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||Suffering of Syrian children soars as war goes into its 4th year||(Vatican Radio) This week marked the 3rd anniversary of the start of the armed conflict in Syria. Thousands of people across the world stood together in a global vigil on Wednesday to mark the anniversary, while Syrian voices joined a coalition of over 100 humanitarian and human rights groups to launch a pledge for world leaders to commit to making this the last anniversary marked by bloodshed. The campaign also calls for urgent action to ensure Syrians in need can access humanitarian aid. The charity, Christian Aid, is one of the organizations that joined the call. Janet Symes, Head of Christian Aid’s Middle East team says ordinary Syrian civilians, especially children, are suffering terribly. She spoke to Linda Bordoni. Listen to the full interview with Janet Symes of Christian Aid: 00:09:00:43 Symes says that as the conflict in Syria goes into its 4th year, the numbers of civilians, especially children, impacted by the war is soaring. According to the latest figures, there are “5.5 million Syrian children currently in need of humanitarian assistance and this figure has doubled in the past year.” Asked about the issue of humanitarian access, Symes concedes that this is “a major issue” as an estimated “quarter of a million people are living in besieged areas” where they are unable to access desperately-needed humanitarian assistance and often that access is being deliberately denied to civilians. “It’s “very, very distressing to see the withholding of humanitarian assistance being used as a weapon of war and that’s completely unacceptable.” Symes praises the role being played by many Syrian people who “are trying to promote a peaceful process” within Syria such as “faith leaders who are “trying to get local cease-fires” or help secure the release of political detainees. Finally, she says it’s important for the population to know that there are many people around the world who are “standing side-by-side with Syria.”||14 3 14||Free||View In iTunes|
||Vatican Radio signs accord with Malta’s Public Radio and TV, PBS||(Vatican Radio) Vatican Radio has signed a radio production and broadcasting agreement with Malta’s Public Broadcasting Services (PBS), the EU country’s national radio and television broadcaster. Vatican Radio’s Director General, Father Federico Lombardi signed the accord this week in Valletta together with PBS president Tonio Portughese . The agreement between the two long-time members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) will permit the exchange of programming and archive material and training in the field of broadcasting and telecommunications. Tracey McClure spoke with PBS President Tonio Portughese who says “for us it is an important break-through. The agreement is already yielding results because every Sunday at noon we are transmitting the live broadcast from St. Peter’s of the Angelus by Pope Francis. And this is very well considered by a wide cross-section of Maltese people, people in old peoples’ homes, people in hospitals, but also in private residences. So this is one step already which is very important for us to have this live transmission every Sunday.” Listen to Tracey McClure's brief interview with Tonio Portughese: 00:02:39:26 “Another area which is important to us as well is the possibility to have access to the eighty year old archives of Radio Vatican. This is a gold mine for us and a fact, also here we have a first important result through this collaboration: Radio Vatican has just passed on to us the Radio Message of July 1964 by Pope John XXIII addressed to the Maltese people” on the occasion of celebrations marking the 19th centenary of St. Paul’s shipwreck of St. Paul on Malta. “And this includes an exhortation,” Portughese adds, “an appeal to the Maltese people to protect and nurture their Christian faith and also a blessing in the Maltese language. This is an historical document which we are already using on Radio Malta, also analyzing it, having comments both by our Archbishop Msgr. Paul Cremona and by the Vicar General... so this is again another important point.” “The third aspect,” Portughese continues, “ from Monday through Friday at 8:05 o’clock on the Radio Malta, the national radio station, we broadcast what is called Vatican View Point (produced by Vatican Radio’s English Service). Normally at 8:00 punctually, we broadcast from London live, the BBC – British Broadcasting Corporation’s international news from London. And this is now being followed immediately by the Vatican View Point which is a high-level program, addressing various topics, various challenges related not only of interest to the Catholic Church but I would say to various aspects of our life: social, political and cultural life.” More on the interview with PBS’ Tonio Portughese will follow next week.||14 3 14||Free||View In iTunes|
||Lent: 'Now is the healing time decreed'...||(Vatican Radio) 'Now is the healing time decreed, For sins of heart, or word or deed'...That's exactly what Lent is, a time of healing, when we prepare to celebrate the Paschal Mystery with minds and hearts renewed'. Listen to this musical meditation presented by Monsignor Philip Whitmore and produced by Veronica Scarisbrick. Listen: 00:06:02:16||14 3 14||Free||View In iTunes|
||Who was the Prophet Elijah?||(Vatican Radio ) Who was the prophet Elijah and how is he connected to a chariot of fire? Scripture scholar, Mark Benedict Coleridge, Archbishop of Brisbane in Australia sheds light for us on this mighty character from our family tree of faith. A programme produced by Veronica Scarisbrick for the series 'Blood, Sweat and Tears in the Bible: our family tree of faith..' Listen: 00:04:54:14||14 3 14||Free||View In iTunes|
||March 16, 2014||Sunday Gospel - Jill Bevilacqua presents 'There's More in the Sunday Gospel than Meets the Eye' for the Second Sunday of Lent. Lent for the bereaved - Benedictine Abbott Timothy Wright shares with us a Lenten reflection dedicated to those who mourn. Second Sorrowful Mystery - Monsignor Philip Whitmore brings us a musical meditation focusing on the Second Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary. Listen: 00:28:58:92||14 3 14||Free||View In iTunes|
||March 15, 2014||The Good Samaritan - We bring you the words of Pope Francis speaking of the parable of the Good Samaritan as well as a reflection by theologian and well known author Jesuit Father Gerald O'Collins. Vatican II - Council expert and well known author Professor Norman Tanner SJ, sheds light on this momentous epoch in the history of the Catholic Church. Who was Elijah? - Scripture scholar, Mark Benedict Coleridge, Archbishop of Brisbane in Australia tells the story of one of the great characters from our family tree of faith. Listen: 00:29:00:00||14 3 14||Free||View In iTunes|
||Nato and Russia hold war games near Ukraine amid fears of Cold War||(Vatican Radio) Troops of the NATO military alliance and Russian forces are holding war games at different sides of the border with Ukraine, amid mounting concerns of a possible new Cold War between the West and Russia. Listen to the report by regional correspondent Stefan Bos... 00:03:05:47 Shooting their way close to a crisis zone, more than 8,000 Russian troops are massing near the border with Ukraine. In Rostov-on-Don where the ousted Ukrainian president Yanukovych has been staying, riffles, machine guns and rocket propelled grenades are used for war games. The show of force comes just days before voters on Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula will decide whether to join Russia in a controversial referendum. Thousands of Russian forces already control Crimea, prompting the European Union and the United States to threaten with sanctions against Russia as early as Monday. RUSSIA THREAT Russian President Vladimir Putin has made clear his country will retaliate. He said: "I would like to stress that Russia was not the initiator of the circumstances that we are talking about…” Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said he is ready to talk with Russia, but, he warned: "We fight for our freedom, we fight for our independence, we fight for our sovereignty and we will never surrender." Just across the other side of Ukraine, NATO is reacting to Russian military actions, with surveillance flights over Poland and Romania. The United States also sent fighter jets to take part in the exercise. NEIGHBOURS WORRY The flights happen amid worries in Ukraine's neighboring countries about the security situation and possible impact on energy supplies from Russia, on which they are heavily dependent. Foreign Ministers from Germany and the Visegrad Group — Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia — gathered in Budapest Thursday to discuss the crisis. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned Moscow that it risks "massive" political and economic damage if it refuses to change course on Ukraine and if the March 16 referendum goes ahead. She told Germany's parliament, the Bundestag, that “The territorial integrity of Ukraine cannot be called into question" a view shared by the EU and the G7 countries. She said, "If Russia continues its course of the last few weeks, it would not only be a catastrophe for Ukraine but also for neighbors who view it as a threat." Merkel added that, "It would change the European Union’s relationship with Russia and cause massive damage to Russia, economically and politically." Her vice chancellor Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel went even further. He said it was in President Vladimir Putin's "hands whether the Cold War era returned" and the weekend referendum in Crimea, likely to violate Ukraine's territorial integrity, would bring a second stage of EU sanctions on Moscow.||13 3 14||Free||View In iTunes|
||South African Archbishop: What most struck and surprised him about Pope Francis||(Vatican Radio) Among the many people in the Church from around the world who have been commenting on the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ election and giving their assessment of the past 12 months, was Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town. He spoke to Susy Hodges about his first impressions of Pope Francis and described how the Pope’s spontaneity struck a particular chord with him. Listen to the full interview with Archbishop Brislin: 00:03:09:05 Asked about his first impressions of the new Pope in March last year, Archbishop Brislin says he found Francis’ first words as Pope “very moving”, especially where he bent his head and asked people to pray for him, and says those words and gestures helped “to set the tone of his papacy” right from the start. Archbishop Brislin says Pope Francis’ “spontaneity” struck a particular “chord” with him, together with the Pope’s focus on mercy, forgiveness and his emphasis on inclusivity. When asked what most surprised him about the Pope’s words and actions, he pointed out there have been so many surprises over the past year but said his first surprise was when he learnt that the newly-elected Pope went back to his lodgings to pay “his own hotel bill, standing in line to pay it.” As for the future, Archbishop Brislin agrees with those who predict that “we’re in for quite a number of more surprises from Pope Francis.”||13 3 14||Free||View In iTunes|
||"Voices of Faith" in Vatican: Eric Whitacre and Hila Plitmann, finding faith in music||(Vatican Radio) The internationally acclaimed contemporary composer and conductor Eric Whitacre, known for his choral and wind ensemble compositions, says music “makes for a more compassionate, gentler society.” Whitacre, who was invited to open the Women’s Day event “Voices of Faith” March 8th in the Vatican cinema might have seemed an odd choice for the day. One of only two men to take the stage during the five hour story-telling event about the inspiring work and spirituality of women in the Church, Whitacre confesses his is an untraditional form of faith. He admits he was not raised a Christian and considers himself more of an agnostic. But for Whitacre, composing music is something like a religious experience: “I think what I still take from it is my childhood in Nevada – these vast, open skies and a sense of horizon that never ends… But daily, I feel a sense of wonder and awe that I think very religious and very faithful people also feel.” This sense of wonder that Whitacre experiences transpires in works performed by his Virtual Choir which brings together thousands of individual voices from around the globe into an online choir. At the Vatican cinema, Whitacre spoke of several of his compositions, such as Sleep and Lux Aurumque which topped more than four million online hits, and said it was a surprise and “a huge honor” to be invited to participate in “Voices of Faith.” The event was hosted by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and sponsored by the Fidel Gotz Foundation, a Catholic philanthropic organization. Giving a nod to International Women’s Day, Whitacre expresses gratitude for the contributions women have made to his life, “throughout my life women have made me everything that I am, beginning with my mother and my beautiful wife…my favorite teacher in the world… I’ve just been continually shaped and polished and softened by the women in my life and I am eternally grateful for that.” Whitacre’s wife, Grammy award winning operatic soprano Hila Plitmann, performed a solo at the Vatican event. An Israeli coming from what she describes as a “liberal” family, Plitmann speaks of the Vatican initiative as part of a generalized pattern of “openness to the other” that she sees around the world: Listen to Tracey McClure's conversation with Eric Whitacre and Hila Plitmann: 00:08:35:59 (a video link to Sleep and Lux Aurumque can be found below) “I feel nowadays that the world is really embracing its variety and its openness to acceptance and allowance of differences. And I feel that that is happening here too and I am really grateful that that seems to be the mood and that that’s what we’re giving to our children,” Plitmann says. Whitacre looks at his own Virtual Choir as just one of means of dialogue between people of different cultures and faiths, and even between people whose countries are at war… “In the Virtual Choir not only have we seen countries that are in conflict submit videos – we’ve had singers from Iraq and Iran, we’ve had singers from Jordan, Libya, Syria and Israel. We’ve had singers from African nations – some of them that are at war with themselves even right now, as is Syria. But more than that, we’ve seen online, these singers communicating with each other, sending each other these heartfelt messages saying ‘I loved your voice’ or ‘thank you for showing me this’ and then some have even become friends – which is extraordinary. There’s something so innocent and so human, especially about singing together, that I think it immediately becomes a ‘post-national’ exercise. Really, people are just stripped of their nationality and are just human beings.” Eric Whitacre talks about his Virtual Choir and how he found his musical "Epiphany" in Mozart's Requiem in this TED talk online:||13 3 14||Free||View In iTunes|
||Vatican online book marks first anniversary of Francis' pontificate||(Vatican Radio) To mark the first anniversary of the election of Pope Francis, the Vatican internet office has produced an online book with photographs and phrases taken from his speeches over the past 12 months. Available on the Vatican website in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese, the virtual publication is entitled “Do we want to be holy? Yes or no?”, a question Pope Francis posed to the crowds gathered for his Angelus address in St Peter’s Square in February. The 70 page booklet shows colour photos of the Pope with many of his characteristic expressions and gestures, embracing pilgrims, greeting crowds or interacting with young people. Each photo is accompanied by a short quote taken from one of his homilies or speeches over the past year since his election on the evening of March 13th , 2013. By clicking on the link below each quote, you can access the full text , together with a wealth of further links to photo galleries plus audio and video of the event itself. Starting with the now famous phrase “A Christian can never be sad”, the book showcases quotes taken from memorable events like World Youth Day in Brazil or the papal visit to Lampedusa, as well as from regular events like the Sunday Angelus or the Wednesday General Audiences over the past year. There are also several phrases taken from the Pope’s apostolic exhortation Evangeli Gaudium with links to the full English text. Listen to Philippa Hitchen's report: 00:01:34:46||13 3 14||Free||View In iTunes|
- Category: News & Politics
- Language: English
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