At Florence we visited the Duomo, which is the second largest church in Christendom, and we were given the privilege to celebrate mass at the side chapel of the Madonna. Fr. Eric Nielsen is distributing Holy Communion. Fr. John Baker (background) gave the first homily of our trip here in this chapel. The outside of the Duomo is covered in beautiful green, red, white, and yellow marble. The inside is more austere mostly granite. It was a practice of Cistercian monks to decorate their chapels sparsely so as not to distract one from prayer. The dome of this cathedral is very ornately painted with a scene of the Last Judgment with Heaven and Hell.
Our guide in Florence was an Irishman named Dony (short for Donnell) MacManus. He showed us his Beato Angelico art studio, which he founded in order to re-establish the making of sacred art for religious use. He focuses a lot on the masters such as Michaelangelo, Raphael and Bernini. We learned that the body has a language and great artists know how to use the body in art to convey a message. Beautiful art expresses the goodness of the human body and the greatness of God. We discussed how the current misunderstanding of the body and human sexuality (mostly due to the separation of the mind from the body) leads to a modern art that is formless or perverted.
-Photos and text submitted by seminarian Ryan O’Neill