It's been a few months since I have given an update as to what we've been doing here at the Foundation. Of course, I did provide a couple of diaries describing the science happening here, but it's also time to review the state of this site and the foundation in general.
Our stats: As of today, we have 164 paid subscribers (three new subscribers since the last diary — thanks and welcome!) and 10,029 people (we've topped ten thousand!) who get notified of new postings. We continue to grow, but not nearly fast enough to keep us in business. Please tell more people about our site; and if you can, please subscribe at a rate of $10 a month (especially since you're probably not going out to get donuts at this time) or $100 per year. And tell your friends about the site...
Which brings us back why we do the work we do. Even – perhaps especially – in a time of social uncertainty and the threat of an economic collapse, our seemingly abstract work as astronomers is still vital. One insight into that assertion came from Fr. George Coyne, whom sadly we lost in early 2020. (Check out the memorial page here!)
Father Coyne directed the Vatican Observatory for nearly thirty years and during that time he founded the Vatican Observatory Foundation. In his role as fundraiser, gathering the resources that led to the construction of the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope, he had a profound understanding of both the questions and the needs of our potential supporters. When people looked at the troubles in the world and wondered why we should spend our resources — financial and human — on something so esoteric as a telescope, his reply was direct and surprising: “Yes, we need to feed the hungry and cure the blind,” he said. “But if that is all that we do, then we will all be hungry, and we will all be blind.”
Without the food for the soul — art, music, storytelling, astronomy — our souls starve. If we cannot see the stars for what they are, then both our intellects and our imaginations will have gone blind. Without those qualities that make us more than just mere grazing animals, we lose sight of the greater universe for which we were created. Without “HOLiCOW” we’d be no more than cows.
These present troubles will end; that is why we need to be sure to maintain a world with astronomy and the other arts. We need to be ready to direct our spirits to the greater meaning that only a well nourished soul can reach for.
The creation of the universe was marked by the presence, at the beginning, of the Word. We do not live by bread alone, but by every Word uttered by the mouth of the Creator. Only with your support can we be ready to read, to appreciate, and to share those Words.
And now for more details, which will be of interest to those who have been supporting us...
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