Guadalajara's Artful Lead-in to the Eucharistic Congress

Exhibition Highlights Pieces Long Kept in Churches and Convents

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GUADALAJARA, Mexico, OCT. 7, 2004 ( The most important exhibition of sacred art ever held in Guadalajara was opened Tuesday, in advance of the International Eucharistic Congress.

Cardinal Jozef Tomko, the papal delegate to the congress, was accompanied by Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, archbishop of Guadalajara, when he viewed the exhibition displaying 570 art pieces, which had been kept inside churches and convents for more than 400 years.

The exhibition, which gives an idea of the rich Catholic tradition of this area of western Mexico that gave rise to numerous martyrs, particularly during the 1926-’29 religious persecution of the «Cristeros,» was opened to the public on Wednesday at the Cabañas Cultural Institute.

About 1,500 people visited the exhibition with Cardinal Tomko, viewing displays in 28 halls of selected religious objects of churches, convents, and private collections of Jalisco, Aguascalientes, Guanajuato and Nayarit, the states with the largest number of Catholics in the country.

The exhibition, entitled «Take and Eat. Take and Drink,» took two years to organize, at a cost of about $4.1 million.

The entire display is some 2 kilometers long. Sofía González Luna, secretary of culture of Jalisco, said the exhibition is something «never before seen in history,» as many of the pieces on display were restored, specifically to be exhibited to the public and to participants of the International Eucharistic Congress, which begins Sunday.

The exhibition will be open to the public until Dec. 5.

Cardinal Sandoval stressed the importance of the event, «as the majority of the people do not know what we have, ignore the very great artistic values left to us by our elders, which at times we have destroyed, stoned, squandered or neglected.»

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