Diocese of Portsmouth

    New icon hopes to draw people in

    16 Oct. 2023

    A LEIGH PARK artist has created a new religious painting which has been unveiled at her local church. 

    Pat Killoran – a member of the church family at St Francis, Leigh Park – painted an icon of St Francis which was unveiled during the service that celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of the church building.

    The celebration service, which fell on St Francis’ Sunday, featured the debut of the icon which is a religious painting. Br Hugh SSF, a Franciscan brother from Hilfield Friary, also spoke to the church which was full of the Leigh Park congregation and community.

    Brother Hugh SSF stands beside the new icon.
    Brother Hugh SSF stands beside the new icon.

    Pat Killoran was invited by the PCC in the summer to create the work. Over the next few months she then created the image of St Francis at prayer for the diamond celebrations of the current church building.

    The Rev Jonathan Jeffery, the vicar of St Francis, Leigh Park, said, “The icon is a very striking image. St Francis kneels, overshadowed by the Risen Jesus who, in turn, is overshadowed by the empty cross as a sign of God’s love. The scene is framed by a natural heart shape and a dove sits on the cross to remind us of the Holy Spirit at work in Creation.”

    The painting of St Francis
    The painting of St Francis

    Artist Pat Killoran said of her inspiration: “I was struck by author Richard Rohr’s words, ‘I am who I am, and it is enough’ telling us to let go of ‘ego’. St Francis had to overcome his ego to come to Christ. That is why I have shown him with bandaged hands and his begging bowl close at hand. It is fundamental that we come to Jesus empty of ego, so He may fill us and use us.

    “I hope the icon will draw others in, to remind them of God’s Love and to show that Creation never stops; we are all part of God’s story. St Francis himself said, ‘Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words.’”

    The community at St Francis, Leigh Park hope the icon will help others to pray and remind them of the life and example of St Francis.

    St Francis Church, Leigh Park

    Riders Lane, Leigh Park, Leigh Park, PO9 4QJ

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