19-October-2013 -- Vatican Information Service |

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Vatican City, 19 October 2013 (VIS) - This morning, in the Sala Clementina of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father received in audience the Patrons of the Arts of the Vatican Museums, an international community of benefactors who "adopt" and finance projects for the conservation, restoration and promotion of the Museums' treasures, and who met in Rome from 15 to 20 October to celebrate their thirtieth anniversary. The Pope praised their work over the last three decades, in which they have contributed, amongst other things, to the "broader religious, artistic and cultural mission of the Museums", mentioning in his welcome address that the founding of the Patrons of the Arts of 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".

He continued, "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 fulfilment in God".

The Pontiff, before imparting his apostolic blessing, encouraged the Patrons to experience their patronage of the arts in the Vatican Museums as "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".

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