Local Catholics launch group to support Vatican art collection, architecture

Antonio Paolucci, director of Vatican Museums, stands outside the museum's main doors in this file photo. (CNS photo/ Emanuela De Meo, Catholic Press Photo)
Antonio Paolucci, director of Vatican Museums, stands outside the museum’s main doors in this file photo. (CNS photo/ Emanuela De Meo, Catholic Press Photo)

Bradford Kidd, an Our Lady of Mount Carmel parishioner, and Ross Thompson, a Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral parishioner, have established an Arizona chapter for the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums.

The new chapter launched Oct. 10 with 34 people attending a kick-off event at the downtown Diocesan Pastoral Center.

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Patron of the Arts in the Vatican Museums

An interfaith group committed to the restoration, preservation and increase in artistic patrimony of the collections and buildings of the Vatican Museums. The group furthers member understanding and knowledge of these works through lectures, meetings and visits to the Vatican.

Info: e-mail Bradford, bkidd@azpatrons.org or call (602) 738-6682

www.azpatrons.org

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Msgr. Terrance Hogan, director of the office of worship and spiritual life for the Archdiocese of Miami, Florida, is the North American chaplain to the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums. He spoke at the Oct. 10 event in Phoenix.

The organization supports the maintenance and restoration of the vast array of art held in the Vatican museums. Some of the art pre-dates Christianity.

Kidd and Thompson were in Rome for the canonization of Pope St. John Paul II and Pope St. John XXIII and had a private tour of one of the laboratories where the Vatican’s art is restored.

“What people don’t realize is that when these works of art sit for hundreds of years in a church, the smoke from the candles alone — it’s a painstaking process to remove that,” Kidd said “They have to be x-rayed ahead of time and do scientific tests before they even start.”

Kidd and Thompson watched as one staff member meticulously removed layers of soot and grime with a cotton swab.

Deacon Jim Trant has also been to Rome to see the restoration work being done. He joined the California chapter of the patrons’ organization as a clergyman in 2012.

“The Church has so many treasures of great beauty and they need to be preserved and restored,” Deacon Trant said. “It’s the beauty of the Church that attracts people to the faith.”

The Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums offers Catholics a unique opportunity to help preserve priceless works of art and architecture. “You can actually get involved in the restoration and preservation of specific items,” Deacon Trant said. “A great amount of restoration has been accomplished in the last few years and more is in the works.”

The Phoenix chapter plans to meet once per quarter.