Art, Music, Preaching

Sandro Magister reports on a new television and web initiative that features the homilies of Pope Benedict, the art commentary of Timothy Verdon, and music from the tradition of chant and polyphony:

Beginning this Saturday, the vigil of the first Sunday of Lent, Benedict XVI will be on TV every Saturday with the best of his preaching: that of the homilies for the Masses, that of the Angelus commentaries on the Gospel of the day.But in addition to the pope's words, there will be more. The broadcast will be entitled "Sunday with Benedict XVI." And it will unfold in three closely related segments: art, words, music.The words, the central segment, will be those of pope Joseph Ratzinger himself. From the archive of his almost six years of homilies and Angelus addresses a now rich repository will be taken and broadcast in the original audio and video recording, from Saturday to Saturday, the excerpts that will best convey the meaning and flavor of the texts of the following day's Mass.The art will act as "overture" to the broadcast. Each time, the great art historian Timothy Verdon will display and illustrate three masterpieces of Christian painting connected to the themes and subjects of the next day's Mass, the same ones brought to light by the pope.And finally the music, as the crowning of everything. The "Cantori Gregoriani" conducted by maestro Fulvio Rampi among the best interpreters of Latin rite liturgical chant in the world will sing the entrance and communion chant of the proper of each Sunday, in the purest Gregorian chant, with a commentary by their conductor that will unveil their musical and liturgical wonders, in some cases already anticipated by the pope himself."Sunday with Benedict XVI" will last for half an hour. It will air in Italy every Saturday at 5:30 p.m., with a repeat at 10:35. And it will accompany the entire liturgical year, with no hiatus.The channel that will air this new program is TV 2000, owned by the Italian episcopal conference, with Dino Boffo as program director and studio headquarters in Rome. It can be seen on satellite and cable in Italy, and via streaming all over the world, on its website:

Magister gives a preview of this Saturday's presentation:

on the vigil of the first Sunday of Lent, Verdon will illustrate the Gospel of the temptation with a painting by Jacopo Tintoretto in the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, with a panel by Duccio di Buoninsegna kept in the Frick Collection in New York, and with a mosaic from 5th-century Ravenna depicting Jesus multiplying the loaves.As for the musical part, the performances in Gregorian chant of parts of the proper of the Sundays of Lent will take place in a church in Cremona, that of Sant'Abbondio, which is also the church in which the great Claudio Monteverdi was baptized, having been born in Cremona.But from Easter onward, the chants will be performed in other places as well, including some of the most beautiful churches of Rome.

Robert P. Imbelli, a long-time Commonweal contributor, is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York. A book of essays in his honor, The Center Is Jesus Christ Himself, edited by Andrew Meszaros, was published this year by The Catholic University of America Press.

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