The creative arts help proclaim the gospel, explore the mysteries of Christian faith and reflect the quest for the “supreme beauty” found in God, Pope Francis has 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,” said Pope Francis on Oct. 19 at the Vatican.
His comments came in a private audience to the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums, an international organization dedicated to preserving and restoring the Vatican’s vast collection of art. The Pope assured them that their contributions have helped to give witness to the gospel message.
He noted that Rome’s “countless” pilgrims and visitors can encounter the Gospel message through the art that is found in the Vatican Museums.
The pieces there “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 explained.
The Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums was founded three decades ago in order to support the work of the Vatican Museums in preserving and restoring the many treasures of art from the centuries.
Pope Francis said the organization’s founding 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.”
“Dear friends,” he continued, “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,” the Pope added.
He concluded by imparting his apostolic blessing “as a pledge of enduring joy and peace in the Lord.”
The Pontiff then took time at the close of the private audience to greet each of the more than 350 patrons and staff members present.
Vatican Museum patrons from the around the world have gathered in Rome this week for their 30th anniversary event, which includes special tours of museum galleries, a conference with museum curators, and a restoration fair.
The organization hosts chapters throughout the United States and Canada, as well as several European nations such as Belgium, France, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. It also sponsors several art restoration projects.
More information about the patron organization can be found on its website, www.vatican-patrons.org.
Originally published at Catholic News Agency on 19 October 2013. Used with permission. All other rights reserved.