This morning, Patrons’ Office staff gathered for an early celebration of All Souls’ Day, as tomorrow marks the feast day and thus a day off from work. The feast of All Souls’ Day has been a tradition in the Christian church for ages. Prayer for those who have gone before us has always been encouraged as an act of charity–Saint Augustine said, “If we had no care for the dead, we would not be in the habit of praying for them.” Prayer is a wonderful way to reverently remember loved ones who have passed away, those who may be physically gone but whose souls and legacies remain and are not forgotten. In keeping with the tradition of All Souls’ Day, our staff gathered together in prayer to commemorate all the faithful departed.
Check out the following photos of one very lucky Patron! Linda del Rio, a recently new member of the Colorado Chapter of the Patrons of the Arts, had a very special encounter with Pope Francis last week during a visit to the Vatican. Pope Francis was certainly happy to receive a signed Denver Broncos football from Linda on behalf of the team and her husband (who is the defensive coordinator). Sorry Kansas City Chiefs- but it looks like the Pope will be rooting for your rivals during the next game! Go Broncos!
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday greeted the “Patrons of the Arts” in the Vatican Museums. The group, which is dedicated to preserving the vast and unique collection of art housed in the Vatican Museums, was in Rome for the 30th anniversary of its founding.
In his address, the Holy Father thanked the Patrons for their “outstanding contribution to the restoration of numerous treasures of art preserved in the Vatican collections and to the broader religious, artistic and cultural mission of the Museums.”
Pope Francis said, “In every age the Church has called upon the arts to give expression to the beauty of her faith and to proclaim the Gospel message of the grandeur of God’s creation, the dignity of human beings made in his image and likeness, and the power of Christ’s death and resurrection to bring redemption and rebirth to a world touched by the tragedy of sin and death.” The Vatican Museums, he said, “make it possible for countless pilgrims and visitors to Rome to encounter this message through works of art which bear witness to the spiritual aspirations of humanity, the sublime mysteries of the Christian faith, and the quest of that supreme beauty which has its source and fulfillment in God.”
Pope Francis concluded his address with the prayer that the patronage of the arts would always be a sign of “interior participation in the spiritual life and mission of the Church” and “an expression of our hope in the coming of that Kingdom.”
Below, please find the full text of Pope Francis’ speech to the Patrons of the Arts of the Vatican Museums:
I am pleased to greet the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums on the occasion of this pilgrimage to Rome marking your thirtieth anniversary of foundation. Over the past three decades the Patrons have made an outstanding contribution to the restoration of numerous treasures of art preserved in the Vatican collections and to the broader religious, artistic and cultural mission of the Museums. For this I thank you most heartily.
The establishment of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums was inspired not only by a praiseworthy sense of stewardship for the Church’s heritage of sacred art, but also by the desire to advance the spiritual and religious ideals which led to the foundation of the papal collections. In every age the Church has called upon the arts to give expression to the beauty of her faith and to proclaim the Gospel message of the grandeur of God’s creation, the dignity of human beings made in his image and likeness, and the power of Christ’s death and resurrection to bring redemption and rebirth to a world touched by the tragedy of sin and death. The Vatican Museums, with their unique and rich history, make it possible for countless pilgrims and visitors to Rome to encounter this message through works of art which bear witness to the spiritual aspirations of humanity, the sublime mysteries of the Christian faith, and the quest of that supreme beauty which has its source and fulfillment in God.
Dear friends, may your patronage of the arts in the Vatican Museums always be a sign of your interior participation in the spiritual life and mission of the Church. May it also be an expression of our hope in the coming of that Kingdom whose beauty, harmony and peace are the expectation of every human heart and the inspiration of mankind’s highest artistic aspirations. To you, your families and associates, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of enduring joy and peace in the Lord.
Vatican City is abuzz with the Patrons 30th Anniversary events–many of which are unprecedented. Wednesday evening, Patrons were welcomed into the Giardinao Quadrato outside of the Pinacoteca by musicians, cocktails, appetizers and ice sculptures of Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam. Patrons had the opportunity to go on exclusive tours in the magically lit galleries. Thursday morning, Patrons went to the Synod Hall to attend a conference given by our top curators and Museum Direction followed by a restoration fair. In the evening, H.E. James Cardinal Harvey celebrated mass at St. Paul Outside the Walls and individually greeted each Patron in addition to welcoming Patrons to view the excavations under the basilica. This morning, Patrons were in the heart of the Apostolic Palace, greeted by members of the Secretary of State of Vatican City and had exclusive, behind-the-scenes tours of the rooms behind the Sistine Chapel.
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Get excited, everyone–the 30th Anniversary of the Patrons event is just a little over 48 hours away! Today, as one can image was a remarkably busy day. Papers were flying everywhere and the phones never seemed to stop ringing. This morning, Monsignor Terence Hogan, Fr. Kenneth Whittaker and Lorna Richardson (who the Patrons could not function without) came to help with the final preparations. As the Rome Staff and American Staff worked tirelessly away together today, all stress seemed to evaporate. What we were left with was an excited and eager energy. That’s right. We are ready. All our hard labor will not be wasted. This event will be an experience of a life time!
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Just as the Museums recognize Patrons of the Arts who have financed the restoration of a specific work of art, our office must also recognize the financial backing of the rejuvenation of this very website. The Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums extends sincere gratitude to J. Murray McCann and the McCann Foundation, whose generous benefaction has made this completely new, user-friendly, and beautifully designed website possible. When Mr. McCann came to visit the Vatican and Patrons Office with the Canadian Chapter of Patrons, he was very impressed with the creativity and energy of our small staff. In his patronage of this project, he expressed the desire to maximize and spread this energy through a web presence that could better reflect and share our mission as well as display our restoration accomplishments, progress, and needs, in a more accessible way. The office is so very appreciative of this generous donation; we have and will continue to work on this website, doing our best to effectively harness this same creative energy and apply it to the upkeep and continual success of www.vatican-patrons.org. Mr. McCann’s donation was made in loving memory of his late wife, Myrna McCann.
For those who are unable to attend the upcoming 30th Anniversary Event, follow us on twitter for live updates and photos, that way you can be just as much a part of this incredible experience!
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Recently, I stumbled upon the enormous keychain of the Vatican Museum Custodians. Wow! Their ability to select the correct key for each door and the efficiency in doing so, is unfathomable to me. I, who have three keys on my keychain, pathetically still have trouble getting into my own apartment. Props to them! Sometimes, I feel guilty when I have to pass through a door more than 6 times a day, however; I am always reassured by their kindness and politeness. It’s nice to receive a warm smile on mornings that are hardest to get out of bed. Despite the chaos they encounter with the thousands of visitors from around the world each day, they are always hospitable and respectful. The next time you are visiting the Museums, be sure to acknowledge them with a friendly “buongiorno” or “grazie” as I am sure they’ll appreciate it. -Giselle
On top of all the 30th Anniversary Prep, a commercial on Fr. Mark’s first book, Meditations on Vatican Art was filmed within the Vatican Museums. The advertisement will feature Fr. Mark in some of the most breathtaking and treasured galleries and rooms of the Vatican. What other commercial can top that?! Most importantly (and for the whole purpose of the ad) keep an eye out for his book which will be hitting the stands on November 1st.
As Secretary of our North American Office, Lorna is in charge of processing patron memberships, gathering and updating our Etapestry data, and helping to coordinate patron visits with the Rome Office. Please contact Lorna regarding any membership issues you may have.