Presentation of the "Retreat for artists" by Bishop Wojtyla
In the hall at St. Stanislaus (Bishop and Martyr) church in Rome on 24th February, the book "The Gospel and Art. Retreat for artists" was presented. It describes the Lenten reflections, delivered by Bishop Karol Wojtyla in April 1962 in Holy Cross church in Cracow.
The editor of the new publication, Fr.Andrzej Dobrzynski, gave an explanation of the contents. He emphasized that the aim of the five retreat lessons was to show that the beauty of the Gospel reveals the full truth about man and is associated with the development of his goodness.
Beauty is developing not only when it is extracted and expressed by the artist in a particular work of art, but also when it is personally experienced in moral and spiritual struggles. ‘The greatest talent received from God is our humanity’, Bishop Wojtyla taught.
Prof. Wladyslaw Pluta of the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, who designed the book, presented an unusual way of presenting the retreat. Among others, the arrangement of the columns of the text utilizes the medieval numerical parameters of L. Fibonacci, typeface, paper, and the choice of two different, appropriate covers. The foreword by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, and the introduction by Prof. Jacek Popiel from the Jagiellonian University are added to the issue. They show the origins of many of the thoughts and references of Bishop Wojtyla which we find in the text of the retreat. The release of the book is under the honorary patronage of the rectors of the art schools in Krakow.
Włodzimierz Rędzioch, editor at "L'Osservatore Romano" and the weekly "Niedziela", presented John Paul II's relations with artists, recalling also the interest in art of Paul VI and Benedict XVI. He pointed out that John Paul II was interested primarily in theological and spiritual aspects of art, which can be seen in the text of the retreat for artists.
Listening to the recitation of passages of the retreat performed by Laura and Maria Walis, with guitar accompaniment by Filip Walis, the attendees could see that the considerations of Bishop Wojtyla are continuing to emanate freshness and depth of thought despite the passing of fifty years since the day they were delivered.
The presentation was organized by the Centre for Research and Documentation of the Pontificate of John Paul II in Rome and the John Paul II Institute for Intercultural Dialogue in Krakow – publishers of the book.
Rev. Andrzej Dobrzyński