New TV program joins Pope's homilies with artistic and musical treasures


March 12 will mark the debut of a new television series combining the words of Pope Benedict XVI with the Church's traditional sacred art and music.

“Sunday with Benedict XVI,” broadcast on the Italian bishops' TV 2000 network, will draw upon six years of the Pope's homilies, Angelus commentaries, and Gospel reflections, supplemented by portions of his writings and the works of the Church Fathers.

The regular Saturday evening program will incorporate selections that are based on the Mass readings for every Sunday of the liturgical year, taken from the audio and video archives of Pope Benedict's pontificate. 

Fr. Timothy Verdon, an American-born priest and art historian based in Florence, will set the scene for the Pope's scriptural reflections each week.

At the beginning of each program, Fr. Verdon will showcase and discuss three masterpieces of Christian artwork that pertain to the themes and topics of the Pope's preaching and the weekly Mass readings. Fr. Verdon is a consultant to the Papal Commision for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, and has drawn inspiration from Pope Benedict's teachings on the value of sacred art.

A world-renowned conductor of Gregorian chant, Fulvio Rampi, will lead the “Cantori Gregoriani” choir in singing the traditional entrance and and communion chants for each Sunday of the year.

Rampi, a professor of Gregorian chant at the Papal Institute of Sacred Music, will also provide a commentary linking the weekly Scripture readings with the traditional Latin hymns. The members of the Cantori Gregoriani hope their participation will invite a renewed interest in Gregorian chant, in keeping with the privileged position intended for it by the Second Vatican Council.

The half-hour program will air every Saturday on TV 2000 at 5:30 p.m,, with a repeat broadcast at 10:35 p.m. Viewers outside Italy can stream the program via the station's website, Although the program will currently only be broadcast in Italian, Catholic stations in other countries have expressed interest in translating the program for broadcast in their own languages.

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