A visit today by first lady Laura Bush to the "Medieval Frescoes from the Vatican Museums Collection" has some Lubbock citizens in a dither.
None is more excited than the Rev. Malcolm Neyland, director of the Vatican Exhibit 2002 Foundation.
"On behalf of the Vatican City state and the Vatican Mu se ums, we're very honored that the first lady of the United States would show such an extraordinary interest in the medieval frescoes that are being displayed at the Museum of Texas Tech," Neyland said.
Security is tight, making details scarce for the visit of the first lady's entourage. Protocol dictates a personally guided tour; however, officials haven't revealed who will conduct it.
"I am personally humbled and appreciative that she would see the significance of this art," Neyland said.
Calling the first lady "informed, astute and knowledgable of the arts," Neyland said, "the foundation is honored that she would want to give this attention. We are grateful to her and to President Bush for their assistance in helping to make this exhibit possible in the United States."
Friends and prominent Lubbock citizens, such as former Mayor Windy Sitton, will attend a private reception for the first lady.
Other prominent visitors expected to view the artworks in August include three cardinals from Mexico and South America.
Also, Archbishops Patrick Flores of San Antonio and Michael Sheehan of Santa Fe will be in town Friday and Aug. 10 for the annual Serra Convention and are expected to tour the exhibit.
The Lubbock and Amarillo Serra clubs are hosts for the regional group, which will include visiting bishops from Texas, New Mexico and Okla homa. Serra is an international organization that promotes and supports religious vocations in the Roman Catholic Church.
After the exhibit ends Sept. 15, the frescoes will be shipped back to the Vatican Museums and are not scheduled for public showing again until 2025.