I WANT TO START today’s column with an apology for not acknowledging that the USA Water Polo women’s team also won a gold medal two days ago in Toronto, Canada at the Pan Am Games! I gave some space to the USA men’s team gold medal victory simply because I had met them on a flight, was their guide for a morning at the Vatican, have been keeping in touch with them and have followed their matches. I’ll have to do the same someday for the women! Kudos, ladies! On to Rio!
ROME REPORTS had an interesting news video today about Benedictine monks, in their album of Gregorian chant entitled, “Benedicta” made it onto iTunes’s Top 40, debuted as number two in the Classical Music category on the Billboard charts, and ranked number one on Amazon. “Few are surprised,” says the report, “by a debut album of Gregorian chant topping even (Andrea) Bocelli in the charts. After all, Gregorian chant has a centuries-long head start.” Here’s the report: http://www.romereports.com/2015/07/17/benedictine-monks-top-andrea-bocelli-on-the-best-selling-album-charts
HOW HOT IS IT IN ROME? I am running out of adjectives but I am seriously thinking of opening a lemonade stand! Although, come to think of it, perhaps I’d have more success with a limoncello stand! I am not unaware, by the by, that many parts of the world are suffering from equally high temps! See the ANSA heat wave story below.
VATICAN INSIDER GOES BEHIND THE SCENES OF A PAPAL TRIP
This week I bring you a Special on the behind-the-scenes events in the making of a papal trip. This is a Vatican Insider look at the team of people who work tirelessly behind the scenes to prepare and execute an international papal journey. Interesting stuff – stay tuned!
For those of you who might be new to “Vatican Insider” – welcome! Here’s how to listen: In the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live outside the U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:30 am (Eastern time) and re-airs Sundays at 4:30 pm (ET). Check for your time zone. Past shows are found in Vatican Insider archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=
PAPAL HELIPORT TO SERVE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL
(ANSA) Rome, July 17 – The Pope’s heliport inside the Vatican will be made available to the nearby Bambino Gesù children’s hospital for emergencies, a Vatican statement said on Friday. The move is the result of an agreement between the hospital and the Governorate of the State of Vatican City. Pope Francis felt “joy” and “expressed his goodwill for an agreement that will be of great help to the children,” the statement said.
PAPAL TWITTER ACCOUNT SURPASSES 22 MLLION
The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, notes on its page at news.va that South America is making waves on the Popes’s Twitter handle, @Pontifex. Just as Francis’ apostolic visit in Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay concluded, the Pope’s followers in nine languages surpassed 22 million. This record comes just 41 days after that number had reached 21 million.
The Popes’ visit to the three South American countries had an immense impact on social networks around the world. Comments, discussions and retweets surrounded the Pope’s addresses and pictures were posted by various media outlets and by those participating in the events.
In the course of the week of 5 July, the followers grew from 20,000 to 29,000. The Spanish account reached 9,347,116 followers making it the most popular language. English currently has 6,586,373 followers and Italian is in third place with 2,912,635.
Also during the visit, the newspaper’s Twitter account saw an increase. Currently more than 45,000 people follow
UNAFRAID OF ISIS, IRAQI ASSYRIAN GIRL’S FAITH BEYOND VIRAL
Each day I receive a daily news feed from www.aina.org, a website that I follow given my interest in all things pertaining to Christians, the Church, the Middle East and the Holy Land. I saw this story posted today by Gary Lane (http://www.cbn.com) and bring you a few paragraphs, after which you can click on the link and watch the wonderful video of the two Iraqi Assyrian best friends as they sing: http://www.aina.org/news/20150717040453.htm
Unafraid of ISIS, Iraqi Assyrian Girl’s Faith Beyond Viral
ERBIL, Iraq — It’s now been one year since the Islamic State overran much of northern Iraq. ISIS has brutalized, raped, and murdered thousands.
CBN News shared many of the horror stories, but we also learned of one little Christian overcomer (sic) who inspired us. The unshakeable faith of young Maryam Behnam has encouraged Christians in Iraq and around the world (AINA 2015-03-26).
For Iraq, the summer of 2014 was like no other as a militant Muslim group know as the Islamic State overran the city of Mosul and nearby villages. Thousands were killed, or kidnapped and more than a million people fled into Iraqi Kurdistan.
Over the last year, CBN News brought you many reports from Iraq about Christians who have been forced from their homes because of ISIS. But young Maryam’s story went viral, so we thought we’d introduce you to her once again.
Fearless Faith of a Child
Late last year, the world was amazed to hear Maryam tell a Sat 7 reporter she forgives ISIS….FOR THE REST OF THIS MARVELOUS STORY AND VIDEO, CLICK HERE: http://www.aina.org/news/20150717040453.htm;
HOW HOT IS IT?!
(ANSA) – Rome, July 16 – Italy is baking in the hottest heat wave of the summer with air from Africa expected to ratchet up the temperatures and generate more of the steamy breathless conditions Italians call ‘afa’. “This month will go on record as one of the ‘exceptional’ ones, as far as temperatures and persistence (of heat) goes,” said Bernardo Gozzini, a researcher from the National Research Council’s office.
The monsoon-like air in Rome and Milan is so sticky it is “like being in Thailand,” experts said Thursday, adding that there will be no letup in the torrid tropical temperatures that are threatening the vulnerable and giving people restless nights until at least the end of the month. Meteorologists said the Bel Paese continues to feel the sizzling impact of an African anticyclone that has sent temperatures soaring to nearly 40 degrees (104 Fahrenheit) across the country, including the islands.
Experts on Thursday predicted the next couple of days will be the hottest in July. Italy’s health ministry put the heat risk level to its highest, level 3-red, for 14 cities across the peninsula on Thursday, growing to 22 cities on Saturday. Although temperatures topped out at 39 on Wednesday, the level of perceived heat was much higher, as much as 47 degrees (116 degrees Fahrenheit) in Tuscany, according to a bulletin from the region’s Meteorological Laboratory, which said, “We’re expecting a boiling weekend.”
Perceived temperatures in Veneto, especially in the plains, felt as high as 42 degrees due to sun exposure and high humidity, although actual temperatures ranged between 36 and 37, seven degrees higher than average. In Liguria, a forest fire alert is in force for the entire region due to the elevated temperatures and dry conditions, and the forest service has placed a ban on campfires during the period of high alert.
The heat is taking its toll on agriculture as well, with cows under stress from the high temperatures drinking nearly double their daily intake of water, and a loss so far of 50 million litres of Italian milk due to the heat wave, 20 million in Lombardy alone.
Weather experts expect the heat to subside a bit at the beginning of next week, when cooler air from the north will see temperatures drop a few degrees, only to rise again in the days to follow. With most people seeking shade during the hottest parts of the day there have been few reports of heat exhaustion, still less deaths among those most at risk – young children, the elderly and those with chronic heart or lung conditions.