This is the second part of a three part series with Jamie Medeiros, an artist whose parish is in Tiverton, Rhode Island, and Deacon Tom Lambert, a Permanent Deacon within the Diocese of Chicago, and whose parish is Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Chicago, Illinois.
Please be sure to read Part One of this two part interview in order to obtain a complete understanding of what the Lambert/Medeiros model of prayer and the creation of art is trying to accomplish. It is a model easily applicable to any Christian parish, within any Christian denomination, in the world.
The Interview: continued…
5) Is there any specific format that you use – such as – do you gather after Sunday Mass, do you say specific prayers together, or do you say prayers in individual meditation? Are all the participants Catholic?
Jamie: We begin in the church with some music (to help us transition from our busy days to awareness of God’s presence) and a brief reflection or guided meditation (usually a quote from Scripture or contemplative reading, followed by questions to think about). We then begin our hour of prayerful creation. We each go to an area of the church we are drawn to and create for an hour. As we create, we let the images, questions, and movements guide us in our conversation with God. Sometimes getting in the creating “zone” helps us rest in His presence. After one hour of prayerful creation, we meet in the front of the church and discuss our prayers (if we feel comfortable doing so). Everyone places their artwork out for others to see and each of us explains what was going on, what we were thinking about, how it lead us to our results, etc. There is a closing prayer.
Not all participants are Catholic, but all are Christian.
Deacon Tom: [He answered the format question in the previous post]. It is a parish ministry offered for members of our parish. We do occasionally get non-parishioners.
6) Does the “create” side of the session happen simultaneously with your prayer, or have you divided it – such as 10 minutes for prayer, 50 minutes for “create” after the communal or individual prayer session? Or do the participants desire for it to happen spontaneously? What types of art are being produced: sketches, paintings, literary, etc. Have you ever had any formal or informal showings of the art that has been produced? Would your parish be open to displaying the art produced?
Jamie: For Oro et Creo, the prayer IS the creation (the Benedictines use the motto Ora et Labora – Pray and Work, we use Oro et Creo – I Pray – I Create, because creating can be prayer). Our format is basically– an opening prayer, one hour of prayerful creation, and a closing prayer. The opening prayer varies in length depending on what reflection I find for the week (usually having to do with current liturgical season, daily readings, or creation [the creative process]).
The type of art that is being produced are drawings, paintings, poetry, photography, and mixes of all of these. We have not had any exhibition of works yet. We have talked about it. I’m sure our parish would be open to it.
We definitely want to make sure that the practice remains prayerful and that participants are not pressured toward “perfection” of a work because others will see it, but it remains a space for a deep listening and responding to God’s voice.
Deacon Tom: [See previous post, question # 3]. We haven’t had any formal showings of the participants artwork. We have talked about the possibility of displaying the art but most are content to do this as a form of personal prayer
7) Do you have any guidelines that would be important for other parishes within the Diocese or other Dioceses around the world to be conscious of so that it would develop with the minimum number of personal or organizational potholes?
Deacon Tom: We are open to movement of the Spirit and the priority of art as a prayer experience. Silence [during the creative moments] is an important aspect [of what we are doing].
Jamie: I second what Deacon Tom said, “We are open to movement of the Spirit and the priority of art as a prayer experience.” Silence is an important aspect [of the creative moment].
8) Would you mind having people contact you – through your blog or email – about the process?
Deacon Tom: People can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Deacon Tom Lambert Our Lady of Mt Carmel Parish 708 W Belmont, Chicago, IL 60657 773-525-0453 x 21.
In the third and last post of this series I will offer a personal reflection on what they have accomplished.
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