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Chapel of the Holy Staircase in Rome, undergoes restoration

2015-08-12

These steps are said to be the ones Jesus walked on, as he made his way to this trial with Pontious Pilate. Every year, thousands of Catholics climb it- on their knees, as a sign of devotion and penance. 

FR. MARK HAYDU
Patrons of the Arts (Vatican) 
"It's the third most visited place in Rome, besides the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's-it's then the Holy Stairs.”

Now the St. Lawrence Chapel, located at the top of the Holy Stairs, is undergoing a three phase restoration project.

FR. MARK HAYDU
Patrons of the Arts (Vatican) 
"This Chapel, St. Lawrence  Chapel, then we’ll have two other phases of the stairwell going down. First, all the lateral stairwells and finally the main stairwell and the marble stairs brought from Jerusalem by Constantine’s mother, St. Helena back in the 4th century.”

The restoration started about three years ago, and there's still about two and a half years left. It's all thanks to contributions from members of the Patrons of the Arts like, John Gilday. 

JOHN GILDAY
Patrons of the Arts (USA)
"I can really do something directly and have an impact on a church that so few Americans have been to relative to the Vatican.” 

The Passionist Order is in charge of the Lawrence Chapel. That same order managed the school John Gilday attended back in Pittsburgh. Now, he says it's about giving back to the Order that gave him and his family so much. 

JOHN GILDAY
Patrons of the Arts
"Hard work, classic American story and now, it's wonderful to be able to do these things.” 

FR. MARK HAYDU
Patrons of the Arts (Vatican) 
"In a conversation with Pope Francis, he made the comment, no one needs beauty more than the poor and that’s true because many of the poor are looking for consolation, help and clarity. Many of them come to beautiful spaces to our museums, churches looking for peace of soul.”

It's not just pilgrims who have gone up the Holy Staircase.  Several Popes have been known to perform the act of devotion as well, among them as Pope Pius IX, back in 1853. 

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