Contemporary Holy Family - Australian Catholics Magazine

Have you ever wondered how things might go for Mary and Joseph if they tried to enrol Jesus in a school today? 
This is a question I recently found myself pondering. The good folks at Australian Catholics Magazine asked me to create an illustration based on an article by Chiara Fankhauser. The article titled 'Contemporary Holy Family' is a refreshing re-imagining of how our Holy Family may journey today. Interpreting faith in artwork is something I feel passionate about. My reason for this is because it helps others to see how God is very much alive and active in our lives today. 

The finished artwork was created using a combination of hand drawn techniques and digital. View the final digital images below or watch the timelapse videos of digital vs hand-painted.  I hope the artwork and the full article below helps you to imagine God present in your life today...

The print edition of the Australian Catholics magazine was released late August 2019. The 'Contemporary Holy Family' article that includes my illustration below is also the featured article in the 'Catholic Teacher’ - View Article here. The Catholic Teacher e-newsletter is a wonderful free email full of inspiration.

Check out the Australian Catholics website for resources and subscribe there too.
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Read the full article:

Contemporary Holy Family (Australian Catholics Magazine)

​ “What do you mean Jesus can’t attend school here?” Mary demanded. She and Joseph sat on uncomfortable chairs across from an equally comfortable principal. The office was bland, and the fan was too loud above them. Mary glared at the red-faced man, with her arms crossed and her eyebrows raised.

“I just feel that he will feel like an outsider,” the principal explained, “most of the kids who attend this establishment, have… different sorts of families.” Principal Smith loosened his red tie, and let out a breath.

“Different?  What is that supposed to mean?” Joseph exclaimed.

“Well most of our students have two biological parents, and Joseph, you had a wife before Mary, and kids! Your step son”

“He’s my son!” Joseph corrected, “and my late wife, may she rest in peace, has nothing to do with this matter.”

“Your son will have a tough time explaining why his family is bit different to others, I mean, what is this going to look like on us? That we are just accepting anybody here?”

“Ha! There it is, this has nothing to do with Jesus not fitting in! This is all about what it will look like on you.” Mary was furious, “ come on Joseph, we will find a different school that is more accepting than this!”
 
“Mary!” Joseph whispered, “Principal Smith, let’s not be rash here, this is the best place for Jesus to get an education. Mary and I both agreed that we would work to give him the best opportunities… I truly believe he’s destined for greatness.”
 
“Well-” Principal Smith started.
“I believe,” Mary interrupted, “he will get the best education from somewhere that doesn’t discriminate based on family differences. That’s final!”
“Mary, dear...” Joseph picked up a photo on the principal’s desk, “We aren’t that different to the families at this school, Jesus has two parents as do the rest of the kids… what else does he really need?”
 
“A boy needs to know his natural father!” The principal plucked the photo from Joseph’s hand and inspected the photo of his family before returning it to his desk. “They’re just children, they don’t need to be exposed to the world yet.”
“Well, Mr Smith, when do you suppose is the right time then? Is it ever really the right time? We cannot shelter our kids from the world they live in, that is just reality. Most kids aren’t fortunate enough to have been wrapped in bubble-wrap, they had to learn about the world quickly. This generation isn’t like ours, and they’re children, not fools.” Joseph reasoned.
 
Mr smith retreated to the plant in the corner of the room, daintedly touching the leaves. He reached behind the plant and produced a watering can, and begun to tend to his plant. Seeing this as a form of dismissal, Mary and Joseph stood up and left the office. Outside, they watched from afar as Jesus played on the playground with the other kids as their parents watched on with pride. Jesus and the kids laughed and played, all unaware and uncaring that his family wasn’t like theirs.

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