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Pope Francis

Nicolás Maduro meets with the pope in surprise visit to Rome

October 24, 2016. Pope Francis met with Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro. The private visit took place in the midst of the "worrysome political, social, and economic situation the country is going through, which is having serious repercussins in the daily life of the people,” according to a statement from the Vatican.

Holy See and Vietnam begin their 6th bilateral meeting today

October 24, 2016. The sixth meeting between the Holy See and a delegation of Vietnam begins today to improve relations between the two states. The Vatican delegation is headed by Antoine Camilleri, while the head of the Vietnamese delegation is Bui Thanh Son, with Foreign Affairs. The last meeting between the two state delegations was in September 2014.
Pope Francis

Pope to award 2016 Ratzinger Prize to Inos Biffi and Ioannis Kourempeles

October 20, 2016. The winners of this year's Ratzinger Prize will be Inos Biffi and Ioannis Kourempeles. The former, an Italian priest, is an expert in Systematic Theology and History of Medieval Theology. The latter is Greek and an Orthodox. He is an expert in History of Dogmas and Dogmatic Theology. He will be the first Orthodox to be awarded the prize given by the Joseph Ratzinger Foundation, considered by many the Nobel Prize of Theology.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis sends his condolences to Thais after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej

October 14, 2016. Pope Francis has sent a message to the Prime Minister of Thailand to express his condolences for the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He was 88 years old, and his reign spanned seven decades. Pope Francis said he is "deeply saddened” and he expresses his closeness to the members of the royal family and the Thai people.
Pope Francis

Pope sends 100,000 dollars for Hurricane Matthew victims

October 14, 2016. Through the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", Pope Francis will send $100,000 to the victims of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. The money will fund relief efforts in the first stages of recovery after the devastating effects of the hurricane. With this gesture, the pope wants to express his "closeness of spirit and fatherly support” to everyone in the affected area.
Pope Francis

Pope authorizes new decrees of heroic virtues for four potential saints

October 11, 2016. Pope Francis authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decree of heroic virtues to four people, who are being investigated by the Church for possible sainthood. The decrees were given to the following "Servants of God:”
Pope Francis

Pope Francis rejects death penalty on Twitter: #NoDeathPenalty

October 10, 2016. The Pope has has given his support via Twitter to the World Day Against the Death Penalty. The following message can be read in each of his nine accounts, in their respective languages: "Punishment should necessarily include hope! #NoDeathPenalty.”
Pope Francis

Pope Francis announces Synod about youth and vocation

October 6, 2016. It will be held in 2018 under the name "Youth, faith, and vocational discernment.” Preparations for the second Synod of bishops convened by Pope Francis are well underway.

Theme chosen for 2017 World Communications Day

September 29, 2016. The theme for the 2017 World Communications Day has officially been announced. Coming from the book of Isiah, the theme is: "Fear not, for I am with you: communicating hope and trust in our time.”
Pope Francis

Pope will not be able to travel to Israel on Friday to attend the funeral of Shimon Peres

September 28, 2016. Despite the rumors that Pope Francis will travel to Israel to attend Shimon Peres funeral, the Vatican has issued a statement officially announcing a confirmation for the pope's scheduled visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan will remain as planned on Friday. The pope spoke warmly about the former leader and sent out a telegram of condolences:

Vatican launches international sacred music competition


The practice goes back centuries, sacred music has been an instrumental part in the liturgy of the Catholic Church. Now, the Vatican is calling on entries from composers interested in keeping this ancient art alive.

The Francesco Siciliani International Contest is part of the Sagra Musicale Umbra, one of the oldest sacred music festivals in Italy. This will be the second year they host the contest.

Contest director
"In the first edition, we had 210 entries from around the world. They came from all over the world. From Japan, the Philippines, really from continents very far away.”

Organizers are hoping to exceed those numbers this time around. The idea to set up the contest came from Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

Composers have until June 1, 2014 to submit their entries to the contest organizers in Italy. 

Contest director
"The way it works is that they must send their composition in the style and language they choose. With a choir, with or without an organ, but about the Pater Noster, which we chose the theme for this year's contest.”

An international jury will then judge each entry separately, without knowing who the composer is. The top three finalists will then present their pieces live at the Musica Sacre Umbra in September 2014. 

The pieces will be performed by St. Jacob's Chamber Choir, one of the most famous in the world. Afterward, the jury, the audience and music critics will vote and decide who to give their award to.

Contest director
"The Pater Noster doesn't have many prestigious compositions, so we hope to make a great contribution to the musical repertoire with new beautiful versions of the Pater Noster.”

Over the centuries, the Church has looked to composers to inject the emotion and reverence that only sacred music can convey. This timelessness is once again at the forefront, as the Vatican looks to new talent to continue this integral part of Catholic culture.

AA/Perugia Musica Classica