VATICAN CITY (EWTN News/CNA) —The Vatican will celebrate Pope Benedict’s 60th anniversary of priestly ordination with an exhibition featuring 60 artists from around the world.
Pope Benedict was ordained to the priesthood, along with his brother Georg, in the Bavarian town of Freising on June 29, 1951.
Details of the anniversary exhibition entitled “The Splendor of Truth, the Beauty of Love” were unveiled in Rome June 17.
“We wanted to think of a very fluid and generic theme closely connected to the papacy of Benedict XVI — on the one hand truth and on the other charity,” explained the head of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi.
“It’s almost like a card of congratulations addressed to the Pope,” he told CNA.
The event will begin on July 4, when the artists and their work will be presented to the Pope himself. A wide range of art forms will be represented, including painting, sculpture, architecture, photography and music from globally renowned composers such as Ennio Morricone, Arvo Part and James McMillan.
“I was overjoyed and proud to have been invited to participate in this marvelous festival,” McMillan commented. The Scottish composer wrote much of the music to accompany Pope Benedict’s visit to the U.K. last year.
McMillan said he is very appreciative of the guidance the Pope has given the Church, “even in his priestly years before becoming our Supreme Shepherd.
“His advice and direction in liturgy and music have been especially inspiring to musicians like me.”
A similar reaction has come from all those artists asked by Cardinal Ravasi to participate.
“The response from the artists invited has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Richard Rouse of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
“They’re all encouraged; they take this as a good opportunity to reopen a dialogue of works rather than just words. And that’s something that the artists continue to say to us: Finally, it’s not just words — it’s also pictures; it’s also music.”
The event is in some way a spin-off from the first meeting Pope Benedict had with artists in the Sistine Chapel back in 2009. At the time, he promised that they would meet again.
“Pope Benedict, as everybody knows, is a man who’s interested in truth; he’s interested in dialogue, in charity. And we thought that having already had that meeting with artists in 2009 of reaching out again in this dialogue,” Rouse explained.
Amongst the 60 contributions, the Pope will receive a musical arrangement of the Our Father, written by the Estonian composer Arvo Part. It will be sung by a boy treble with Part himself at the piano.
The man behind the music to films like The Mission and The Untouchables, Ennio Morricone, has donated a new score which, when viewed as a musical manuscript, depicts a cross.
And the Italian sculptor behind a controversial contemporary statue of Pope John Paul II recently unveiled in Rome, Oliviero Rainaldi, will also produce a new work for the occasion.
The event will run through Sept. 4 in the atrium of the Paul VI Audience Hall in the Vatican.