The Diocese of Toledo today unveiled publicly for the first time the official portrait of the Most Reverend Leonard P. Blair, seventh Bishop of Toledo and current Archbishop of Hartford.
The framed portrait of Archbishop Blair will hang in the “Bishops’ Chapel” of Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral (2535 Collingwood Blvd., Toledo). The portrait will join the framed portraits in the Bishops’ Chapel of all other past bishops of the Diocese of Toledo.
Toledo artist Leslie Adams painted the portrait, her second in the Cathedral collection, having also authored the official portrait of Most Reverend James R. Hoffman, sixth Bishop of Toledo.
“This beautiful portrait is not so much about me personally, as it is about the ministry that was entrusted to me for 10 years as Bishop of Toledo,” Archbishop Blair said. “The portraits of the bishops in Toledo’s magnificent Cathedral are a fitting reminder of the unity and continuity of our Catholic Faith in a lineage going back to the Apostles. The fact that the artist, Leslie Adams, is from Toledo only adds to the significance of the portrait and its place in Toledo’s history.”
A native of Detroit, Archbishop Blair served as Bishop of Toledo from 2003-2013. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Detroit on June 26, 1976, following studies at Sacred Heart Seminary College, Detroit; the North American College, Rome; and the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. Archbishop Blair holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from Sacred Heart Seminary College; a Bachelor’s degree in Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) from the Pontifical Gregorian University; a Licentiate in Theology (S.T.L.) with a specialization in Patristics and the History of Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University; and a Doctorate in Theology (S.T.D.) from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), Rome.
“Today, we are celebrating Archbishop Blair’s legacy and his lasting role as seventh Bishop of Toledo,” Ms. Adams said. “While working alone in the Cathedral, or in my studio, I often considered the historical significance of this portrait. In the same way when I was privileged to portray the Most Reverend James R. Hoffman, my sincere hope is that it not only honors Archbishop Blair but also the legacy of all the bishops that preceded him.”
Ms. Adams is a product of Catholic education in the Diocese of Toledo as a graduate of Toledo St. Patrick of Heatherdowns School and McAuley High School. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from the University of Toledo and her Master’s degree in Fine Art from New York Academy of Art. As a professional artist, she is one of only 12 “Signature Status Members” of the Portrait Society of America and is an internationally recognized artist who specializes in narrative portraiture.
The portrait of Archbishop Blair was paid for by a generous anonymous donor, and no diocesan funds were expended for this purpose.
“I am delighted that this portrait, produced by such a notable local artist of our Diocese, becomes a treasure in the historical patrimony of the Diocese of Toledo,” said the Most Reverend Daniel E. Thomas, eighth Bishop of Toledo. “We are profoundly grateful to the anonymous donor, who came forward and provided the funding for this magnificent portrait. It is a welcome addition to the tradition of portraits in the Bishops’ Chapel at Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral, as well as a welcome addition to our community’s historical and artistic legacy.”
Posted April 11, 2016 at 1:31 pm