Vatican conference to discuss the future of the Church’s cultural heritage


The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and the Pontifical Council for Culture are organizing an international conference on the future of the cultural heritage of religious communities, to be held in Rome in May on the theme “Charism and creativity “. .

By Lisa Zengarini

Cataloging, management and innovation of the cultural heritage of religious communities will be the focus of an international conference organized in Rome on May 4-5 by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and the Pontifical Council for Culture.

Charisma and Creativity

Entitled “Charisma and Creativity”, the conference aims to strengthen networks and share best practices in order to improve the capacity of religious communities to creatively protect and develop their heritage. It is the result of a growing awareness that the cultural assets of the Church are part of the cultural identity of local communities and can provide new means to promote its pastoral and missionary objectives.

The two-day consultation is organized alongside the National Office for Ecclesiastical Cultural Heritage and Religious Buildings of the Italian Episcopal Conference, the Faculty of Church History and Cultural Heritage of the Pontifical Gregorian University, the Department of Architecture of the University of Bologna, and in collaboration with the International Union of Superiors General (IUSG) and the Union of Superiors General (USG) and the Secretariat of Assistance to the Sisters.

Presentation of the press service

The event was presented at a press conference held Thursday at the Vatican Press Office.

Keynote speakers included, among others, Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, underlined the crucial role that religious communities are called to play in fulfilling the Church’s responsibility to carefully manage its cultural assets in light of its mission evangelizer and also of her particular concern for the poor.

Manage the heritage of the Church

The two Vatican cardinals noted that this task is all the more urgent today as religious orders face dwindling numbers, leading to increased risks of abandonment and degradation of their immense cultural heritage.

Consecrated men and women are called “to reflect together on the value of their achievements in today’s society, their ultimate destination and their intimate link with the charism of their religious order and with the prophetic dimension of this charism”. , said Cardinal de Aviz.

Challenges and good practices

Session participants will therefore share their thoughts and experiences on these challenges and discuss new strategies to promote an integrated, and ultimately more effective, management of the Church’s cultural heritage.

Ahead of the conference, the organizers have brought together a number of research, projects and good practices in this area. The contributions, coming mainly from Europe, have been gathered under four themes which will be the topics of the session: Frameworks for theoretical understanding, Cataloguing, Management and Reuse.

A selection of fifteen contributions will be presented during the conference. Also, a questionnaire was sent to religious institutes prior to the event.


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