), gave the Holy Father the art piece “Embracing Mercy” at the Sala Clementina, Vatican City, Rome after a special papal audience granted to the Augustinian Recollects, who participated in the 55th General Chapter on Oct. 20.

“Beautiful, I like it. Please pray for me, young man,” said the artist, quoting the Pontiff upon receiving the artwork, in an article posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) news website.

The canvass shows Pope Francis embracing the Christ-child, fashioned after the likeness of Alan Kurdi, the 3-year old Syrian refugee who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea and was washed ashore along with his deceased mother and brother.

The photo of Kurdi face down on a beach went viral last year, increasing worldwide attention and concern for the massive European refugee crisis.

Jakosalem noted that “Embracing Mercy” symbolizes the Church’s “motherly attitude” towards the plight of refugees.

“Pope Francis personally lived it, he said, as his own advocacy. In the face of the global crisis, the Church embraces the many faces of injustice brought about by poverty, neglect, and the indifference of rich nations,” he added.

Jakosalem noted that he worked on the painting for a month, after he was commissioned by Fr. Miguel Miro, Prior General of the OAR.

He also acknowledged his art mentee, Melvin Lañas, a Recoletos scholar studying at the University of San Jose – Recoletos, Cebu City; as they were able to finish the “socially-conscious” piece of art.

The “Embracing Mercy” is the third piece from Jakosalem’s artistic team to be presented to Pope Francis.

The Holy Father blessed the “pilgrim art” of “Jesus of the Poor”, during his January 2015 papal visit to the Philippines while the Laudato Si’ icon was given to him last September 2016.

In a message intended for the 2017 World Day Message of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis said: “I feel compelled to draw attention to the reality of child migrants, especially the ones who are alone. In doing so, I ask everyone to take care of the young, who in a threefold way are defenseless: they are children, they are foreigners, and they have no means to protect themselves. I ask everyone to help those who, for various reasons, are forced to live far from their homeland and are separated from their families.”