Pope Francis receives artwork from Negrense liturgical artist

Pope Francis personally received the framed artwork “Embracing Mercy” from a Negrense liturgical artist at the Vatican’s Sala Clementina during the special papal audience granted to the Augustinian Recollects last Thursday. Brother Jaazeal “Tagoy” Jakosalem, OAR, who hails from San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, was commissioned by Fr. Miguel Miro, OAR, the prior general of the Order of Augustinian Recollects (OAR) to create an artwork for the Pope. Jakosalem was previously assigned at the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos in Bacolod City. He was assisted by his art mentee Melvin Lañas, a student-scholar of San Jose-Recoletos in Cebu City, where he is currently assigned. “It is a grace-filled moment to be with the Pope,” Jakosalem told Sun.Star Bacolod yesterday. He added that being able to translate the Pope’s concern for the refugees is by itself sharing his advocacy. “It is also a humbling experience being asked to pray for him,” Jakosalem said. The congregation said that upon receiving the artwork the Pope told Jakosalem, “Beautiful, I like it. Please pray for me, young man.” “Embracing Mercy” is a canvass that shows Pope Francis embracing the Christ-child, who is after the image of Alan Kurdi. Kurdi is the three-year-old Syrian refugee who died at sea and washed ashore along with his deceased mother and brother in the Mediterranean Sea. “It symbolizes the Church’s motherly attitude on the plight of refugees and Pope Francis personally lived it as his own advocacy,” it added. Moreover, Jakosalem has been promoting community art projects among young people. “Embracing Mercy” is the third piece of Jakosalem’s art team to be presented to Pope Francis. The first two artworks were the “Pilgrim” art of Jesus of the Poor and the “Laudato Si” icon given in January and September 2015, respectively.* (ERWIN P. NICAVERA, Sun.Star Bacolod, Tuesday, October 25, 2016)