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IWKnights Corner for January 28, 2024

 — Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Did you know this about the IW Knights of Columbus? 

Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica and president of the Fabbrica di San Pietro, and Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly stand in front of the Bernini baldacchino in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City on Jan. 10. Cardinal Gambetti and Supreme Knight Kelly announced that the Knights of Columbus would underwrite the complete restoration of the baldacchino, the first such restoration since 1758. (Photo by Tamino Petelinšek).

The Knights of Columbus will fund a yearlong restoration of Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s iconic baldacchino above the high altar of St. Peter’s Basilica, Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly announced Jan. 11 at a Vatican press conference with Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, president of the Fabbrica di San Pietro.

The 10-story bronze, marble and gilded wood structure was commissioned by Pope Urban VIII and finished in 1633.  Experts with the Fabbrica de San Pietro, the institution responsible for maintaining the basilica, plan to complete the comprehensive restoration — the first since 1758 — in time for the 2025 Jubilee Year of Hope.

Announcing the Order’s financial support, Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly emphasized the spiritual significance of the baldacchino, which stands over the tomb of St. Peter the Apostle.

‘On behalf of the Knights of Columbus and our more than 2 million members in 13 countries around the world, we are honored to lend our support to this project, which is more than caring for a magnificent piece of art,’ the supreme knight said. ‘It points to the reality of God’s love for us and his coming down to earth to dwell with us and to build the Church upon St. Peter and his profession of faith.’

Dr. Pietro Zander, head of the Necropolis and Artistic Heritage Section of the Fabbrica di San Pietro, will lead the project, which will involve state-of-the-art technology, including 3D modeling and drone videography.

‘A prerequisite for planning the work is in fact the knowledge that we are dealing with a giant,’ Zander said at the press conference.  ‘A giant of art of all time, but even before that, a giant in form and size.’

The baldacchino’s 66-foot-tall spiral columns hold up a massive bronze canopy topped by four larger-than-life-size angels.  At its apex, a cross stands on a globe, symbolizing the world’s redemption by Christ.

The Order has a long history of supporting the work of the pope and the Vatican, beginning with Pope Benedict XV’s request that the Knights open sports fields to serve the poor youth of Rome following World War I.  Since 1980, the Knights has sponsored 17 Vatican restoration projects, including the cleaning of the façade of St. Peter’s Basilica in anticipation of the Jubilee Year 2000, work in the Vatican Grottoes, and the restoration of a 7-foot-tall 14th-century wooden crucifix that was present in the original St. Peter’s Basilica.

‘I’d like to thank our Holy Father, Pope Francis, as well as Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, for allowing us to partner in this project,’ the supreme knight said. ‘In addition to all the service we carry out for the poor, for our parishes and families, we Knights are very grateful for the privilege of serving the Church in this way.’”

The link to this article, by the KofC’s Cecilia Engbert, can be found in the Friday Flocknotes, IWKnights9981.com/bulletin, facebook.com/IWknights9981 or twitter.com/IWknights

Restored to Glory

Knights of Columbus supports restoration of baldacchino in St. Peter’s Basilica

By Cecilia Engbert, Knights of Columbus Knightline (1/11/2024)
Click here to read the article

The Restoration of the Baldachin of St. Peter's (Project Website)

The Baldachin was created by the architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini for Pope Urban VIII Barberini between 1624 and 1635.

By the Papal Basilica of St. Peter (1/11/2024)
Click here to read the article

Knights of Columbus Support Restoration Project in St. Peter's Basilica | EWTN News Nightly

By EWTN Vatican Bureau Chief, Andreas Thonhauser (12/12/2023)

Ahead of the Jubilee Year 2025, the Knights of Columbus is supporting a restoration of the canopy over the high altar in Saint Peter's Basilica. Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, the archpriest of the basilica, presented the intended works on Bernini's masterpiece to the public. This is a restoration of significant symbolic value because the Baldachin, standing solemnly above the main altar marks the place of the Tomb of the Apostle Peter to whom the Basilica is dedicated. The Baldachin fulfills its main function in focusing the gaze and also the gesture of the faithful on Peter's tomb, on Peter's confession. It is like a large curtain that indicates a presence, through Peter's faith, the presence is Jesus who on the altar still comes to us today. EWTN Vatican Bureau Chief, Andreas Thonhauser, has more.

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