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The pope will meet Denzel Washington, J Balvin, and other famous artists

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Antoine Mekary | Aleteia - lev radin | Shutterstock

Inma Alvarez - published on 08/30/22

Aleteia spoke with Luis Quinelli, the organizer of Vitae Summit 2022.

Tomorrow, Pope Francis will meet a group of 25 artists from all over the world in a private audience, to discuss beauty and the possibility of a more hospitable culture. This could be the first of a series of meetings, according to Luis Quinelli, who oversees the organization of the event.

The guest list includes the actors Denzel Washington and his wife Pauletta; Eduardo Verástegui, The Chosen’s Jonathan Roumie; Jessica and David Oweloyo, Edwina Findley, Patricia Heaton, and Hayley Atwell, alongside film directors and producers Darius Marder (Sound of Metal), Pete Docter (Inside Out), Isaac Chung (Munyurangabo), Dan Lin (the producer for the LEGO movies). Singers Marcus Mumford, Alexander Acha, Andrea Bocelli, J Balvin, Alessia Cara, the composer Bull Nene, the pianist Julio Reyes Copello and the writer Alejandro Roemmers will also join the meeting.

The meeting starts on Wednesday, August 31, at the Vatican Museums, with a private visit and a moment to share some reflections in the Sistine Chapel, followed by dinner. On Thursday, September 1, the pope will sit at the table in the Academy of Sciences, in a private dialogue with the invited artists. The conclusions of this dialogue will be publicly shared.  

The power of conversation

“This is not an exclusively Catholic event. We have invited artists from a variety of backgrounds,” Luis Quinelli told Aleteia. Quinelli leads the Vitae Global Foundation, which is supported, among other personalities, by Pope Francis himself and Queen Sofía of Spain.

The event aims “starting a conversation on how to overcome polarization and the conflicts that we are all suffering. Media, the entertainment industry, the arts – they all have a lot to do with it. They have a great influence on people’s minds, hearts, and souls. Art and spirituality go hand in hand […] So we came up with an idea: what if we bring some famous artists and world celebrities together with the pope, to think about how to develop high-impact projects that can positively transform culture?”

 “We have gradually lost the ability to sit at a table with totally different people, to give us the opportunity to get to know each other and understand our different realities,” Quinelli added. “Finding our commonalities, we come to realize that a shared world is possible. By developing those commonalities, we can then make a better world.”

Quinelli concluded: “These last few years have been hard. We faced a pandemic, and we are still dealing with its consequences. Circumstances have hit us hard, but we can perhaps change things by getting a conversation started. And that is what this event is about.”

[Update: Certain of those artists anticipated for the meeting were unable to attend in the end, including Denzel Washington. Read about how the meeting went, and the Pope’s message, here.]

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