A Work of Art as a Gesture of Generosity for the Pontifical Athenaeum
The Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum community wishes to publicly thank Mr. Gilberto Grazioli and his family for having donated an oil painting on canvas of the late 16th century – early 17th century. This work of art is by an anonymous author who portrays the figure of Christ blessing.
The author’s anonymity allows us to completely focus on the figure the painter desired to represent on the canvas. The Blessing Christ, who in his left hand holds the world while with his right hand blesses us, immediately allows us to think of Jesus Christ, King of the universe, of his regality that has made its way into the history of humanity and into the life of each one of us through his loving sacrifice through the cross to the light. We are grafted into Christ the Priest, King and Prophet, participating fully in the dignity of sons and daughters of a kingship that does not seek to be served but to serve, and which becomes the memory of our regality, acquired in baptism.
For the Pontifical Athenaeum it is an honor to receive this demonstration of generosity from the Grazioli family and as a sign of gratitude and fraternal communion, the Holy Mass was celebrated in the Regina Apostolorum chapel, memorial of the Paschal Mystery and a sign of love for each of us. It was a special occasion in which we experienced how the King of the universe transforms bread and wine to offer it to us as “his body and his blood”. The Eucharistic celebration was presided by Fr. Hugh Ryan LC, spiritual director and personal friend of the Grazioli family and concelebrated by Fr. Thomas Montanaro LC, Vice-Rector of Institutional Development of APRA. At the end of the celebration, the participants went to the Master Classroom, where this work of art was placed and blessed. The rite of blessing was presided by Fr. Michael Ryan LC, APRA chaplain, who reminded us the words of our Lord “He who has seen me, has seen the Father”, and pointed out that through the veneration of this image, and any other, we must always raise our gaze to Christ who lives and reigns eternally with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
This work of art will help both teachers and students to remember that “a king who, with his word, his example and his life immolated on the cross saved us from death, and — this king — indicates the path to those who are lost, gives new light to our existence marred by doubt, by fear and by everyday trials” (Pope Francis).
Our desire is that our Father in heaven conforms us to Christ his Son, and that this image may repeat this prayer for generations of students and professors yet to come.