Ambassador Gingrich’s Remarks to the Michigan and Georgia Patrons of the Vatican Museums

Remarks by Ambassador Callista L. Gingrich at a Reception in Honor of the Michigan and Georgia Chapters of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums
Villa Richardson

September 5, 2019

As Delivered:

Good evening!

Newt and I are so pleased to welcome you to Villa Richardson.

Tonight we’re gathered to honor the Michigan and Georgia Chapters of the Vatican Museums Patrons of the Arts.

I’d like to thank John and Kristan Hale from the Michigan Chapter, and Neil and Carolyn Johnson from the Georgia Chapter, for helping us organize this reception.

I’d also like to thank my friends, Dr. Barbara Jatta, the Director of the Vatican Museums, and Father Kevin Lixey, the International Director of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums, for being here this evening.

The Michigan and Georgia Patrons are part of a worldwide network, dedicated to restoring and preserving the vast collection of art in the Vatican Museums.

The Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums was founded in 1983 after a major exhibition from the Vatican toured in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago. The tour inspired a group of American philanthropists to participate in the preservation of artwork and historic buildings of the Vatican.

Today, the Patrons are truly international, with chapters in North America and Europe. Their efforts are vital to preserving the Vatican’s priceless works of art – all sensitive to the effects of time.

Through their work, the Patrons ensure that the unique spiritual and cultural mission of the Vatican Museums continues to flourish; and that these works of art endure and inspire millions each year, and for generations to come.

As Pope Francis said to the Patrons last year, “You have continued a centuries-long tradition, imitating the achievements of those who contributed to the Church’s history through art.”

Currently, the Michigan and Georgia Chapters are restoring a number of items at the Vatican, including a tapestry by Raphael, and a pair of Umbrian decorated panels by Vincenzo Pagani.

The Michigan and Georgia Patrons are part of an incredible tradition of American generosity at the Vatican. In fact today, American Patrons fund 80 percent of all restoration projects at the Vatican Museums. It’s an inspiring statistic. And it illustrates the close bond between the United States and the Holy See.

To celebrate our nation’s ties to the Vatican, and the generosity of American patrons, I am delighted to announce that on November 14th, the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See and the Vatican Museums will co-host a temporary exhibit honoring American contributions to the Vatican Museums.

This exhibit will feature the unveiling of three paintings by Carlo Crivelli that were recently restored through the generosity of American donors.

American contributions to the Vatican Museums are part of what makes our partnership with the Holy See, as conceived by President Ronald Reagan and Saint John Paul II, a world-wide force for good.

The generosity of the Michigan and Georgia Patrons is to be commended. Thank you for all that you do to preserve the timeless treasures of the Vatican Museums.

Thank you.