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Ordained in 2011, Father Friel served for five years as Parochial Vicar at St. Anselm Parish in Northeast Philly. He is currently studying toward a doctorate in liturgical theology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
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"Nothing should be allowed that is unworthy of divine worship, nothing that is obviously profane or unfit to express the inner, sacred power of prayer. Nothing odd or unusual is allowable, since such things, far from fostering devotion in the praying community, rather shock and upset it—and impede the proper and rightful cultivation of a devotion faithful to tradition."
— Pope Paul VI • 10/13/1966

Patron Saint of Artists
published 18 October 2013 by Fr. David Friel

HE PATRON SAINT of butchers, brewers, bookbinders, and bachelors. Also of lacemakers, notaries, and Hermersdorf, Germany. But, most importantly for our purposes, Saint Luke the Evangelist is the patron saint of artists, painters, and sculptors.

Tradition holds that St. Luke painted this image of our Lady around AD 60, when Mary had gone to live with St. John the Evangelist. Luke supposedly made a visit and wrote the icon on a cedar plank from a table Jesus had built for the Holy Family’s home in Nazareth.

Had he not authored the third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, St. Luke would likely be a little-known figure to us. He is mentioned only three times in the New Testament (Philemon 24; Col 4:14; 2 Tim 4:11). We know that Luke was born of a pagan family in Syria and that he was a doctor with medical training. It is also clear from the Scriptures that St. Luke never met Jesus Christ in person. Luke apparently came to faith through the preaching of St. Paul, with whom he traveled.

This makes Luke, I think, a great model for us moderns, who are all in the same boat. Sure, we have the Real Presence of Christ with us in the Eucharist. But none of us had the opportunity to walk the roads of Galilee with Jesus of Nazareth. We have all come to faith through another person—perhaps our parents, or a friend, or an inspiring preacher.

Although St. Luke never saw the Lord face-to-face, he also never used that as an excuse to be less of a disciple. Sometimes, we feel like the Apostles had an advantage. We think it would be easier to have faith if we could spend three years traveling around the Holy Land with our Lord, watching him perform miracles and healings. But Luke seemed not to consider himself at a disadvantage.

Luke accepted his call to be an Evangelist, writing icons and even a Gospel that became one of the four major means by which all of history would come to know Jesus Christ. We must do the same. We must become evangelists for those around us, testifying with joy to the faith we have in Christ.

Perhaps we may evangelize through the written word, or even through artistry, painting, or sculpture. St. Luke, pray for us!