VATICAN CITY – Not even the Vatican is immune from the economic crisis.
For the first time, the Vatican is seeking funds directly from pilgrims, collectors and tourists to pay for the ambitious restoration of the 17th century Bernini colonnade surrounding St. Peter's Square. It is offering a special €20 ($26) stamp and certificate package.
The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano reported Tuesday that the Vatican's Philatelic and Numismatic Office, which sells commemorative coins and stamps featuring popes, saints and the like, issued the series to offset a recession-induced drop in corporate sponsors for the restoration.
Two €10 ($13) stamps are affixed on the certificate, one featuring Pope Benedict XVI's papal seal and the other the seal of Pope Alexander VII, who along with Bernini came up with the idea for the colonnade.