Guardians Program

The Vatican Observatory Foundation recognizes its need for ongoing support and counsel from a distinguished and dedicated group of philanthropic benefactors from throughout the United States and around the world. In response to this need, the Foundation has created a special way for benefactors at the highest levels to become part of the life of the Vatican Observatory and its enduring impact in our world. The Vatican Observatory Foundation invites those interested in advancing the Observatory’s more than 400-year-old commitment to scientific research of the universe to join together as Guardians of the Vatican Observatory.

Just as the Tower of the Winds was commissioned by the Vatican in 1576 to facilitate the astronomical studies for the reform of the calendar, Guardians are commissioned in a special ceremony to help ensure the Church is actively engaged in scientific discovery and dialogue. Guardians are invited to participate in the Foundation’s growth and development and asked to assist in promoting the Vatican Observatory to others.

In a unique way, Guardians play a lasting and profound role in the life of the Vatican Observatory. With lifetime gifts of $100,000 or more to the Vatican Observatory Foundation, Guardians facilitate the ongoing commitment of the Church to scientific research and its role in the human experience. Through their support, Guardians empower the Foundation to:

  • maintain and enhance the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope;
  • initiate educational programs that promote, disseminate and encourage the scientific research of the Vatican Observatory;
  • heighten awareness of the Church’s commitment to scientific research in the quest for truth; and
  • advance the mission and work of the Observatory throughout the United States and the world.

If possible Guardians will be commissioned during one of the VOF Tours of Rome where the participants enjoy an insider's view of often-unseen parts of the Vatican, many of the most fascinating and memorable sites in Jesuit Rome, and a "behind-the-scenes" visit of the Vatican Observatory headquarters in Castel Gandolfo. Hosts and private guides include Observatory scientists, Jesuit friends, and Vatican insiders. If a Guardian is not able to participate in one of the Tours of Rome they may be commissioned at a special ceremony in the United States with a Vatican representative.