WASHINGTON (November 26, 2002) -- The Holy See's Pontifical Council for Social Communications has released information for broadcasters regarding the coordination of Worldwide Telecasts of the Christmas ceremonies of the Holy Father:
1) Tuesday, December 24, 2002, Christmas Eve, 22.55 - 00.45 hours UTC (GMT), Midnight Mass in St. Peter"s Basilica, celebrated by Pope John Paul II.
2) Wednesday, December 25, 2002, Christmas Day, 10.55 - 11.40 hours UTC (GMT), Christmas Greetings and Blessing "Urbi et Orbi" of the Holy Father, in St. Peter"s Square.
Television coverage of these ceremonies, for worldwide distribution, will be provided by RAI Radiotelevisione Italiana, in cooperation with the Vatican Television Center and coordinated by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
The broadcasts will be available in the European area through the EBU (European Broadcasting Union - Eurovision) and in Latin America through OTI (Organizacion de la Television Iberoamericana). Broadcasters in those areas should contact the respective organization.
Otherwise, the international distribution of the broadcasts will be done through Intelsat. To receive the video feed and international sound via Intelsat, television broadcasters should ask their telecommunications provider to contact Telespazio (Mr. Sergio Bernardi, Telex 620424 TSPZRO I; Fax +39 06 407 1790; Tel. +39 06 4079 3487).
Satellite up-link of the broadcasts is offered free to all countries outside the European area. In the case of developing countries with special difficulties, and on the recommendation of the respective Pontifical Representation, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications will reimburse the satellite down-link costs (but not the costs of the local broadcast).
The broadcasts will be accompanied, upon request, by Vatican-provided commentaries in English, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Ukrainian. A commentary in Italian, provided by RAI, will also be available.
For the Americas, a video feed complete with the Vatican commentary in Spanish will be available through Telespazio (for contact information, see above).
Commentary positions for interested broadcasters will also be available at the Braccio di Carlo Magno, Vatican City, upon request to Mrs. Laura Maggiore (RAI Eurovision Office, Rome; Tel. +39 06 3317 2814; Fax +39 06 3317 1151; E-mail email@example.com).
There is also information regarding audio:
The digitalization of the Intelsat network permits the use of additional audio channels. Therefore, along with the feed of video and international sound, the satellite transmissions in all regions will carry clean feeds on separate channels of the Vatican commentaries in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish. These services may be ordered through Telespazio.
In the case of countries not yet equipped for digital audio down-link, and for all other commentary services, participating broadcasters should ask their telecommunications providers to contact Telecom Italia (Mr. S. Corsaletti, Telex 610101 ITCTX I; Fax +39 06 3689 4506/4413; Tel. +39 06 3689 4432/4067).
Broadcasters are urged to make their requirements known without delay to the respective provider.
Archbishop John Foley is President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.