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Young adult series to explore intersection of faith and art


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SAN DIEGO — The Diocese of San Diego has something beautiful in store for young adults this Advent season.

The diocesan Office for Young Adult Ministry, in collaboration with the Diocesan Institute, is hosting the “Beauty That Saves: Faith+Art Series.”

Presented by Pamela Poe, associate director of the Office for Young Adult Ministry, the free series will be held over three evenings, Dec. 1, 10 and 15, in the diocesan Pastoral Center’s chapel. Each session will run from 7-8:30 p.m.

Poe, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Art History and Criticism from the University of California, San Diego, will reflect on the major events of salvation history as depicted by Renaissance and Baroque artists, including Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Bernini and Fra Angelico.

All young adults, ages 18-39, are welcome to attend. Parish catechists and Catholic school teachers can earn continuing education credits.

The goal of the event is “to offer something beautiful for (young adults) to think about, to meditate on, to contemplate” during this “dark, confusing, anxious, isolating time” of pandemic, Poe said.

The first session, titled “In the Beginning,” will start with the story of Creation and encompass God’s dealings with Adam and Noah. The second installment, titled “Fathers, Prophets and Kings,” will look at the covenants that God made with Abraham, Moses and King David. The fulfillment of salvation history will be the theme of the final talk, “A New Covenant: Jesus.”

“Art is a passion of mine. I love to discuss and teach about the intersection of faith, art and culture,” said Poe, whose fascination with the subject began as a public high school student at a time when she was growing stronger in her Catholic faith.

“It was like God drawing my heart to Him through art,” she explained.

Since becoming the Office for Young Adult Ministry’s associate director in August 2017, Poe has found several opportunities to share her passion for art with the young adult population of the diocese, including through her office’s social media account as well as two recent talks she has given about Caravaggio’s painting “The Calling of St. Matthew.”

“Beauty That Saves” is one of the fruits of last year’s diocesan synod for young adults, which among other things generated a proposal for more faith-formation opportunities for young adults.

Patrick Rivera, director of the Office for Young Adult Ministry, said the upcoming series is intended to offer young adults something with “the gravitas” of an academic course, but without requiring such a large investment of their time.

“I hope a lot of the young adults take advantage of it,” said Gerardo Rojas, director of the Diocesan Institute.

Poe believes the event will be of interest to young adults because of its connection to the Advent season and its focus on beauty and art.

“I think we’re all seeking beauty,” she said. “We’re all seeking a way to reach God, and beauty has the power to do that for us, to kind of reach into us and lift us up to something bigger than ourselves.”

She would like “Beauty That Saves” to have a lasting impact on the young adults who attend. Through the upcoming series, she hopes “to help form a practice in our young adults to seek out beauty, to seek out beautiful pieces of art and allow those pieces of art to speak to us.”

Young adults must register for the event, whether they attend only one or all three nights.

For more information or to register, visit yamsd.org.

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