News & Events

News & Events

New International Director

The Washington Patrons would like to welcome the new International Director of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums, Father Kevin Lixey, LC. You can find Father Kevin’s bio in the following link: Fr. Kevin Lixey, L.C. 
as well as his letter of Initial Greetings:  Initial Greeting from our New International Director.

Father Hennessy did a wonderful job and we will miss him very much. We wish him the best in his new assignment!

Here is a message from Fr. Hennessy to all Patrons in August 2017:
“I want to thank you for the many wonderful experiences I have had during the past year as International Director. I have enjoyed meeting so many of you, participating in the events, following the restoration projects, being involved in the exhibits here in Rome and abroad. You have been wonderful, and your contribution to the Vatican Museums is invaluable. You bring a value far beyond the financial help for the restoration and conservation projects. Your interest and enthusiasm is always refreshing and continues to transform the Vatican Museums. I can assure you that you are very much appreciated by the museum administration at all levels, including the current director, Dr. Barbara Jatta, and the Cardinal President of the Vatican City State, Giuseppe Bertello. I will carry with me forever the memories and life lessons from my experiences with the Patrons.”

Posted on November 15, 2017

EWTN The World Over Interview

Raymond Arroyo interviews Dr. Romina Cometti and CEM Martin on his EWTN program The World Over. Watch for a link to the upcoming episode.

Posted on April 10, 2017

The Life of a Swiss Guard, A Private View Reception

The Life of a Swiss Guard, A Private View opening reception was held on April 6, 2017 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The Exhibition was unveiled Thursday night at the BNSIC with welcome remarks from Msgr. Walter Rossi of the Basilica, Most Rev. Christopher Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio and Msgr. Charles Antonicelli, representative for Cardinal Wuerl. We were delighted to have Col. Christian Lanz of the Embassy of Switzerland in attendance and briefly speak about traits needed to become a Swiss Guard.

Father Hennessy

Father Daniel Hennessy, our International Director, traveled from Rome to spend the week with us and offered his thanks to the DC Patrons for bringing the exhibit to the city.

Dr Romina Cometti and Dr Geraldine Rolling – the Archivist for the Basilica.

Dr. Geraldine Rohling, archivist for BNSIC was recognized for her assistance in setting up the event and Dr. Romina Cometti, who curated the exhibit and who we all know from the Patrons office in Rome, spoke about the origins of the exhibition and its message.

Colonel Lanz of the Swiss Embassy, Dr. Romina Cometti, and Andreas Widmer a former Swiss Guard with a guest.

Two former Swiss Guards, Andreas Widmer and Dr. Mario Enzler, offered humorous accounts of their decisions to become a Swiss Guard and a few stories about their time with St. John Paul II and how it deepened their faith.

CEM Martin, who acted as emcee, thanked the DC Patrons for their generosity and support as they made this Vatican Museums exhibit possible for thousands of visitors to enjoy.

About 80 guests were there to enjoy the wonderful hors d’oeuvres and period music provided by Concerto Degli Imperfetti, led by Jean Cioffi.

The exhibit will be at the National Shrine in Memorial Hall through May 21, 2017. Open 7-7 daily and free to the public.

Please tell your family and friends.


Posted on April 10, 2017

The Life of a Swiss Guard Exhibition

The Washington, DC Patrons of the Arts cordially invite you to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on THURSDAY, APRIL 6, 2017.  Beginning at 7:00p.m. there will be a special preview and reception of the The Vatican Museums’ Exhibition:

 The Life of a Swiss Guard
curated by Romina Cometti and photographed by Fabio Mantegna.

The exhibit will be at the National Shrine April 6 – May 21, 2017
Open 7a.m.-7.p.m. Daily | Free to the Public

For further information contact
We hope you will be able to join us!

Posted on March 29, 2017

New Membership Policy coming in 2018

In an effort to give all our members plenty of notice, the Board of Directors for the Washington DC Chapter has voted to adopt a new membership policy for its members beginning January, 2018. After much discussion, it was decided to adopt a new policy that ALL memberships will be renewed in January of each year. Presently, you are being invoiced on your anniversary date. Memberships for most non-profit organizations have dues invoiced in January only and they ALL expire on December 31, regardless when the dues were paid during the calendar year. This will be our new policy as of January, 2018. By adopting this policy it will make planning and budgeting more precise and will make the renewal process more efficient. We are run entirely by volunteers and would like to “lighten their load” throughout the year. We greatly appreciate your consideration and understanding regarding this matter. As always, thank you for your continued generosity and support!

Posted on August 3, 2016

Father and Son’s Enchanting Day at the Museums and St. Pietro Mosaic Studio

Father and son Patrons, Joe and Peter Lomax, enjoyed a wonderful visit to the Vatican Museums on March 15, 2016. Upon arriving at the Patron’s Entrance at 8:00 AM, they were cheerfully greeted by Samantha de Carolis, their guide for the day. After starting the tour with the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms, they went to the Restoration studios. On display in the Paintings Restoration Laboratory was a nearly fully restored painting by Lorenzo Lotto of the whole extended Holy Family on a picnic with Jesus and John the Baptist. 

Lotto Extended Holy Family
In the Ceramics and Metals Restoration Lab they saw a unique Etruscan painted ceramic brazier which matches the Lomax’s interest in the Etruscans and Joe’s job as an inorganic chemist. The white paint on the ceramic was added after firing, and the black splotches were a manganese oxide that formed while it was buried. The chemistry of the splotches removal was as subtle as it was effective.

Lomaxes in Metals -Ceramic Studio

After the Restoration Labs, they met with Gabriella Lalatta and all proceeded to the Mosaic Studio of the Fabricca di San Pietro. Those who have met Gabriella know she is a force of nature and one is pulled along in the slip-screen of her wake.

Swiss Guard at gate
Ropes fell and Swiss Guards opened doors as they made it down a staircase, across the portico of St. Peter’s, by the Sacristia and finally to the Mosaic Studio. To their delight, they met Fr. Daniel Hennessey, L.C., the newly appointed International Director of the Vatican Patrons Office.

Fr Daniel Hennessy, Joe and Peter at Mosaic Studio
He, like Gabriella, made a special point of coming to see the Mosaic Studio, and it immediately became obvious why. As you see, they are by a rendering of a Raphael Madonna, Child and Baptist with bird. The exquisite art is seen in this close-up.

Close up of Raphael inspired mosaic

Mosaicist with a Monet
Having seen other mosaicists at work, for example this one making a rendering of a Monet, they thanked the artists at the studio, said good bye to Samantha and Gabriella, they headed back towards the Museums with Fr. Daniel. They finished in one of Joe’s favorite parts, the Etruscan Museum in another magical day in the Vatican Museums.

Posted on June 7, 2016

Patrons Enjoy Visit to Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens

Hillwood House, Washington DC
Hillwood House, Washington DC

DC Patrons Visit Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens: More than a dozen Washington Patrons gathered at the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens on Saturday, June 4, 2016 for a guided tour of the mansion viewing the marvelous collection of Marjorie Merriweather Post and Russian art exhibit featuring the paintings of Konstantin Makovsky. The mansion has the most comprehensive collection of Russian imperial art outside of Russia and a large display of French decorative art. After the tour many enjoyed walking through the beautiful Spring gardens, or having a coffee in the Hillwood café. Hillwood is a 25 acre oasis in the heart of NW Washington. It was a delightful event; if you were unable to attend, you may want to consider a personal visit.

Posted on June 7, 2016

Qualified Charitable Distributions

Patrons who are over age 70 ½ and have Traditional IRA accounts must take Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) in 2016 and subsequent years. These RMD’s are subject to Federal taxes and are taxable in many states.

You can avoid those taxes by making a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD). Congress made permanent the provision to exclude QCD’s from taxation in December, 2015. QCD’s allows traditional IRA owners over 70 ½ to give funds directly to a 501 (c) (3) charity without having to include the QCD in the taxpayers Adjusted Gross Income.

To qualify as a QCD, the distribution must go directly from your IRA custodian to the charity (eg. the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums, Washington, DC Chapter). Once the transfer is completed, the charity needs to acknowledge the gift for the taxpayer’s records.

The taxpayer reports the Gross amount of the distribution on line 15a of Form 1040, but carries over only the taxable amount to line 15b. For example, if the RMD is $15,000, but the taxpayer executed a QCD for $10,000, then line 15a would show $15,000 Gross distribution, while line 15b would show $5,000 of taxable income. (If the entire $15,000 went to the charity, the taxable amount on line 15b will be zero).

While most people will want to limit their QCD’s to the amount of their RMD’s, they can donate up to $100,000 per year as a QCD. So a husband and wife each with their own IRA accounts could make QCD’s of up to $100,000 each for a total of $200,000.

In order to qualify for a 2016 QCD, the QCD must be completed by December 31, 2016.

Patrons who do not itemize deductions can make QCD’s and avoid having to include the RMD income in their taxable income.

Other advantages of lowering your Adjusted Gross Income are that it can help reduce the taxable amount of Social Security benefits, and it can reduce the amount of Medicare Part B premiums payable in future years.

Consult with your tax accountant if this might be something you wish to consider to help support the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums.

Posted on May 3, 2016

2015 Annual Dinner

Cocktail Hour, 2015 Annual Dinner
Cocktail Hour, 2015 Annual Dinner

The Washington Chapter enjoyed a wonderful Annual Dinner on Saturday, December 5th, 2015. Archbishop Vigano, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, hosted the chapter at the Nunciature. The cocktail hour afforded members the opportunity to socialize with members from other chapters who were visiting DC. After the delicious dinner, we were honored with a concert by Concerto Degli Imperfetti. This ensemble is devoted to the performance of Renaissance music on original instruments and features Washington DC Patron Jean Cioffi. It was a marvelous and memorable evening, and we hope to see many of the members at the 2016 Annual Dinner.

Cocktail Hour, 2015 Annual Dinner
Cocktail Hour, 2015 Annual Dinner
Cocktail Hour, 2015 Annual Dinner
Cocktail Hour, 2015 Annual Dinner
Cocktail Hour, 2015 Annual Dinner
Cocktail Hour, 2015 Annual Dinner
2015 Annual Dinner
2015 Annual Dinner
2015 Annual Dinner
2015 Annual Dinner
2015 Annual Dinner
2015 Annual Dinner

Posted on December 9, 2015