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.

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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 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 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)


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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)


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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)


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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)


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Pope Audience: God builds bridges when we build walls

(Vatican Radio) In his first General Audience since his return from an Apostolic Journey to Cuba and the United States, Pope Francis recalled that visit in an overcast St Peter’s Square on Wednesday. He told the thousands of pilgrims and tourists gathered, that in Cuba, he wished to embrace all Cubans without exception, to proclaim the transforming power of God’s mercy, and to renew the hope expressed by Saint John Paul II that Cuba will open itself to the world and the world to Cuba.  He also underlined how travelling from Cuba to the United States of America was a symbolic step, likening it to a bridge God is rebuilding.

The Pope said, God always wants to build bridges when we build walls, and he stressed, “walls always collapse.”

Speaking about the next leg of his journey to the United States, the Pope called to mind his visit to Washington, noting America’s tradition of religious freedom and its’ contribution to the life of the nation. 

The Holy Father also recalled his address to the United Nations in New York, saying he, renewed the Church’s encouragement for its efforts to promote peace, justice, integral human development and care for creation and reaffirmed his call to stop and prevent violence against ethnic and religious minorities and against civilian populations.

Turning his attention to the final part of his U.S trip, the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, Pope Francis said, it was an opportunity to celebrate “the beauty of God’s plan for the family, which, as the fruitful covenant between a man and a woman, is the key to a future of authentic prosperity and solidarity for our world.”

Then, the Holy Family, greeting English speaking pilgrims, asked for prayers for the Synod on the Family which opens on the 4th October, and invited them to to be witnesses of God’s presence in the world and through family life. 




(from Vatican Radio)


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New Album of Sistine Chapel Choir recorded in Sistine Chapel

(VIS/Vatican Radio)  For the first time ever, the Vatican has opened the doors of the iconic Sistine Chapel for a studio recording with the Sistine Chapel Choir – the world’s oldest choir. The new album, “Cantate Domino. The Sistine Chapel and the music of Popes,” captures the sounds of the extraordinary acoustics of the Sistine Chapel, with music performed by the Pope’s own choir.  The album was released on Deutsche Grammophon on 25 September, and a presentation was given on Tuesday in the Holy See Press Office.

Presenting the CD were Archbishop Georg Ganswein, Prefect of the Papal Household; Msgr. Massimo Palombella, S.D.B., director of the Pontifical Sistine Chapel Choir; Mark Wilkinson, president of Deutsche Grammophon; and Mirko Gratton, director of the classical music section of Universal Italia.

“The Pontifical Musical Choir, also known as the Sistine Chapel Choir, is among the oldest choral institutions in the world and has the unique characteristic of being the Pope’s choir,” explained Archbishop Ganswein.

He said this characteristic makes it part of the life of the ‘Pope’s Home’ and places the Pontifical Sistine Chapel Choir within the structure of the Prefecture of the Papal Household, and gives it the specific task of being an entity whose service is entirely devoted to the Pope.

“The Prefecture is the point of reference for the Choir in terms of its artistic, administrative and disciplinary management,” he continued. “The release of a musical CD under the prestigious Deutsche Grammaphon label is an unprecedented event in the history of the Pontifical Musical Choir, and attests to the quality and professionalism that this Institution has achieved, thanks to its serious and diligent work under the guidance of Maestro Massimo Palombella.”

The album, released on 25 September, includes Renaissance music written for the Sistine Chapel Choir by Palestrina, Lassus and Victoria. There are also two pieces of Gregorian chant, alongside world premiere recordings of the original version of Allegri’s fabled Miserere (Sistine Codex of 1661) and a Nunc dimittis attributed to Palestrina which is still used during papal celebrations. Cantate Domino offers listeners the chance to hear these pieces as the composers intended – in Latin and in the surroundings for which they were originally written. In order to capture the magic, mystery and beauty of the music in such unique surroundings, Deutsche Grammophon set up a specially constructed studio within the Chapel. The mixing desk was set up in an ante-chamber, next to the “Sala del Pianto” (where the newly elected pontiff first dresses in the papal vestments).

“The Sistine Chapel was consecrated in 1483, and since then it has been home, without interruption, of the Pontifical Musical Choir,” explained Msgr. Palombella. “In recent years, after intense and specific study of Renaissance religious music and its aesthetic importance, we have been able to undertake an interesting and significant recording. My hope is that these musical masterpieces will reach millions of people throughout the world, bringing them into contact with the historical culture and profound spirituality of the Catholic Church.”

The Sistine Chapel Choir is made up of 20 adult singers and 30 boy choristers. Among the singers is British baritone Mark Spyropoulos, who is the first British full-time member of the choir.

“This extraordinary choir, which has served successive popes since the early centuries of Christianity, has never before made a commercial recording in its home,” said Mark Wilkinson, President of Deutsche Grammophon. “This very special record has the power, the beauty, and the excellence to find a truly global audience ‒ and an audience beyond the traditional confines and boundaries of classical music.”

The release of Cantate Domino stands as a prelude to the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, a Holy Year decreed by Pope Francis, which begins in December. During the last Holy Year in 2000, 25 million pilgrims visited Rome and the Vatican. 


1. Gregorian Chant – Rorate caeli desuper

2. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525–1594) – Ad te levavi

3. Orlande de Lassus (1532–1594) – Magnificat VIII toni

4. Gregorian Chant – Lumen ad revelationem gentium

 attrib. Palestrina – Nunc dimittis (World premiere recording)

5. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina – Super flumina Babylonis

6. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina – Improperium exspectavit cor meum

7. Gregorio Allegri (1582–1652) – Miserere Sistine Codex of 1661 (World premiere recording)

8. Gregorian Chant – Christus factus est pro nobis

9. Felice Anerio (c. 1560–1614) – Christus factus est pro nobis

10. Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548–1611) – Popule meus (Improperia)

11. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina – Adoramus te, Christe

12. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina – Sicut cervus

13. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina – Angelus Domini

14. Orlande de Lassus – Iubilate Deo

15. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina – Constitues eos principes

16. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina – Tu es Petrus

There is also a trailer and excerpt from Allegri: Miserere on Youtube.

(from Vatican Radio)


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