April 27, 2011: Renowned theologian, Father Robert Barron, will offer commentary on all NBC Network News programming during Pope John Paul II’s beatification on May 1. Barron was selected for his in-depth knowledge of Pope John Paul II and will be in Rome covering the event.
On May 1, Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate the Solemn Mass and Beatification before hundreds of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square and for millions of television viewers around the world. This is the first time a pope has beatified his immediate predecessor.
Over three million people journeyed to Rome for Pope John Paul II’s funeral in 2005, at which the crowds chanted “Santo Subito” meaning “sainthood now” in Italian. Predictions are at least that many people, and possibly more, will make the pilgrimage for the Mass and Beatification. More than 400,000 pilgrims are expected from John Paul’s native Poland alone.
The choice of May 1, the first Sunday after Easter, is also significant. John Paul II declared the first Sunday after Easter to be “Divine Mercy Sunday” in the year 2000. This date is also associated with totalitarian communist regimes as “May Day.” Pope John Paul II worked tirelessly to advance the cause of human rights for those who suffered under the oppression of Communist dictatorships, both in his native Poland and around the world.
Father Robert Barron is the founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, a global, non-profit media group. He is an acclaimed author, theologian, and the Francis Cardinal George Professor of Faith and Culture at Mundelein Seminary near Chicago.
Ordained in 1986, Fr. Barron has published numerous books, essays and DVD programs. He is a frequent commentator on faith and culture for The Chicago Tribune, NBC Nightly News, FOX News, Our Sunday Visitor, The Catholic Herald in London, the Washington Post, CNN and the Catholic New World. He lectures extensively in the United States and abroad, including the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas In Rome. Fr. Barron received his Master’s Degree in Philosophy from the Catholic University of America and a doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Institut Catholique de Paris. Cardinal Francis George calls Father Barron “one of the Church’s best messengers.”
Word on Fire (http://www.WordonFire.org) reaches millions of people through its weekly programs on Relevant Radio, EWTN, the popular Word on Fire YouTube Channel, and the Word on Fire website, which offers daily blogs, articles, commentaries and over ten years of weekly sermon podcasts.
MSNBC will start live coverage of the Beatification Mass at 4:00 AM Eastern on Sunday, May 1.
Read the Press Release here.