(VATICAN CITY) Readers may remember Fr. Mark Haydu, international director of the Patron of the Arts in the Vatican Museums, whom I interviewed in May 2011 on my last trip to Rome.  While here in Rome on business, I arranged another interview with Fr. Mark about the Vatican’s mission of custodianship for some of the most priceless treasures of the world, including the Vatican itself.  Given Pope Francis’ call for a “poor Church in service of the poor,” some interpreted that message as a shift in the Vatican’s approach to its collections. Fr. Mark disagrees, and notes that most of the revenue of the Vatican comes from the museums — which is why the Patrons program is such a necessity:

I’ve included a few pictures from my tour of the Vatican Museums in the video.  One of my regrets from the 2011 interview was the lack of proper equipment; I had been on vacation and hadn’t prepared to do an interview, but wasn’t about to turn it down, either.  This time the sound quality is much better and I was better prepared.

I joined the Minnesota-North Dakota chapter of the Patrons program last year, and highly recommend it.  Fr. Mark and his very kind staff arrange tours and social events for visiting chapters, and I’m hoping to return to Rome soon with our group.