Holy Name Parish to Welcome Inspiring Performance Painter


By Tony DeGol

Father Brian Warchola is always on a mission to invite new and interesting people to his parish to showcase their God-given talents.

Later this month, he will roll out the welcome mat for a picture-perfect visitor to Holy Name Parish in Ebensburg.

Mike Debus is a live art performance painter from Kansas City.

Debus’ talent caught the eye of Father Warchola when the pastor saw a YouTube video featuring Debus painting a portrait of Mother Teresa during a concert with Catholic musician Matt Maher.

“I thought to myself, that’s interesting,” Father explained. “That’s someone we might be able to bring to Holy Name, so I contacted him.”

When the two connected, Debus gladly accepted Father Warchola’s invitation to come to Ebensburg on January 31 for a private performance with the Holy Name School students and then a public performance and auction for adults that evening.

Debus studied art and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. With the exception of a short stint in the corporate world, he has been a full-time freelance artist working on portraits, murals, and commissioned work.

His career took a turn in 2008 when an acquaintance asked him to paint live on stage at a youth conference.

His promptly declined, but after some reflection, changed his tune.

“I wasn’t comfortable with my ‘no,’” Debus admitted. “There was something telling me I had to do this.”

He ultimately did, and with much success.

After similar opportunities in the months that followed, Debus began promoting himself as a performance painter in 2010 and has enjoyed a fulfilling career.

“As I look back, I felt like I have done very little, and God has opened so many doors for me,” Debus added.

Father Warchola hopes Debus’ visit will be uplifting for all.

“I want them to be inspired by his art work and to see someone to whom God gave beautiful talents,” he commented. “I also want them to be entertained and see someone they have maybe never seen before and maybe won’t get the opportunity to see in person again.”

Adults 21 and older from the parish and elsewhere are invited to the public performance on January 31 at 5:30 p.m. The gathering will also include an auction of Debus’ artwork as a fundraiser for the parish and school. Tickets for the evening performance, which includes food and beverages, are $25 each. Those interested are asked to call or visit the Holy Name rectory for reservations as soon as possible.

“This is just another opportunity for us to celebrate God’s work and celebrate the beauty of people’s talents in this world,” Father Warchola said.