A ZENIT DAILY DISPATCH

TV Coverage of the Great Jubilee Celebrations
SECRET OF TRANSMITTING PAPAL EVENTS ON TV 65
Networks Meet in Rome to Prepare for Great Jubilee

VATICAN CITY, FEB 11, 1999 (ZENIT).- How will the television networks of the world cover the Great Jubilee of the year 2000? This is the question to which the participants in today's seminar meeting in the Vatican began to give an answer. The seminar included producers, directors and commentators of television programs transmitting pontifical liturgical celebrations.

The meeting was organized by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the Office for Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff and the Vatican Television Center. According to Bishop Piero Marini, maestro of the pontifical liturgical celebrations, the objective of the meeting is "to make the 65 television networks of the world present at the meeting see the need to transmit the Holy Father's celebrations during the Great Jubilee as religious events and moments of communion for all the faithful. It is not simply the transmission of unique and unrepeatable shows."

During the seminar, questions like the following were answered: What do the liturgists hope will be transmitted? What are the expectations of the TV spectators for these transmissions? Which Jubilee celebrations merit special attention on the part of TV networks? There are also reports by different TV networks, divided by continents and linguistic areas, in which expectations are expressed. "To these two confronting demands -- Bishop Marini explained -- a good answer must be assured. On one hand, there must be good programs from the point of view of technical direction; and on the other, the transmission of serious content, of high religious values, which will create unity among all the faithful with the Holy Father."

When inaugurating the meeting, Archbishop John Patrick Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, disclosed that the Knights of Columbus, the men's Catholic fraternal organization in the United States, which has most generously covered the cost of the satellite link-ups for worldwide transmission of telecasts of major papal ceremonies since 1974, has indicated that it is willing to cover such link-up costs for the following ceremonies connected with the Holy Year 2000. The TV channels will be able to access them at no cost.

--Christmas, 1999: the opening of the Holy Door and Christmas Midnight Mass in Saint Peter's Basilica;

-- the Christmas blessing and message 'Urbi et Orbi' at noon on Christmas Day;

-- January 18, 2000: Opening of the Holy Door at Saint Paul-Outside-the-Walls and opening of the Week of Prayer of Christian Unity; if the Holy Father takes part in the closing of the week on January 25 instead of in the opening week, this date -- rather than January 18 -- would be used for the worldwide telecast;

-- March 25, 2000: liturgical celebration from the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, in possible linkage with Saint Mary Major in Rome and other Marian Shrines around the world;

-- April 21, 2000: Good Friday Way of the Cross from the Coliseum in Rome;

--April 23, 2000: Easter Mass and Blessing 'Urbi et Orbi' in Saint Peter's Square;

-- May 18, 2000: 80th birthday of Pope John Paul II with Mass in Saint Peter's Square concelebrated with thousands of priests from around the world;

-- June 18-25, 2000: one of the celebrations from the International Eucharistic Congress in Rome (this could be a one-hour edited program to be offered around the world, with special attention given to the Corpus Christi procession from the Basilica of Saint John Lateran to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major on June 22);

--August 19-20, 2000: World Youth Day --either live coverage or a program of highlights offered worldwide;

--October 14-15, 2000: World Encounter of the Holy Father with Families, including celebration of the Sacrament of Matrimony during Mass in Saint Peter's Square;

--December 24, 2000: Midnight Mass; --December 25, 2000: Blessing and Message 'Urbi et Orbi';

--January 6, 2001: Epiphany: closing of Holy Door at Saint Peter's Basilica.

Bishop Foley recommended to the TV networks present at the seminar that during the coverage of pontifical celebrations, political comments be avoided, as it is not about a space for information but a worship event. "We should provide enough information so that those watching -- whether familiar with Catholic liturgy or not -- might understand what is going on, but we should provide enough personal silence so that they might hear the prayers and music of the liturgy and enter into its prayerful spirit. In a medium so often accused of the neglect of the spiritual and religious aspect of life, we provide -- or should provide -- an opportunity for people to reflect, to pray and to confront the ultimate reality of their lives. For all of us, that is not only a professional commitment, but a personal privilege. May God grant us the grace to do it well during this historic Holy Year 2000," he concluded. ZE99021109

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