DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     October 22, 1998     vol. 9, no. 207

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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RESTORATION OF ATRIUM OF ST. PETER'S

          VATICAN CITY (CWNews.com) - The Knights of Columbus on Wednesday pledged the funds needed to restore the atrium of St. Peter's Basilica, while the Italian oil Company ENI will restore the facade of the largest church in Christendom. Already, the German firm Kaercher has undertaken the cleaning of the Bernini colonnade.

          It is in the atrium that is found the famous "Holy Door" that Pope John Paul II will solemnly open to start the Great Jubilee, beginning with the Christmas Mass on the night December 24, 1999.

          The project was jointly announced by Cardinal Vigilio Noah, president of the Fabric of St. Peter's and Grand Knight Virgil C. Dechant of the Knights of Columbus. Restoration will be made on the marbles and the stuccos of the walls and the vaults of the atrium, but also the Arch of Constantine, the arch of the bells, and the atrium of Charlemagne. For Dechant, this is a "concrete testimony of the spiritual loyalty and devotion of the Knights towards the Church, the Holy Father, and the Magisterium."

          A first announcement of this project had taken place during an audience granted by the Holy Father on October 15 to the representatives of the Knights of Columbus. The Pope expressed on this occasion his gratitude for their "support of the pastoral ministry of the Bishop of Rome" and their "profound sense of Catholic unity with the Successor of Peter," as well as "their ardent effort for the cause of life." The Knights of Columbus are the source of the financing of various works related to the Petrine ministry, by the means of their "Vicarius Christi Fund." The Pope cited as an example the payment of the expenses of the Permanent Mission of Holy See at the UN.

          This Catholic association, founded in United States in 1882, currently has 1.6 million members throughout the world (mainly in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Philippines). In 1996, the Knights donated more $106 million to charity.


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October 22, 1998       volume 9, no. 207
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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