Artist brings interior radiance to global stage in painting for World Meeting of Families

Neilson Carlin works in his studio in April

Neilson Carlin works in his studio in April

Neilson Carlin is pretty sure that he will soon have the opportunity to cross something off of his aesthetic bucket list: having the pope see one of his paintings.

“That’s obviously a dream come true for someone like me, who has devoted his entire career to serving the Catholic church,” said the Kennett Square, Pa.-based painter.

Anytime he has the opportunity to create art for a parish, it is a blessing, Carlin said, but he never contemplated the idea that “the Holy Father of the entire global Catholic church” would see his art. “As much as I’d hoped for it,” he said, “what’s the reality? I certainly didn’t think that would be the case.”

Pope Francis will see Carlin’s work in person if, as is speculated, he attends the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, planned for Sept. 22-27, 2015. Carlin is the commissioned artist, and his painting of the Holy Family will be on view at the meeting.

But even if the meeting can’t get on the pope’s busy schedule, Carlin says that Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput is bringing a digital version of his painting to present to Francis. “So if he hasn’t seen it yet, I’m sure that very shortly he will,” Carlin said.

Read more of my article “Artist brings interior radiance to global stage in painting for World Meeting of Families” in National Catholic Reporter.

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