Artist Lourdes Burgos (from left), Pius XI High School Principal Ryan Kreinke and David Passinault display some of the Faith Flags Passinault has created. (Submitted photo)
Many individuals fly the American flag, Wisconsin State flag, political flags or their favorite college or professional sports’ teams.
As a testament of his faith, David Passinault, a St. Matthias Parish member and catechist, often displays a Christmas or Easter flag on a pole outside his home.
“You can see when people fly a Bucks flag or a Marquette flag, that they are passionate about those teams. It made me wonder,” Passinault said. “People go right to Christmas but can overlook the beautiful season of Advent. The same with Lent. Lent is such a great reminder of God’s love and forgiveness.”
At beginning of the pandemic, Passinault, who works as a physical therapist, began searching for flags to fly during the liturgical seasons but was unable to find anything.
“I found myself with more free time to practice listening to the Holy Spirit,” Passinault said. “As a way of dealing with anxiety while working in the healthcare field during the pandemic, I turned to art as an outlet. I began sketching the five flags of the Liturgical Seasons of the Church. I wanted to give people a refreshing alternative to the political flags and yard signs seen during the 2020 election year. This is how Faith Flags were born.”
The father of three Pius XI graduates and one current Pius XI student, he turned to the school’s highly acclaimed art department for help in designing the flags. His children had taken classes in the school’s art department, and he admired the program. He reached out to Cathy Burnett, chair of the art department, to see if a student might help him bring his idea to fruition.
“I was introduced to senior student Lourdes Burgos, who excels in digital art. Lourdes used her computer to create these beautiful images,” Passinault said. “We sent them to the Flag Center in Wauwatosa, who then transferred her artwork into these beautiful flags.”
Reaction to the colorful 3-foot-by-5-foot, double-sided Faith Flags, which depict Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time, Lent and Easter, have been largely positive, Passinault said. He added that most are impressed with Jesus and the Holy Family depicting a darker and more accurate skin tone.
“The diversity of the faces of the Ordinary Time flag is my favorite of Lourdes’ creative ideas,” Passinault said. “It is a beautiful representation of our Universal Catholic Church.”
For Burgos, it was the perfect opportunity to branch out from her school art classes into something more significant, giving her a taste of what a profession as an artist could bring.
“I want to study illustration,” Burgos said. “It was a cool experience to take his ideas and see them produced.”
So far, the flags are selling well. St. Matthias purchased a new flagpole to showcase the flags and make the parish appear more inviting and welcoming.
“Other schools are buying them,” Passinault said. “St. Francis Hospital, my place of employment, purchased a set of these flags. Many people are choosing to evangelize their neighborhoods by flying them from their homes.”
Passinault and his wife Kathy have friends and family in Michigan and Wisconsin flying the flags. They hope to branch out to other states and countries as the business grows.
Passinault finds flags to be a great testament of faith and a way to share with others.
“To me, flags are naturally moving billboards and are a great way for Christians to evangelize. When the wind catches them, they draw our eyes to the beautiful message of Jesus Christ,” Passinault said. “My encouragement is this: listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, and he will move you in amazing ways.”
To purchase an individual flag or complete set of Faith Flags, visit: Facebook.com/davidsfaithflags or email Passinault at firstname.lastname@example.org.