PortadaPatronsSpecial Message from Pope Benedict XVI to the Patrons gathered in Rome for the 500th Anniversary of the Vatican Museums

Ladies and Gentlemen,

"In every age Christians have sought to give expression to faith's vision of the beauty and order of God's creation, the nobility of our vocation as men and women made in His image and likeness, and the promise of a cosmos redeemed and transfigured by the grace of Christ. The artistic treasures which surround us are not simply impressive monuments of a distant past. Rather, for the hundreds of thousands of visitors who contemplate them year after year, they stand as a perennial witness to the Church's unchanging faith in the Triune God who, in the memorable phrase of St. Augustine, is Himself 'Beauty ever ancient, ever new.’  May your support of the Vatican Museums, bear abundant spiritual fruits in your own lives and advance the Church's mission of bringing all people to the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ, 'the image of the invisible God,' in Whose Eternal Spirit all creation is reconciled, restored and renewed."

A SPECIAL GIFT FOR HIS HOLYNESS BENEDICT XVI: Mr. John J. Brogan, Florida Patron and the chapter of Great Britain represented by Sir Thomas Farmer donated to His Holiness Benedict XVI his official portrait from the renowned Russian painter Natalia Tsarkova. The unveiling took place during a meeting on December 12, 2007 after the weekly general audience. At the private audience attended Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, President of the Governatorato, His Excellency Msgr. Renato Boccardo, Secretary of the Governatorato, Prof. Antonio Paolucci, Director of the Vatican Museums and Rev. Fr. Mark Haydu, L.C. international director of the Patrons Office. Ms. Tsarkova said the Pontiff thanked her for her work and said he was very happy with the outcome. The idea of donating a portrait to His Holiness began as soon as Benedict XVI was elected in 2005. During an interview, Rev. Father Haydu, L.C. said : "Under my predecessor, Dominican Father Allen Duston, the office helped find sponsors for the Tzarkova portrait. [...] Mr. John Brogan, a longtime patron of the arts, helped make this portrait a reality, along with our chapter in the United Kingdom." The original idea of the commission came to the then 'sostituto' of the Secretary of State, recently elevated Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, now prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, who had the idea of Natalia doing a portrait of the Holy Father. With the precious help of Mr. John McCaffrey who leads the Great Britain and Ireland Chapter, and the perseverance and energy of Mr. John J. Brogan, the dream became a reality.