Sacred Art at St. Gabriel

Body of Christ ~ Communion of Saints

Dedicated June 21, 2017 

Representing a diverse group of saints, lay persons, clergy, and religious, the figures in the Body of Christ/Communion of Saints oil painting displayed outside of the St. Gabriel Chapel reflect the many ways we worship, serve, and grow in faith at St. Gabriel Church.  

Through the Eucharist, we participate in the “Body of Christ” and offer our unique gifts and vocations in gratitude and love.  We join with the “Communion of Saints” – the faithful here and those who have gone before us –in prayer and thanksgiving, united in Christ.

Facing the altar of the St. Gabriel Chapel, this artwork reminds us that we, the Body of Christ and Communion of Saints, gather at the Table of the Lord.   We offer our gifts and acts of love and mercy as an expression of our faith and gratitude.

Through Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy , we respond in love to our brother and sisters in need.  The saints, clergy, religious, and lay people depicted in Body of Christ/ Communion of Saints call to mind some of the many ways our parish seeks to meet the physical, material, spiritual, and emotional needs of our neighbors as we share in the Body of Christ.


Learn about those depicted in Body of Christ/Communion of Saints here


The Story Behind the Painting

Scripture reveals the many ways that images connect us with the Divine.   Sacred art created for St. Charles Borromeo Church in Morganton, NC provided a deep sense of that connection for our pastor, Fr. Frank O’Rourke.   He was inspired to consider a piece for St. Gabriel, noting that “there has always been a desire to provide artwork that inspires and calls forth faith.”

Through good friend and pastor Fr. Ken Whittington, Fr. Frank met Renaissance style artist Matthew Good.  His faith and great talent provided a way to transform inspiration into reality:  sacred art for St. Gabriel Church.

With input from our parish community, a vision for Body of Christ/ Communion of Saints came to life.   Among those participating were the St. Gabriel Artists Group and parishioner Paul Franz.   Paul’s response to Matthew Good’s work led him to offer to be the patron for this piece of sacred art, blessing our whole community.

A year and a half of fruitful collaboration resulted in this beautiful piece of sacred art, giving depth and meaning to our vision and inspiring faith.


Artist Matthew Good

The gifts of North Carolina artist Matthew Good are exemplified in the Body of Christ/ Communion of Saints oil painting, beautifully displayed outside of the St. Gabriel chapel. 

Matthew, whose home is in Hickory, brought to his creation a love for his Catholic faith and a passion for expression and discovery with color and line.  He used live models—members of St. Gabriel Church—to  accomplish his goal of presenting the figures in the painting not as disembodied heavenly beings, but as living, breathing persons on earth, fully engaged in the joys and sorrows of living their faith.

Matthew studied in the master apprentice tradition with Ben Long IV, learning master techniques in oil, as well as fresco and drafting.  His work is grounded in traditional renaissance style, often with a deeper darker pallet that reflects a youthful modernism in it's subject matter.  





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