Several people from the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland were among those who attended the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums leadership gathering Sept. 13-15 in Washington, D.C. Among the delegation from the Ohio Chapter were Lorraine Dodero, Denise Jasko and Father Dan Schlegel, chaplain to the Ohio patrons. Father Schlegel also is the secretary and vicar for clergy and religious for the Cleveland Diocese.
The festivities on Sept. 13 included a tour of the residence and offices for the Papal Nunciature, Archbishop Christophe Pierre. The following day, attendees learned of the hopes and dreams for preserving the great works of art in the Vatican Museums with a highlight on the works of art currently under restoration. Barbara Jatta, the first woman curator of the Vatican Museums, spoke about particular challenges facing the museum and the opportunities that exist for helping the Vatican preserve these masterpieces for years to come.
The Vatican Museums were founded under the patronage of Popes Clement XIV (1769-1774) and Pius VI (1775-1799). They are housed in what previously was a private residence and offices. Today, more than 7 million people visit the museums annually to view the art of Raphael, Carravaggio, Michelangelo and other world-renowned artists. Managing the huge crowds and creating a protective climate for tapestries, paintings and other precious works of art is a challenge for a museum that began as a private residence.
The work of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums is to financially support the work of restoration at the museums. In a 2018 address to the Patrons Pope Francis said, "Throughout history, art has been second only to life in bearing witness to the Lord…It connects the past, the present and the future. Christian art points us to the love that created us, to the mercy which saves us and to the hope that awaits us. Art represents a universal need because it is a source of harmony and peace, and it expresses the dimension of generosity." (Consistory Hall, Sept. 28, 2018)
The Ohio Chapter of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums has financed the restoration of the entrance to the museum, numerous tapestries and paintings, church décor and major works of art. To view these works or to learn more about membership in the organization, visit vaticanpatronsohio.org.