Bishop opens exhibit for a noble cause

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PAGADIAN City, Oct. 30, 2013— A Catholic bishop has displayed his paintings to raise funds for the construction of a home for elderly priests in the Diocese of Pagadian.

The paintings of Pagadian Bishop Emmanuel Cabajar, a Redemptorist, will go on display until Nov. 26 in a showcase titled “A Missionary’s Art Journey 3” at the Bishop’s House in Pagadian City.

Aside from promoting arts appreciation, Cabajar said his exhibit aims to raise funds for the building of the Clergy House, “the envisioned home for our priests, especially the infirm and the elderly.

The proceeds, he said, will also be used to continue the construction of the unfinished Diocesan Pastoral Center.

“The exhibit is a result of joy and excitement to me,’ Cabajar said during the opening of his exhibit on October 26.

This is the third time that the bishop staged an exhibit. His previous exhibits were both held in Cebu City in 1998 and 2004.

He encouraged everyone “not just to view the paints as a possible nice decoration, not to view its financial values”, but to imbibe its significance, its essential and human values.

“The temperament and insights of the viewers make an art something more pleasant,” Cabajar said. “Beauty is not only in the eye of the beholder, but as well as its meaning.”

As a missionary, the 71-year old bishop added  that he had long been using painting as medium to proclaim the Good News.

In fact, many of his works depict mission scenes in many areas of Mindanao where he spent most of his missionary years.

“Since my early days of priestly formation, I have always been interested in finding beauty in God’s creation. Discovering the God-given gift of the visual art, I tried to develop it and put it to pastoral use,” said Cabajar.

“While others use words, I use figures and forms to communicate a message or an insight. Inspirations for these portraits sprung from the Word of God and my long missionary experience with people over the years,” he said.

Fr. Emy Maningo, also a Redemptorist missionary, described Cabajar, also known as “Manny” to his confreres, as “a missionary first and foremost who happens to be also an artist.”

He recalled that the bishop’s artistic skills and missionary spirit were already shown during their seminary days.

When he was in Rome at 22 to continue theological studies, he joined and won in the National Clerical Painting Contest involving seminarians from all over Ireland.“Manny discovered at this early stage of his missionary life how painting can be a powerful missionary tool, as well as an art in its own right,” Maningo said.

“Manny helped the other missionaries with his creative water color paintings as visual aids to our missionary message,” added Maningo.

‘His paintings are not just paintings; those are expressions of his missionary experiences, of his feelings, of his emotions,’ he said. [Faye Reyes]

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