Fr. Mark has officially begun his North American book tour for his first book, Meditations on Vatican Art. His schedule is packed full and spans from coast to coast, allowing him to connect with Patrons and new PAVM members all along the way. Go to an event near you to get your personalized signed copy!
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As he continues his central roles as a Legionary of Christ priest and as Patrons International Director, Father Mark Haydu has added a new chapter to his story—launching a career as a published author. On Novermber 1st, 2013, his authorial debut, Meditations on Vatican Art, was published by Liguori Press. True to its title, Meditations on Vatican Art aligns masterpieces from the Vatican Museums collection with passages, prayers, and reflections to guide readers through an Ignatian-inspired regiment of spiritual meditation. While the concept clearly takes a page from his major vocations, it is exciting to learn exactly how he arrived at this beautiful idea. In the following excerpt, Fr. Mark speaks candidly about the inspiration and path to fruition of Meditations on Vatican Art.
“Where did the idea come from? Walking through the [Vatican Museum] galleries and stopping in front of a work of art, I often found myself provoked to reflection and then eventually to prayer and meditation. A detail I had never seen before would jump out at me and I would relate it to my life in a new way. At times I would be praying at home and I would remember a painting that expressed what I was praying about. So, I thought it would be great to use works of art in my own prayer. I found it added so much. My imagination became an ally rather than a source of distraction. Then, the problem became which works to pick and how to arrange them. The Spiritual Exercises seemed like a natural choice since I had followed St Ignatius’ retreat every year since entering the seminary. Marrying the greatest collection of sacred art with a time-tested method of prayer is a powerfully transformative spiritual combination. But this was all just an idea until a Patron suggested that Liguori contact me to write a book on art. [When they did,]we spoke for a bit in a hotel cafe in Minneapolis and [their rep] told me what ideas they had. I didn’t think I could write any of them, and I said so. Then, she asked me what book I would like to write. I started telling her my idea and I got more and more excited as I spoke. A few weeks later the head of Liguori, Luis Medina, flew down to Houston to see me, and we signed a contract.”
For more information on Meditations on Vatican Art, visit its website www.VaticanArt.org.
Despite the extensive amount of Vatican art, architectural treasures, and restoration work that Patrons were able to see during our 30th Anniversary celebrations, perhaps the most powerful experience of the entire week was not seen but heard. In a very special private audience in the Sala Clementina on October 19th, over 350 visiting Patrons were personally greeted by Pope Francis. The experience was so captivating and unforgettable—the sheer presence of the Holy Father in the room moved many to tears. Amidst all the excitement, Pope Francis delivered some very thoughtful words to the Patrons. His address painted a picture, if you will, of the importance of art in expressing the beauty of faith. He spoke about how the sacred imagery showcased in the Vatican Museums’ collections reveal to countless pilgrims this sublime beauty, sourced from and fulfilled by God, which serves as iconographic testament to the gospel message. Perhaps most memorable of his words were those that addressed the Patrons directly:
“Dear friends, may your patronage of the arts in the Vatican Museums always be a sign of your interior participation in the spiritual life and mission of the Church. May it also be an expression of our hope in the coming of that Kingdom whose beauty, harmony and peace are the expectation of every human heart and the inspiration of mankind’s highest artistic aspirations.”
To read more, follow this link (http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-art-expresses-the-beauty-of-faith/) to a wonderful Catholic News Agency article about this special event.