My most recent wood sculpture, carved through the period of the hurricanes Irma and MARIA. Approximately 3 feet high, carved in Tropical Cedar because of the desired color and its resistance to termites here in Puerto Rico. For Capilla Maria Auxiliadora, a small chapel in rural Carolina, Puerto Rico.
I’ve carved St. Joseph as a protector and a traveler; a stand-up guy who was always looking out for his wife and child, ready to defend them along the way of life which was full of dangers. He was a man of deep Faith who received his revelations through DREAMS: that Mary was the mother of God and that he should get out of Bethlehem and go to Egypt to escape the danger of Herod who wanted to kill the newborn King. Of course, we know he was a carpenter and must have been a wonderful father.
This Saturday April 29th we celebrate the 16th anniversary of “Blessed Charlie’s” Beatification by His Holiness St. John Paul II.
One more miracle will qualify him for Sainthood.
In 2001 I was deeply honored and humbled to be commissioned by the archbishop of San Juan, Monsignor Roberto González Nieves, to paint the official portrait of Blessed Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, to be given as a gift from Puerto Rico to the Pontifical North American College in Vatican City where it is exhibited in the Hall of Saints.
I was subsequently interviewed by EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network)
At the core of Blessed Carlos’ spirituality (Pope John Paul II said) was his faith in the Resurrection. He promoted the Easter Vigil as the defining moment of Christian spiritual life, repeating often, “We live for that Night.” (Vivimos para esa Noche)
Commissioned by the Archbishop of San Juan, S.E.R. Monseñor Roberto González Nieves for the arch above the main doors of Catedral San Juan Bautista in San Juan, Puerto Rico to commemorate Pope Francis’ declared Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy 2015-2016.
Our Merciful Christ opens the Doors of Mercy and Forgiveness to all who pass through them with repentant hearts.
The waves bow down to our Lord as when He calmed the Sea of Galilee, also representing the Island of Puerto Rico as well as Earth “Our Common Home“, an Island in the vast darkness and empty space of the endless universe which surrounds us.
The Doors open onto the paradise that is Heaven, the reward of all the faithful and repentant souls.
In response to our Holy Father Pope Francis’ call to dialog and action on Climate Change in his Encyclical Laudato Si’ On Care for Our Common Home, published in 2015, I offer this metaphorical painting, On Earth as it is in Heaven, as a visual prayer to raise consciousness and to encourage dialog.
The title of the painting “On Earth as it is in Heaven” is taken from the prayer Jesus taught us. That is, the Lord’s Prayer, Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done, On Earth as it is in Heaven.
The painting is rhetorical in concept and presents us with only two possibilities.
One in harmony with God’s Creation. In other words, a future of justice, peace and sustainability in the natural world. Conversely, the other of plunder, chaos, and endless war. Subsequently, an ultimate collapse of nature and life on our planet home as we know it.
Moreover, the painting asks a question of the viewer, each one of us, whatever our religion or beliefs. Which future do we want to live in, leave to our children and future generations?
When Jesus was resurrected, becoming for us The Christ, in that moment the world was changed for his believers forever! Earth burst into blossom. Earth glowed with light in the deep dark night of time. Everything, all creation was illuminated with divine light, hope.
The intense color is meant to bring this miraculous change into our consciousness. The colors are super infused with hue. Each color becomes the heightened essence of itself. To the uninformed eye these “stained glass” windows on the Resurrection might look fantasia-like. They’re meant to be however, simple in form and basic in color.
The figures show emotion in their gestures, their exaggerated movements. This is to show that reality was turned on its head.
Something so unbelievable had occurred that it changed consciousness forever. The world became full of hope, full of meaning because death had lost its power, its grip on humanity. Hallelujah! He has risen!
These 14 Stations of the Resurrection (Via Lucis) adorn the upper reaches of the nave of Capilla San Juan Bosco in Orocovis (Barrio Gato), Puerto Rico. They were commissioned by Padre Jorge Santiago Cartagena, SDB. Twelve similar windows were also commissioned by Padre Jose Luis Gómez, SDB for the church San Juan Bosco in Villa Palmeras, San Juan.
In 1998 Father Sabino Palumbieri, Salesian priest and professor of theological anthropology in Rome, “proposed the creation of a new set of stations [to complement the Stations of the Cross] centered upon the resurrection and the events following it so as to emphasize the positive hopeful aspect of the Christian story which, though not absent from the Stations of the Cross, is obscured by their emphasis upon suffering. The first major public celebration of this devotion was in 1990…”
It was officially sanctioned by the Vatican in 2001. (From Wikipedia-“Stations of the Resurrection”)
EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) will be airing an interview on March 5, 2015 with A.Vonn Hartung about Blessed Carlos Manuel Rodríguez Santiago, and Vonn’s experience painting the portrait that is at the Vatican.
THE CHURCH IN PUERTO RICO (30 minute duration) Thursday March 5 at 3:00 am & 6:30 pm Eastern Time [Puerto Rico time: 4:00 am and 7:30 pm]
The first 15 minutes of the program is a conversion story about a young man who turned his life around and is now studying for the priesthood; the second part is the interview with Vonn.
The EWTN program can be seen on–
Liberty Cablevision Channel 103 ( in Puerto Rico)
Dish Network Channel 261
DirecTV Channel 350
St. Francis lived in the Holy Spirit. In a Gothic arch, a sign of the times in which he lived, St. Francis stands among the fallen and broken timbers of the abandoned San Damiano Church, scattered building blocks at his feet and the Cross of Damiano above, surrounded by his beloved birds and animals: the doves, songbirds, the lamb and the wolf symbolizing peace and harmony… the wolf tamed and throating harmony to Francis’ melody played on his lute and sung as Prayer.