Stairway to Heaven: Vatican Backs Effort to Restore Holy Stairs Shrine

SCALA SANTA, ROME — As thousands of pilgrims continue to climb the venerated Holy Stairs below, eight restorers continue to climb the scaffolding above, working diligently on the sanctuary’s beautiful fresco cycles. Thanks to our generous United Kingdom, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina Patrons, the Vatican Museums’ head fresco restorer, Paolo Violini, and his team are in the process of executing this tremendous effort to save the Holy Stairs—uncovering the masterful 16th century works by painter Paul Brill, preserving the site’s history and enriching the spiritual messages of its frescos.  In a recent National Catholic Reporter article, Fr. Mark reinforces the meaning of the Holy Stairs restoration project, reflecting how “sacred art is invaluable, not just for its material beauty, but also for its power to help transform people’s lives.”

Follow the link below to read the entire article, written by Carol Glatz for the National Catholic Reporter:



Views from Loggia: 30th Anniversary Prep

As I type away at my desk, here in the Patrons Office, I am surrounded by a buzz of excitement… Our 30th Anniversary of the Patrons Event is just 7 days away!!! And what an event it will be! 300 of our dear Patrons will be venturing to Rome to attend the fantastic events we have lined up; from receptions in spectacular galleries of the Museums, to vespers in the Sistine Chapel, to a private audience with our Holy Father, Pope Francis! Patrons will have the opportunity to meet the Director of the Vatican Museums, Restorers, members of the Roman Curia, and Ambassadors- just to name a few. Here in the office, we are eagerly working on the final preparations to make sure this will be an unforgettable experience. Right now, Fr. Mark is going through the details, Sara is meeting with the Events Office, Romina has gone to check out the route for the guides and Carolina is working with the media. Later, some of us will do a “run-through” of the events to take place in the Apostolic Palace. We’ll be walking through the stunning rooms and chapels closed off to the public that our Patrons will have the chance to visit. It’s only Tuesday, but time seems to be flying by at the speed of light. To our Patrons who are anticipating the big event–I imagine that time could not be going any slower! We look forward to welcoming you into our home, here in the Vatican, and we wish all those traveling to Rome throughout the week, safe and pleasant travels!  -Giselle


“Inside the Museums” project Conference

Director of Vatican Museums, Prof. Antonio Paolucci, and Curator of the XIX Century and Modern Art Collection, Dott.ssa Micol Forti, held a conference on the ground breaking project, the “Inside the Museums” photo-documentary. This is a new Patrons project regarding the commissioned production and aquisition of art photography for the Vatican Museums.  Proposed and curated by Alessandra Mauro, who represents the Magnum Agency in Italy, the concept entails an artistic interpretation of the Museums by an international group of important artists photographers who will consider themes such as the physical space of the Museums and their rooms (Peter Bialobrezeski from Germany, and Italians Massimo Siragusa and Antonio Biasucci), their link to memory and history (Bill Armstrong from the USA and Mimmo Jodice from Naples), and also include the people who have worked there over time (Francesco Jodice and Martin Parr from the UK).  The series begins with French artist Alain Fleicher who will follow visitors throughout the complex.  The project represents a wide variety of artistic styles and approaches and will constitute the first important nucleus of contemporary photography for the Museums collection.  This project is unique in Italy to the Vatican Museums and will be the very first photographic pieces in their collection.

The Inside the Museums photography project was generously sponsored by Lisette & Michael Farrell and Peter Farrell of the California Chapter and the Carlsons of the New York Chapter.

Sistine Chapel in Santa Maria Maggiore Unveiled

In October 2012 the unveiling of the Sistine Chapel at the Basilica of St. Mary Major was celebrated. The restorations began in 2003 under the guidance of HE Card. Law thanks to the California Patrons of the Arts. Led by Michael Feeley and John McDonnell, the California Patrons ventured to Rome to participate in this special event. The Archpriest of the Basilica, HE Card. Abril Y Castellò Santos warmly greeted the benefactors, celebrated Mass and dined with them. Attending the event from the Governorship Palace were the President HE Card. Giuseppe Bertello and HE Mons. Giuseppe Sciacca the General Secretary. Attending, from the Vatican Museums, were Prof. Arnold Nesselrath, chief restorer Maria Putska with Dr. Marco Pratelli and the restorers of the Chapel, their Maestro Roberto Bordin, Prof. Ulderico Santamaria from the Scientific Lab, Dr. Alessandra Rodolfo, Maestro Guy Devreux, Dott. Ing. Pier Carlo Cuscianna, Dott. Ing. Enrico Sebastiani who took care of the lighting of the chapel. The Mass, coordinated by the Master of Ceremonies HE Mons. Adriano Paccanelli with the acolytes of the Legionaries of Christ, was presided by HE Card. Santos and Fr. Mark Haydu, LC accompanied by the outstanding music of the Liberiana Choir. After Mass, the patrons and guests enjoyed cocktails on the Logge of the Basilica and then dined in the Sala Papale. Like a large family, the patrons shared wonderful memories together that will never be forgotten.

A heartfelt thanks to all the patrons who participated in this event, together with the Patrons Office and the Museums. A commemorative plaque with the names of the donors has been placed in the Sistine Chapel as evidence of their great generosity.