This past weekend, the Leaders from all twenty-six Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums chapters convened in Rome for the 35th Anniversary of the Patrons Organization. The meeting began on Thursday and concluded on Sunday evening.
After many weeks and months of preparations, the Patrons staff welcomed the Leaders to Villa Grazioli in Castel Gandolfo on Thursday. On Friday morning, the Leaders and staff traveled by bus to Vatican City for a full day of activities.
The morning began with a tour of Redemptoris Mater, the Pope’s private chapel in the Apostolic Palace. Next, the Patrons had a private Audience with His Holiness, Pope Francis.
Francis spoke for about five minutes on the importance of preserving and promoting art as a means of living out our faith.
Every member in attendance was able to greet and shake hands with the Holy Father, so it was a true blessing to meet him. After a delicious lunch at the Casina Pio IV in the Vatican Gardens, Dr. Barbara Jatta spoke on behalf of the restoration labs. She shared her vision and expectations for the Patrons by stating some of the needs of the Wishbook.
Saturday was held entirely at the Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo. The morning sessions, led by Fr. Kevin Lixey and members of the staff, overviewed the mission and identity of the Patrons. They discussed a new Patrons logo, new website templates, and an overall goal of greater consistency between the Rome office and the chapters.
The highlight of the afternoon session was a presentation of Salesforce, a new database system used for communication and event planning. After the sessions, there was a lovely dinner at Villa Grazioli. The Leaders showed their gratitude toward Fr. Kevin, the staff and each other for the collective efforts of the Patrons.
The six informative sessions and conferences gave an insider look on the work, the concerns, and the future plans of the Patrons. The 2018 Chapter Leaders Meeting was a very valuable experience, and it helped us all understand the goals that must be perceived in the next months.