OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA - Catholic Bishops launch Australian Catholic Church Television

Tuesday, 1 March 2005

Sydney (Fides Service) - Christians in Australia have a new means of listening to the Word of God, hearing meditations on the Bible or following televised Mass thanks to Aurora Community Television, opened by the Catholic Church Television Australia (CCTVA). Aurora TV is an independent non-profit channel which uses Foxtel and Austar digital satellite network
The channel will serve mainly Christian religious communities, non profit associations, NGOs and the general public, because besides Catholic programmes it will also offer space for broadcasts by other bodes including the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, UNICEF, Mission Australia, UN High Commission for Refugees. The programmes will focus on spiritual, cultural topics and also social questions. Appointed Director Jesuit Father Richard Leonard said “For years the Catholic Church had little space on Australian television. So the Media Commission of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference decided to take the opportunity of satellite broadcasting to be more present on TV in our country in order to spread the Good News of Christ and the vision of the Catholic Church”.
Foxtel and Austar Digital reaches 750,000 homes in Australia but it is expected to reach as many as 2 million families in the next few years. Besides programmes on spirituality and culture, Aurora TV broadcasts daily Mass mainly for the sick and disabled persons.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 1/3/2005 righe 20 parole 206)Sydney (Fides Service) - Christians in Australia will have a new means of listening to the Word of God and meditations on the Bible and following televised religious services thanks to Australian Catholic Church Television launched by the Australian Catholic Bishops.
Aurora TV, an independent non-profit channel broadcast free of charge by Foxtel and Austar digital operators as part of their community obligation, provides a voice for faith-based groups, not-for-profit service companies and NGOs. The Catholic Bishops took the opportunity to launch Australian Catholic Church Television CCTVA and other groups taking part include the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, UNICEF, Anglican Media Mission Australia, UNHCR, Australian Asian Youth Centre.
The “face” of CCTVA is Fr Richard Leonard Jesuit priest and film critic, appointed director. “For many years the Catholic Church has had little direct presence on Australian television and the Bishops’ Media Commission seized the opportunity to access an increasingly important television outlet where we can put to air programmes from which we think the Catholic and wider community will benefit. We want CCTVA to be of service to Catholics throughout Australia as well as getting our message out to the people who up to this point don’t come near the Church” Fr Leonard said
Foxtel and Austar Digital reach 750,000 homes in Australia but with the phasing in of an inclusive digital service in the next few years, that number will climb 2.25 million homes with a projected reach of nearly 7 million Australians. “That’s the sort of marketplace where the Church should have a voice” Father Leonard said. Initially CCTVA will broadcast Mass three times a week on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday at 10am as well as putting to air Australian documentary films that focus on a liturgical season, a feast day or a national observance. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 1/3/2005 righe 20 parole 206)