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60 Artists Prepare for the 60th Anniversary of Pope's Ordination as a Priest

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
23 Jun 2011

On June 29th, Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the 60th anniversary of his ordination. To celebrate, 60 artists have prepared a special gift for the pontiff. They have donated 60 works of art, mostly originals, for the exhibition "The Splendor of Truth, Beauty of Charity,." It will be hosted by the Vatican's Paul VI Hall from July 4 to September 4.

Card. Gianfranco Ravasi
President, Pontifical Council for Culture
"This idea is twofold. The first comes from the meeting with the pope in the Sistine Chapel with 300 artists in November of 2009. They highlighted the link between art and faith. The second part is attached to the 60th anniversary of the pope's ordination. We wanted to make a greeting card that wasn't written in the traditional fashion, but with the inventiveness and originality of these artists, with their fantasy."

In this unique anniversary gift, almost every category of the art world will be present, by the hand of some of its best artists. Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi is the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture. He says the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer will present a model of a cathedral which he's designing along with the music by Italian musician Ennio Morricone.

Card. Gianfranco Ravasi
President, Pontifical Council for Culture
"Calling much of my attention was the piece of work donated by the great composer Ennio Morricone. It's a score in music in the shape of a cross. The horizontal line is the part that touches the orchestra, while in the vertical are the voices. So the score is not just a musical text, but also a small work of art and design."

But these 60 artists aren't the only ones who want to honor the Pope on his special day.

The Congregation for the Clergy has proposed to make 60 hours of worldwide Eucharistic adoration. On June 30th,  Benedict XVI will deliver the Ratzinger Foundation Awards in theology.

But Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi assures that there will be much more.

Card. Gianfranco Ravasi
President, Pontifical Council for Culture
"There are huge numbers of ordinary people who want to give something to the Pope and who have sent their works of art that may not be spectacular or of very high quality but are nonetheless very nice and very personal."

These amateur pieces of work will not be part of the exhibition, but they do show how people around the world want to be somehow present at the celebration of this landmark anniversary.