Lenten Initiative Receives Vatican Support

Glasgow Diocese Enriches the Faith Through Art

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GLASGOW, Scotland, FEB. 21, 2012 (Zenit.org).- A Lenten arts project of the Archdiocese of Glasgow has received the official sanction of Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi of the Pontifical Council of Culture.

The project, entitled Lentfest, is an arts festival designed to provide a forum whereby artists can explore the faith through music, visual arts and theater. "In all of this," writes Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow, founder of Lentfest, "the Church proposes to a wide audience various aspects of the Christian message; a message which is one of liberation and beauty, of freedom and forgiveness of hope and redemption."

Cardinal Ravasi expressed his support for the project in an official letter to Archbishop Conti. "Indeed this essential encounter of faith and culture creates a continually renewing dialogue in which the treasures and insights of Christian experience purify and take on new shapes and forms in the changing cultural circumstances of our times, encouraging society to be centered on the dignity of each and every human person and their potential to flourish."

"This Pontifical Council of Culture," he continued, "has a unique viewpoint on the diverse experiences of Christian communities throughout the world as they engage with their own cultures, building on the longstanding traditions which have seen the Church involved in the joys and hopes, fears and anxieties of men and women in their cultures, as a sponsor and patron, as challenger and advocate, as friend and focal point for the light of the Gospel. Such has left the Church with the title 'creator of culture.'"

The event was launched at the University of Glasgow, the institution founded in 1451 by Pope Nicholas V. "It is essential that the Church be fully active and present," the cardinal continues, "affectively and effectively, in the life of universities, which are engaged in that common pursuit of truth, the vocation of every human being."

The highlight of this year's Lentfest will be an exhibition of the Stations of the Cross and Resurrection, as well as a traveling production of the Martyrdom of St. John Ogilvie. The event was officially launched today at Glasgow University Memorial Chapel. Present were Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Archbishop Mario Conti, artists Peter Howson and Richard Demarco, composer James MacMillan and many guests.