Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY – A group of Vatican Radio employees gave Pope Benedict XVI a brand new iPod nano loaded with special Vatican Radio programming and classical music.
To honor the pope's first visit to the radio's broadcasting headquarters, the radio's technical staff decided the pencil-thin, state-of-the-art audio player would make the perfect gift.
Now that Vatican Radio offers podcasts in eight different languages, the pope has the technological capability to plug in and import the radio's audio files.
Pope Benedict visited the programming and broadcasting hub of "the pope's radio" March 3 to mark the station's 75th anniversary.
Hundreds of radio journalists, sound engineers and support staff lined the radio's hallways to greet the pope and present him with gifts, mostly special in-house productions such as CDs and books on the church, religion and the pope.
"We don't have a huge gift to give to the pope, but we do have small signs of our work" to give him, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican Radio's general director, told Catholic News Service.
Though the white iPod nano is tiny, it still made an impression on the pope. When the head of the radio's technical and computer support department, Mauro Milita, identified himself and handed the pope the boxed iPod, the pope was said to have replied, "Computer technology is the future."
The pope's new 2-gigabyte digital audio player already was loaded with a sampling of the radio's programming in English, Italian and German and musical compositions by Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Frederic Chopin, Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky and Igor Stravinsky. The stainless steel back was engraved with the words "To His Holiness, Benedict XVI" in Italian.
Once the pope, who is also a pianist, gets the hang of the device's trademark click wheel, he will be able to listen to a special 20-minute feature produced by the radio's English program that highlights Mozart's life and music to commemorate the 250th anniversary of his birth.
The iPod also contains an English-language radio drama on the life of St. Thomas a Becket and a 10-minute feature on the creation of Vatican Radio, with original sound clips of the inventor of the radio, Guglielmo Marconi, and Vatican Radio's founder, Pope Pius XI.
The pope also can relive the historical papal transition of April 2005. On the player, the radio's German program included a mix of news and interviews done during the death of Pope John Paul II, the conclave and the election of Pope Benedict.
With his new iPod, the pope can access the radio's daily podcasts, as well as download music and audio books from the Internet.
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