Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
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New vocations poster uses imagery ‘to inspire, invite, and intercede’
by Mitch Finley, Inland Register staff
(From the Jan. 18, 2007 edition of the Inland Register)
This newly-created poster promoting vocations to the priesthood is being displayed throughout Eastern Washington. (Courtesy of the Spokane Diocese Vocations Office)
Father Daniel Barnett, recently appointed Vocation Director for the Diocese of Spokane, knows the power of an image and a few words. He was touched and impressed by the widely published photo of five men – New York police, firefighters, and others – carrying the body of Franciscan Father Mychal Judge away from the World Trade Center disaster area. The power of the image stayed with him as he came to develop a new poster to promote vocations to the priesthood.
“The story,” Father Barnett said, “is that it’s the first of several print pieces that are going to be produced. The idea of having a poster is nothing new, of course, but one of the questions in approaching this was, ‘What is the poster for?’” The poster serves at least three different purposes, he said: “One is to inspire, one is to invite, and one is to intercede.”
The target of this new print campaign “is to simply put out there what is the essence of the priesthood,” said Father Barnett. “It seems that the essence is sacrifice, and Father Mychal Judge gave it all, right then, and that moment, Sept. 11, 2001, is a kind of defining moment for our generation.”
The photo, like other pieces of effective art, works to deliver a number of messages, on a number of different levels.
“One of the things that occurred to me is that we need to give to young people a bold statement of what the priesthood is about, and it has to say to our time how a young person can give his life in a good way,” he said. “At the same time, that photo is incredibly moving, it always has been. In my opinion, anyway, you see ordinary guys – one is an office worker, it looks like – carrying Father Mychal at a very difficult time in the nation’s history, (all of them) pulling together. That to me spoke about the priesthood.”
Father Barnett came up with the photo and basic layout idea, but the graphic design work was donated by a parishioner at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, Eric Grinstead of Tour Factory Virtual Tours. “Eric came up with the whole (Roman) collar motif,” Father Barnett said. “He came up with the motto at the top, too.”
This new poster may have an impact on more than potential priestly vocations, Father Barnett admits.
“Frankly, the priests have been a little bit on the defensive the last couple of years, and I think that it’s probably a good thing to say, ‘Yeah, you know what, you probably are going to get killed.’ That’s part of the deal. And yet, it’s a good life. That’s been the message that I hope will inspire young people to give it all. We’re not making the statement that priesthood is the only way of giving, but I think this did a lot to honor a guy who died well.”
According to Grinstead, “The concept for this poster came from Father Barnett. I basically helped him display the idea, and I wrote the saying at the top. I came up with the style and did all the graphics on it.”
No matter who gets the credit. At the heart of the effort, “It’s been an honor to help the diocese recruit good men,” said Grinstead.