Pope Francis receives a delegation from Arena of Verona Foundation  (Vatican Media)

By Deborah Castellano Lubov

Jan 19 2024

Pope Francis invites people engaged in the arts to carry out their craft in love, joy and charity, as he meets with the Arena of Verona Foundation, which is celebrating a centenary since the 1st century Roman amphitheatre’s rebirth.

Pope Francis has encouraged those engaged in the arts to work with love, joy, and charity.

He welcomed the Arena of Verona Foundation on Thursday, as it celebrates centenary celebrations for the “rebirth” of the Arena di Verona, which began in 1913 with the performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida.

Important legacy

The Holy Father acknowledged the Arena’s 100 seasons of artistic activity at the highest level, which have collected and kept alive a legacy from the past, to hand it down to future generations.

“This is very beautiful,” he observed. “It is an intelligent, creative and concrete form of gratitude and charity.”

The Pope discussed the Arena’s multifaceted history, noting that the Arena building itself “has a history of twenty centuries, and has been preserved over time precisely because it has always been a living place.”

“How much work in all this, how much dedication and how much effort,” the Pope marveled, calling it a tribute to “those who built and rebuilt the structures, to that of the authors and artists, to that of the organisers of the various events and to that of all those, many, perhaps most, who worked, as they say, ‘behind the scenes.'”

St Paul’s wisdom

Reflecting on this, the Pope recalled St Paul’s words about the Church, namely, when he compares her to a body that has many members, each part is complementary to the others in its specific function.

The Holy Father acknowledged that 100 years of art, in fact, cannot be produced by one person alone, or by a small group, but requires great and long-term efforts made possible by countless individuals.

“Looking at you,” he said, “I see with you the even larger crowd of men and women who have gone before you and whom you ideally bring here: a crowd always present, even on stage, at every performance, reminding us how important it is, in art as in life, to be humble and generous.”

“Humility and generosity,” he said, are “two virtues of the true artist that your story tells us about.”

“Humility and generosity: two virtues of the true artist that your story tells us about.”

Communicating harmony

The Holy Father encouraged members of the Arena of Verona Foundation to continue their work in love, “not so much for personal success” but for “the joy of giving something beautiful to others.”

“Offer happiness through art, spread serenity, communicate harmony! We all need it so much,” the Pope said, before reassuring, “I bless you from the bottom of my heart.”

“Offer happiness through art, spread serenity, communicate harmony! We all need it so much.” – Vatican News