Pope Francis receives an artwork on the refugee crisis


Pope Francis personally received the framed artwork “Embracing Mercy” from a Filipino liturgical artist at the Sala Clementina, Vatican City, Rome after the special papal audience granted to the Augustinian Recollects who are participating in the 55th General Chapter last October 20, 2016.

The canvas shows Pope Francis embracing the Christ-child (after the image of Alan Kurdi, the three-year old Syrian refugee who died at sea and was washed ashore along with his deceased mother and brother in the Meditteranean Sea. His iconic image brought about increased attention and concern for the massive European refugee crisis). “Embracing Mercy” symbolizes the Church’s “motherly” attitude on the plight of refugees and Pope Francis personally lived it 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 indifference of rich nations.

slide tagoy pope

“Beautiful, I like it. Please pray for me, young man.” Pope Francis said to Brother Jaazeal “Tagoy” Dineros Jakosalem, OAR upon receiving the artwork. 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 defenceless: 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.” (Pope Francis, “Child Migrants, the Vulnerable and the Voiceless,” September 8, 2016). Much fitted to the concludong celebration of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, the artwork shows a deliberate message ot the Church’s utmost care for migrant children “Furthermore, far-sighted perspectives are called for, capable of offering adequate programmes for areas struck by the worst injustice and instability, in order that access to authentic development can be guaranteed for all. This development should promote the good of boys and girls, who are humanity’s hope.” (Pope Francis, “Child Migrants, the Vulnerable and the Voiceless,” September 8, 2016).

Exactly a month ago, Br. Jaazeal Jakosalem, OAR was commissioned by Fr. Miguel Miro, OAR, Prior General of the Order of Augustinian Recollects to create  a work of art to be given to Pope Francis on the scheduled special audience. With the able help of his art mentee, Melvin Lañas, a Recoletos scholar studying at the University of San Jose – Recoletos, Cebu City; they were able to finish this socially-conscious “beautiful” artwork. Brother Jakosalem has been promoting community art projects with young people. This artwork is the third piece of Brother Jakosalem’s art team to be presented to Pope Francis – during his January 2015 papal visit to the Philippines  he blessed the “pilgrim” art of Jesus of the Poor; and the “Laudato Si'” icon was given to him last September 2016.

{gallery}Gift to Pope{/gallery}

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Frei Bo

Frei Bo

Priest-Religious of the Order of Augustinian Recollects, Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno. Webmaster.