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Month: September 2015

Vatican launches digital library on Church and communications

(Vatican Radio) At a press conference in the Vatican on Wednesday, a new online digital library was launched, offering access to over a thousand papal documents on communications from the first to the twenty-first century. The initiative, known as the Baragli Project, features papal teachings on communication, translated into different languages, and is geared especially to those working in Catholic education and training centres.
Listen to our report: 
The Project is named after Jesuit Father Enrico Baragli, who died in 2001 and was in the forefront of research into the way the Catholic Church has communicated its message over the centuries. It is being promoted by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications , together with the Faculty of Social Communication at the Pontifical Salesian University, as well as the Vatican Publishing House and Vatican.va website.
The digital library features a “navigator” which helps to explore available online sources. It offers a platform for reading and personal study, as well as an open environment for collaboration with other users. The beta version in Italian went live on September 30th and can be found at www.chiesaecomunicazione.com. But the archive will be continuously expanded to include new documents, as well as other material from individual Church leaders, from bishops conferences and from other Christian churches and communities.
Please find below the address of the President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications,  Archbishop Claudio Celli, at the launch of the Baragli Project
The PCCS is very pleased to support the Baragli Project.  The primary function of the PCCS, in accordance with the mandate given to it by Vatican II, is to promote the importance of communications in the life of the Church.  Communication is not just another activity of the Church but is at the very essence of its life.  The communication of the Good News of God’s love for all people, as expressed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, is what unifies and makes sense of all the other aspects of the life of the Church.  This project is particularly valuable because it brings together, and makes available to a wider public, a long tradition of teaching and reflection by the Church precisely on the centrality of communications.
            The material themselves are hugely significant as they show how the Church has, throughout its history, sought to engage with the changing means and forms of communication which have shaped culture and human society.  This collection enables us to appreciate how the Church’s manner and means of expressing its message have been transformed over the years in order to take account of changes and developments in the dominant forms and technologies of mass communication.  It is interesting to see how the Church has adapted its understanding of how best to communicate as a predominantly oral culture yielded to one where the written word prevailed; as the world of manuscripts was transformed by the invention of the printing press; and as a world of mass communications developed progressively with the emergence  of newspapers, radio, cinema, TV and, more recently, digital media and social networks.  What one sees is a constant effort on the part of the Church to ensure that the Good News of the Gospel is made known to its contemporaries in ways that are culturally appropriate and that fully realize the potentials of new models of communications and developing technologies. 
            The publication of these materials on-line will provide the raw resources which will enable theologians and communications scholars to deepen their reflections on how the Church today should fulfil its responsibility to share its message with all people.  In his address to participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications in February 2011, Pope Benedict spoke of the challenge of finding new languages to ensure an adequate expression of the Christian message in the context of the radical transformation being effected in the culture of communications by new technologies.  In particular, he identified the need for theological reflection and engagement:  The world of communications involves the entire cultural, social and spiritual universe of the human person.  If the new languages have an impact on the way of thinking and living, this in some way also concerns the world of faith and the understanding and expression of it.  According to a classical definition theology means the understanding of faith and we know well that understanding, perceived as reflective and critical knowledge, is not alien to the cultural changes that are under way. 
            These materials will also become available to those who are involved in the formation of future priests and pastoral leaders.  The PCCS has long advocated that more attention should be given to the preparation of future Church leaders in the area of communications.  The availability of this body of teaching and reflection in digital form makes it accessible to seminaries and other places of formation which previously would have had great difficulty in providing curriculum content.  Moreover, the on-line publication has been designed in such a way as to encourage those who access it to create networks with other users.  It is to be hoped that this facility will allow those who are involved in formation to work together to share ideas about how best to form good pastoral communicators and to identify best practices in this regard.
            I would like to acknowledge the great work of Father Lever and Prof Sparaci in bringing forward and executing this project.  I think their efforts witness to their commitment, and that of the Faculty of Communications at the Salesian University, to foster scholarship and excellence in the field of communication’s studies.
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope Francis to children on Mission of Peace to Lourdes

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a personal letter to young boy taking part in a “mission of peace” to the Marian sanctuary at Lourdes.
Eight-year-old Damian had written to the Pope inviting him to Lourdes to be with the children taking part in the Mission, which was sponsored by UNITALSI, an Italian organization which helps sick people travel to Lourdes and other international sanctuaries. Pope Francis responded to Damian’s request for a video message with a personal letter that will be read during the grand Eucharistic Procession at Lourdes on Wednesday, on the occasion of the Tenth Pilgrimage of Children on the Mission of Peace.
In his message, the Holy Father assured the children that he was accompanying them in prayer, and was spiritually close to them. He asked the children to share with Mary and Jesus their expectations, hopes, joys, and sufferings, and to “trust in the help of Jesus and the support of Mary.”
“Your mission is both a prayer and a testimony,” the Pope said. “You show adults that children are able to pray, to love Jesus, the friend who never betrays, to help each other, to hope for a better future.”
The Pope concluded his letter by asking the children to pray for all children who are attempting to make the voyage to Lourdes, and to pray, too, for him.
Below, please find Vatican Radio’s translation of Pope Francis’ letter to Damian and the children participating in the Tenth Pilgrimage of Children on the Mission of Peace
Dear Damian,
Dear children on the Mission of Peace to Lourdes,
I know that your mission of peace brings you this year to the Sanctuary of Lourdes, to the feet of the Madonna, to request her protection. I am happy about your voyage, promoted by U.N.I.T.A.L.S.I., and I want to tell you that I am accompanying you with prayer: know that I am spiritually close to each one of you, especially, to you who are sick.
With confidence, tell the Madonna and her son Jesus about your expectations, your hopes, your joys and your sufferings, and trust in the help of Jesus and the support of Mary.
Your mission is both a prayer and a testimony: you show adults that children are able to pray, to love Jesus, the friend who never betrays, to help each other, to hope for a better future.
And in this moment in which we see so many young children who are attempting the voyages of hope, the Pope asks you to pray for them to the Madonna of Lourdes. I renew my greetings and my encouragement for each of you, and I ask you, please, to pray for me. I bless you from the heart. 
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope Francis album to be released in November

(Vatican Radio) A new CD combining the speeches of Pope Francis with different styles of music will be released on 27 November.
The album is called Wake Up! , and will bring together excerpts of speeches in different languages with music ranging from Gregorian chant to rock-n-roll.
Rolling Stone magazine’s website premiered the first track “Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!”, which uses a speech Pope Francis gave in South Korea, and the album can currently be pre-ordered on iTunes.
The Pope speaks in Italian, English, Spanish and Portuguese on the album, which has 11 tracks.
Among the contributors are Giorgio Kriegsch (also known as Nirvanananda Swami Saraswati), Tony Pagliuca, Mite Balduzzi, Giuseppe Dati, Lorenzo Piscopo, and the orchestral director Dino Doni.
Wake Up! Track List
1. “Annuntio Vobis Gadium Mangum”
2. “Salve Regina”
3. “Laudato Sie…”
4. “Poe Que’ Sufren Los Ninos”
5. “Non Lasciatevi Rubare La Speranza!”
6. “La Iglesia No Puede Ser Una Ong!”
7. “Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!”
8. “La Fa Es Entera, No Se Licua!”
9. “Pace! Fratelli!”
10. “Per La Famiglia”
11. “Fazei O Que Ele Vos Disser”
(from Vatican Radio)…

Cardinal Turkson hosts conference on mining operations

(Vatican Radio)  Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, recently hosted (September 18-20) a conference in the Vatican for Church representatives and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of major mining conglomerates to discuss the impact of mining operations on local communities. 
The conference follows two similar events organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the first a ‘day-of-reflection’ for many of the same mining executives held in 2013.  Then in July 2015 Cardinal Turkson hosted a three-day meeting for representatives from communities impacted by mining operations across the world.
Executives and engineers attending last week’s meeting represented major mining conglomerates, including Anglo American, Rio Tinto, and Newmont Mining, among others. 
Father Séamus Finn, OMI, – moderator of the conference – is the Board Chairman of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, which comprises nearly 300 organizations and collectively represents over $100 billion in invested capital.  He is also the Chief of Faith Consistent Investing of the OIP Investment Trust. 
Devin Watkins spoke to Fr. Séamus Finn after the conference in a wide ranging interview about the goals of the meeting.
Listen to the full interview:

Fr. Séamus noted that Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si’ was one of the major advances between the 2013 day of reflection and the recent meeting, which laid out “some very important issues about the fact that we share the planet with all sorts of other species, 7 billion people, and that as the human population continues to grow, we have some serious issues to tackle in relationship to – as the Holy Father says – the earth as our common home”.
He said that the meeting included presentations on Laudato si’ and that some of the mining engineers and CEOs “had read some of the document and were familiar with some of the issues, but they were also curious about how do you actually take some of the things that are in the Encyclical and translate some of them into their operations at mine sites”. 
“Most of the major companies”, Fr. Séamus said, “have put in place social and environmental policies that would be seen as consistent with what the Encyclical is talking about.  I think the question always is are they doing it fast enough and, if you’re living in an local mining community, can you actually notice that their doing something different.”
The goal for the meeting was to aid in translating Church social teaching into practical, ethical directives, which could be implemented at mining sites to minimize the negative impact on local communities. 
“One of the challenges for the Church is that we kind of gloss over quite often the fact that God created the world and he created everything in it, which includes the air, the animals, the human beings, the plants, but he also created the minerals that are under the subsurface.  So how do we appropriately use them, how do we extract them, how much gold do we need, how much silver do we need?  It’s a difficult balance and they [mining corporations] are coming to the Church and the churches and they’re saying ‘can you offer us some ethical, theological, religious wisdom about how we can be better companies’.”
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope Francis greets the sick in Paul VI hall

Before his General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis greeted four hundred disabled and sick people and their four hundred carers from the German branch of the Order of Malta, in the Paul the VI hall.
The Pope thanked them for their visit and empathized with the difficulties they were facing. He said, that being ill was very hard, even despite care from doctors and nurses and medicine, but he stressed, “there is faith”, faith that encourages us…”. The Holy Father went on to say that God became ill for us, in that, “he sent His Son, who took upon himself all our diseases, to the Cross .”  When we look to Jesus and his patience, the Pope added, our faith is stronger.
(from Vatican Radio)…