Catholic Vancouver Jul 10, 2017

Precious Blood Parish art marks Fatima's centenary

By Agnieszka Krawczynski

Paintings of Our Lady of the Precious Blood and an angel adoring the Blessed Sacrament are now at Precious Blood Parish in Surrey. (Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic)

SURREY—The pastor of Precious Blood Parish is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima with two new paintings.

“I personally have a strong devotion,” Father Anthony Ho told The B.C. Catholic.

Two acrylic paintings were hung on the wall behind the altar this spring. One features Our Lady of the Precious Blood, and the other an angel adoring the Blessed Sacrament, as seen in the Fatima apparitions.

“It’s a good reminder of the reality of the holy. When we are in church, when we are at Mass, we are adoring with the angel. It is reminding us that we should be prayerful in church.”

Father Ho, pastor for the last five years, was recently assigned to St. John the Apostle in Vancouver starting in July and sees the art as something of a parting gift to his Cloverdale parishioners.

The images add beauty and a sense of reverence to the church. — Father Anthony Ho

The images add beauty and a sense of reverence to the church, he said. “The angel gives a good inspiration about devotion to the Precious Blood.”

Both prominent art pieces were done by local artist and parishioner Theresa Laturnus. She has a passion for religious art and her depictions of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the apparitions at Fatima, the Crucifixion, the Agony in the Garden, the Resurrection, creation, and Divine Mercy have all decorated Precious Blood church.

“I once found a lady alone in the church, crying her eyes out in front of a charcoal drawing that I had done on felt of the Divine Mercy face of Jesus,” the artist said.

“She said when she looked into the eyes in the painting, she felt all the sorrow of her life flood out of her because she suddenly felt so loved. That is what I hope people will experience when they look at them.”

Laturnus takes religious art seriously. She often mixes holy water into her paints and spends extra time on important details, like the pattern in Our Lady of Guadalupe’s gown.

“Precious Blood church has enormous white walls with nothing on them and I am the type of person that needs art and colour, flowers, beauty surrounding me,” she said.

The latest pieces, four feet by four feet, convey a profound message. “When I see Mary holding Jesus, who is focusing on the chalice of the suffering he will have to undergo, then my eye follows across to the crucified Christ hanging on the cross, devoid of any colour, hanging in death, to the colourful angel adoring and facing the cross – it helps me let go of the world and focus on the complete sacrifice of Our Lord and Mary’s peaceful acceptance and blessing as she gazes down upon the congregation.”

Laturnus also sees painting as therapy. She started working on the Agony in the Garden around the time she was diagnosed with cancer in 2001.

“I didn’t have the energy to work on it during chemo and radiation and I would just stand and look at it perched on my dining room buffet with the sun shining on it,” she said.

“The angel in the painting looks very much like my daughter and actually its face reflects the peaceful nature of her personality. I always feel at peace when I look at it.”

She hopes Precious Blood parishioners feel the same. The painting of the angel “shows the angel worshipping the host and chalice, which is appropriate for a parish named after the precious blood of Jesus. There is a look of total peace on the angel’s face.”