Catholic Media Center Proposed for Mideast

Plans Announced at Synod of Bishops

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 26, 2010 ( A new Catholic media center in the Middle East will house two Catholic television stations, three radio stations, a newspaper and a magazine, the Vatican announced.

During the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, which concluded Sunday, the Vatican press office highlighted the project, which is a joint effort of two major Middle Eastern Catholic television networks: Tele Lumiere (TV of Light), and its satellite television counterpart, NourSat.

The future Catholic media center will be the new home of both networks as well as three radio stations, both a newspaper and a magazine, and will be the headquarters for several Internet Web sites.

The groundbreaking ceremony took place on Oct. 1, 2008, in the Fatka region of Lebanon, and was attended by the Eastern Patriarchs. The new structure will be built on 27 square kilometers (approximately 10.5 square miles) of land donated by the Maronite Church.  

The proposed project will consist of three structures. The first, a large Church serving all Christian denominations, will be located in the center of the compound. A second building will accommodate all media aspects of the organization, including eight television studios, a 700-seat theater, three conference halls, six multipurpose halls, a music institute and a recording studio.

Three satellite television studios accommodating NourSat and two new channels — Nour al-Shabab and Nour al-Shaq — will also be located in the building. Other components of the building will be centers for both theological research and spiritual exercises, as well as facilities for employees and visitors.

A third building will provide 155 of the most technologically advanced offices in the region for the “Patriarchates, the diocese, the parishes and humanitarian institutions.”

Both Tele Lumiere and NourSat broadcast in Arabic, the language of Middle Eastern Catholics. However, in order to appeal to the growing demographic of Catholics in the region, a new project is under way to begin incorporating other languages into their broadcast spectrum. These include English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Syriac and Greek.

Both Tele Lumiere and NourSat are non-profit organizations started in the late 1990s by a group of Catholic laypeople committed to serving the Church.

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