Dear Friends,

Let me begin by wishing all of my readers a very blessed, joyful, and healthy New Year: A.D. 2019.

On a recent automobile journey across the State of New Mexico, I was able to acquire several pieces of artwork for the Marial Museum of Sacred Art. I would like to take the opportunity of this electronic page to speak about one of them, a sand painting by Navajo artist, Johnny Benally, entitled Male Yei.

The Male Yei is a spiritual figure in the indigenous religion of the Navajo people. The term yei owes its provenance to the Navajo word yeibicheii which designates the Holy People, The yei figure is represented in typical Navajo iconography as a masked dancer participating in a healing ceremony. There are a number of divinities in the Navajo cosmology known as yei. This spirit, or to use a corresponding term in Latin, this genius, mediates between the Great Spirit and man, very often in the context of a healing ceremony.

This is the first piece of non-Christian sacred art to enter the Museum collection. It is a very honored member of our collection, not only because of its ancient and intricate spirituality, but because of its many convergences with our own Christian spirituality: a welcome proximity to nature (the divine miracle of Creation, of which man in Christian thought, is meant to be the steward), the power of healing (a gift of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which He transmitted to the holy Apostles), a complex liturgy, (one deeply rooted in the culture of the believers), and finally the concept of mediation between God and mankind, which is at the heart of the ministry of Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mediatrix of all Graces, loving Mother of all God's children on earth.

Convergence is one of the key words in the spirituality and philosophy of the Marial Museum of Sacred Art. At a time when division, hatred, and violence are rampant and omnipresent, our humble sand painting provides a clear and certain testimony to the basic unity and sense of fraternal love and friendship which ought to govern all relationships between individuals, between nations, and between religions.

+Bishop H.W. Michael TAJRA, osmv.