Mercy Minutes #41 (Holy Week series)

We have completed the series of 14 questions from Bishop Kettler’s pastoral letter. As we enter into Holy Week, additional reflections will be shared through Easter Sunday. This is the first in the Holy Week series.

Barb Simon-Johnson, graphic designer for the Diocese of St. Cloud Communications Office, reflects on the way a piece of art enhances her journey toward Easter.


Lamentation of Christ
Andrea Mantegna
c. 1480
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

As Holy week begins, I selected a piece of artwork that represents my Easter journey. I looked back on many of the great artists and was immediately drawn to this representation of Christ’s death by Andrea Mantegna. This specific piece of artwork impacts me on multiple levels.

I am captured by the realism of his interpretation and powerful perspective he demonstrated of this historic event. Not only was the perspective element ground breaking for his era; it pulls the viewer into the suffering and emotional trauma. Secondly, I am drawn into this moment of mourning, as if I was at Christ’s feet alongside of His mother, the Virgin Mary, looking at His lifeless body. I join the grief-stricken St. John becoming integral part of this tragic heartache. Thirdly, I feel a strong spirit of compassion as I am compelled to console them for their loss and yet it is my loss as well.

We are called through Bishop Kettler’s pastoral letter, “ Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful,” to provide corporal and spiritual works of mercy. This painting summons me to comfort the sorrowful around us, to listen, be present and support one another. As we walk through this Holy Week, we experience Christ’s suffering, death and ultimately, his resurrection. Each year, our Easter journey brings us closer to God’s love and mercy.

Though this painting is a poignant depiction of the sorrow and consolation of Christ’s death, I am reminded that all of this was done for us and is evident in his glorious resurrection on Easter Sunday.