Calendar Guild Members Receive a Vatican Observatory 2021 Astrophoto Calendar!

The Official Vatican Observatory Calendars have been a tradition since 2000! Every month has a beautiful astrophotograph, donated to us for our use by some of the best amateur astrophotographers in the world! The calendar also contains a delightfully eclectic selection of scientific and astronomically significant dates.

Your donation of $25 or more supports our distribution of astronomical calendars to prisoners, our general mission, and entitles you to a copy of the 2021 VOF calendar. You can obtain four or more calendars with a donation of $20 each.

The COVID-19 pandemic that hit the world in 2020 brought many changes to all of our lives, including the tragic deaths of people we knew and loved. Meanwhile, even for those of us who were not directly affected by the disease, the uncertainty that it brought to our lives was a constant worry. Fear arises from uncertainty.

Science tries to put constraints on that fear by at least letting us know what is likely, or not likely, to occur. This was the motivation behind the desire of every civilization to outline the shape of the coming year with calendars. Astronomy was developed and supported by our ancient cultures precisely to give us the reassurance that spring would follow winter, and to remind us to be prepared when winter would come again.

As our knowledge of the sky grew and we learned even how to predict the motions of the planets, wandering among those stars, it was tempting (if ultimately fruitless)to hope that we could use that ability to somehow give us a comforting foreknowledge of things to come here on Earth. Still, even if astrology was ultimately found wanting, the repeatable sequence of the stars through the seasons which astronomy taught us could be a source of reassurance in an uncertain universe.

But along with letting us know about the usual seasons of the year, a calendar can also remind us of the days when something unusual did happen: the birth or death of a notable person, the remembrance days of triumph or tragedy. And each day on a calendar can also have space for us to note, as they come, events which may have an unusual significance only to us; and to remind us of them when they have passed.

The fact is, for all that calendars can give us a repeatable framework for our lives, nonetheless every day is filled with unpredictable moments. Even wonderful events — a wedding, a graduation, a new birth — can be unsettling. That is why, beyond the limits of astronomy or medicine to cure our worries, we can be reassured by the words of the risen Christ to his apostles:“Do not be afraid.”

– Brother Guy SJ

Visit our online version of the VO 2020 Calendar:

Click to order 2021 Vatican Observatory Astro-photo calendar: Donate