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The Vatican’s street art vignette for 3rd week of Lent

Maupal via Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development

© Maupal via Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development

J-P Mauro - published on 02/27/24

Italian street artist Maupal's illustrations for Pope Francis' 2024 Lenten message are being released weekly throughout the season.

The Vatican is continuing to release original Catholic art each week until Easter. Organized by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, each piece features Pope Francis taking part in activities related to the 2024 Lenten theme of his message: “Through the desert God leads us to freedom.

The artworks all come from the talented hand of Italian street artist, Maupal, or Mauro Pallotta. Muriel Fleury, head of communications for the dicastery, explained that Maupal was selected because of his previous street art featuring the Pope. She said that they hoped to “break away from a classical presentation” to give Christians a new perspective and broaden their horizons. 

The first week of Lent saw a painting of Pope Francis pushing a wheelbarrow bearing a sack labeled “faith” through the desert. The Pope has to be careful guiding the wheelbarrow’s way, as the narrow path is the only space in the desert not covered in pointy nails.

In the second week of Lent’s artwork, Pope Francis reached over a barbed-wired cement wall to rescue prisoners from captivity as they escaped by “fear” and “hate.”

The latest edition to this series of Lenten vignettes shows two migrant children playing soccer after making landfall, their life preserver still on the beach. Pope Francis holds up a green card as though he were a referee. Here, however, the artist melds the meaning of a green card in soccer – which is a minor penalty that does not prevent a player from further participation in the team’s next match – and its meaning to immigrants, identifying a person as a permanent resident of a new country and permitting them to work. In the background, a boat labeled “Fraternity” cheers the efforts of the Pope. 

On the dicastery webpage, the announcement of the new artwork points toward a passage of Pope Francis’ Lenten message, in which he reminds that the “love of God and love of neighbor are one love.” The Pope invites the faithful “to pause in the presence of God beside the flesh of our neighbor.”

ArtLentPope FrancisVatican
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