News & Events

News & Events

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

Lunch on the Etruscan Terrace

On Monday, May 18th, following their tour of the Restoration Laboratories, the Patrons were treated to a wonderful lunch on the Etruscan Terrace overlooking the Museums. A wonderful venue and a memorable day…


Posted on June 5, 2015

Restoration Laser in Use

During the 2015 Chapter Trip to Rome in May, the DC Patrons were shown the ArtLight II Laser that was donated by the DC Chapter. This laser is used for cleaning extremely delicate works of art without damaging them. The chief conservator was extremely thankful to the Chapter for funding the equipment. He told us that he never thought he would have access to such a wonderful piece of equipment!


And right on the side of the unit is a placard noting that the DC Chapter of the Patrons made it possible.


Posted on June 5, 2015

A Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

While visiting the Sistine Chapel with the Washington and Belgian Patrons, Jean Cioffi was asked to sing, a truly unique experience for both Jean and the audience. The Chapel is even more beautiful when filled with song! Click Here to see the Video

Posted on June 4, 2015

2015 Rome Trip

Members of the Washington Chapter have recently returned from our 2015 Chapter trip to the Eternal City. From May 16 though the 22nd, our group, joined by the Belgian Chapter, enjoyed a series of very special experiences, including:

Saturday, May 16 – A private Mass at the Pantheon, with Washington Patron Claudio Cioffi delivering a reading.

Sunday, May 17 – A tour of the Catacombs of St. Priscilla.

Monday, May 18 – A prayer service in memory of our deceased Patrons in the Church of San Pellegrino inside Vatican City…

Followed by a delightful Coffee Break on the lawn in the Vatican Gardens,

And a tour of the restoration laboratories.

A conservator explained the processes being completed on the Washington Chapter’s leather wallcovering project.

Tuesday, May 19 – The group was allowed a private tour of the extensive Bernini Gardens at the Castel Gandolfo.


Following the tour was a delicious lunch consisting of produce grown on the farm at Castel Gandolfo.

Wednesday, May 20 – Following an audience with Pope Francis, the Patrons were able to reflect on the experience with a wonderful luncheon at Lo Scarpone on the Janiculum Hill overlooking the Vatican and the city of Rome.

Thursday, May 21- Private Mass celebrated by Msgr. Hogan and Fr. Haydu at Sant’ Anna Church.

Followed by a black-tie dinner in the Museum, this year in the Caravaggio Room. We will be sharing some of the individual Patron’s experiences and impressions from the trip in upcoming posts, but by all accounts it was a fantastic trip!

Posted on June 4, 2015

2015 Chapter Project

EKTA 7556(12x18cm)

The Washington Chapter is sponsoring the restoration of the Polypthic with Madonna, Child and four Saints. This wonderful polypthic is the work of the painter Giovanni Bonsi, who lived in Florence and was active 1351-1371. Unfortunately, little is known about his life, but it is believed that he completed his apprenticeship at the Orcagna workshop. In 1366, together with Taddeo Gaddi, Orcagna and Andrea di Bonaiuto, he was part of the Commission for the building of the new Cathedral. Few of Bonsi’s works are known, but this polyptych is undoubtedly the most important one.

In the central panel, the Virgin Mary is represented with the baby Jesus on her lap. She sits on a decorated and chiselled throne of gold. An inscription at the bottom of the painting reads that the piece was created in 1371 by Giovanni Bonsi from Florence: A.D.M.C.C.L.XXI. JONES BONSI DE FLORENTIA ME PINSIT. Four saints are represented in the side panels. On the left, St. Onofrio the Eremite, stands with long hair, grasping his stick between two tree-topped rocks. Then there is St. Nicholas, in Episcopal dress, with three spheres of gold in his hand. On the right side of the Virgin, St. Bartholomew is shown with a knife in his right hand and a book in his left. By his side, St. John the Evangelist is depicted writing. The name of each Saint is written in the predella below. Pictured in the cusps above each of the four saints are small gilded portraits of Dominicans. The scene above the Virgin Mary is of Christ blessing a book. This painting is expected to be returned on display in the Painting Gallery.

Posted on December 12, 2014