01/11/2015 Songs of Praise


01/11/2015

David Grant is in Rome as the Archbishop of Canterbury's cricket team take on the Pope's XI in the spirit of closer relations. Plus news of this year's Children in Need.


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Transcript


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Welcome to Songs Of Praise

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from the magnificent St Peter's Square in the Vatican,

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home to the Holy Father, Pope Francis,

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and a place of pilgrimage for millions of visitors to Rome.

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But I'm not here to sightsee.

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I'm here for a very special sporting occasion -

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a game of interdenominational cricket.

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The Archbishop of Canterbury's team

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have been invited by the Pope's St Peter's XI

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to come and pray and play together and as a big cricket fan,

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this is one game I didn't want to miss.

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Whilst in Rome, I meet the first ever British member

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of the oldest choir in the world, the Sistine Chapel Choir.

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And, as BBC's Children in Need is just around the corner,

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we're in Gloucester to see how a children's charity help with

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the challenge of raising a disabled child.

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"'No,' said the three little pigs."

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Do you want me to read it again now?

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And, as always, we have some beautiful music,

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including a hymn from Canterbury Cathedral.

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And, as today is All Saints' Day,

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what better way to begin than with the beautiful Holy, Holy, Holy?

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# Holy, holy, holy!

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# Lord God Almighty!

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# Early in the morning

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# Our song shall rise to thee

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# Holy, holy, holy!

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# Merciful and mighty!

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# God in three persons

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# Blessed Trinity!

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We're in Rome at a significant time, at the end of the Catholic Synod,

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when bishops from around the world have been discussing family issues.

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Pope Francis seems keen to reach out and build bridges between Christians.

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The current friendship between him

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and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby,

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means that there's a chance for closer ties between the two churches.

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A game of cricket represents the perfect opportunity to cement

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that friendship further, and that's why this lot, the Archbishop

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of Canterbury's XI, are here to play the Pope's St Peter's team.

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Are you ready, boys? ALL: Howzat?!

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The story began in September last year, when the Pope's team

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made its debut when they took on the Anglicans in Canterbury.

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It's just got the most marvellous atmosphere.

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It's the most brilliant bit of ecumenism I've seen in years.

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Back then, the Archbishop's team came out victorious.

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Now they're in Rome for the return match.

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Before the players square up to one another on the pitch,

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there's a chance to meet socially.

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The teams have been invited to the oldest English institution

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outside the UK, the Venerable English College,

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which has a tradition of welcoming pilgrims to the city.

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It is a great honour for us as a Vatican team

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to honour the English team for the Anglican.

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Sport's a narrative which everybody universally can enjoy

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and get together and it's just the...the camaraderie,

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the friendships that are forged through sport.

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There's competition that unites

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as well as, you know, people wanting to win.

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MUSIC: Soul Limbo by Booker T and the MGs

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The day of the match, and the sun is out.

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The Anglican team win the toss and choose to field.

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Each team will bat 20 overs.

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Now, the Italians may not be famous for being cricketers

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but the Vatican team is made up of seminarians from countries

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such as Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan and Australia

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who are in Rome to train for the priesthood.

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I know the Pope is aware of this match.

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Has he blessed you in this? Yeah.

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He blessed us and simply he told only one thing - "Go ahead."

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It was very encouraging.

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Managing the Vatican team is Father Eamonn O'Higgins.

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Your team are all wearing these fabulous jackets

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with this embossed emblem.

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Can you explain a bit about that?

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Yes, the colour means that we're visible about two miles away.

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But in fact the yellow is the traditional colour

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of the papal flag, yellow and white. Yes.

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That's why we have the blazer.

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What's happening today is a sign to politicians, to world leaders...

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APPLAUSE

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..that true, authentic religious experience unites,

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it does not divide.

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The Right Reverend Mark Rylands, Bishop of Shrewsbury,

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is the manager of the Anglican XI.

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What is being achieved that would be more difficult to achieve

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sitting round a table and chatting?

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Well, it's something about your whole humanity,

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and I think it's like being a child again.

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And Jesus said, you know, become like little children.

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And if we're being children we're just being who we are,

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and you just relate easily.

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We're not thinking that people come with all this baggage,

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they're Roman Catholic or Protestant or what have you.

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They're human beings, we're playing a game, they're my friends.

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SHOUTED APPEALS

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Oh-ho-ho! This is an exciting game!

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While it's in full swing, let's have a hymn.

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This one asks an important question -

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who is on the Lord's side?

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Welcome back to the cricket. You rejoin us at a very tense moment.

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What's the score, guys? Just gone past 50. Yeah? But we've just lost another wicket.

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It's going to be a real test of your Christian spirit, isn't it?!

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Has it become more than just a game of cricket? Yeah.

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With these lads out here, these Vatican boys,

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it's become a friendship, it's become a walking together,

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it's become an act of unity,

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and it's become something more important than cricket.

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Now news of a different type of contest, because there's only

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two weeks left to enter the School Choir of the Year competition.

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The closing date - and there's another wicket - is November 14.

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If you think your choir's got what it takes,

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get all the information from the Songs Of Praise website:

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As well as the information there'll be full terms and conditions.

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And just to remind you how angelic our children's choirs can sound,

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have a listen to this.

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# I've gotta home in glory land that out-shines the sun

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# I've gotta home in glory land that out-shines the sun

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# Way beyond the blue

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# Do Lord, O, do Lord O do remember me

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# Way beyond the blue

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# I've gotta home in glory land that out-shines the sun

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# Gotta home in glory land

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# She gotta home, she gotta home

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# She gotta home in glory land

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# I've gotta home in glory land that out-shines the sun

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# Way beyond the blue

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# Do Lord, O, do Lord O do remember me

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# Way beyond the blue

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# I've gotta home in glory land that out-shines the sun

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# In glory land

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# Way beyond the blue

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# Do Lord, O, do Lord O do remember me

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# Way beyond the blue

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# Do Lord, O, do Lord O do remember me

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# Way beyond the blue. #

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It's great to see children singing and enjoying themselves.

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And there'll be more fun to be had and good to be done later this month

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when once again Children In Need hits our screens.

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Each year, your generosity raises millions for children

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and their families all over the UK.

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We went to Gloucester to meet a family who benefits from

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one charity that's supported by the money you donate.

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Ellie has Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy.

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Her dad Simon gave up his job to look after her.

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For Simon, a former administrator,

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coming to terms with his daughter's disability has changed his life.

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While his wife goes out to work during the day, Simon stays at home,

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studying towards becoming a priest and caring for Ellie.

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She started having these funny episodes

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that we then discovered were seizures.

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We ended up going down to Bristol Children's Hospital

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and she ended up staying there for about three months.

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I think that time, and the time that I have with Ellie at home,

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that's a real sort of foundation to my faith and to my spirituality

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because it gives me the space and the time to sort of think

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and reflect, and to explore silence. Because Ellie doesn't communicate.

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She can't speak. She's very still and very peaceful.

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Today is a good example of how Ellie can be

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because she's not been very well. She's had temperatures,

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and whenever she has a temperature,

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she will slip into having seizures and become very unstable.

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Older sister Sophie has a very special bond with Ellie.

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I like reading her stories

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and I like trying to get her to react

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with toys and stuff.

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Sophie absolutely dotes on Ellie. She loves her to bits.

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"'No,' said the three little pigs. The wolf huffed and puffed

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"but he could not blow the brick house down."

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Do you want me to read it again, El? Yeah?

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She often writes her cards and notes, especially

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if she's been in hospital.

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Yeah, they do have a very good relationship.

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Did you like that story, El?

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Thankfully, Ellie's family doesn't have to cope alone.

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The James Hopkins Trust is a Gloucestershire-based charity

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supporting life-limited, life-threatened

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and severely disabled children.

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A recent grant from Children In Need has helped them

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to provide more overnight respite care.

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Ellie was too poorly to travel on the day that we filmed.

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She'd get support from the James Hopkins Trust

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for four hours each week.

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And then for the overnight care,

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we try and get something booked in every few months,

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so one night every few months.

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And there's so many families that need support

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that it's hard to have that support more frequently than that.

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This means we can actually give Sophie

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an exciting day out that she wouldn't have had otherwise.

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Simon's faith continues to develop

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as he studies and helps to care for Ellie.

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Hopefully I'll be able to bring that experience into ministry,

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into the way I can hopefully connect

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with other people and their situation.

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It can be very isolating, being in the situation as we are.

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So having the overnight care, that's hugely important

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because we can sleep.

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Because Ellie's being looked after,

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and we don't need to worry about trying to settle her.

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If she went more times then I think

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we wouldn't be as stressed as we sometimes are when she is ill.

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You can help Children In Need support more young people like Ellie

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and their families by...

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Let's sing together, My Hope Is Built.

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With trumpets now.

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CHEERING

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As a singer, I've had the privilege of performing

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in some pretty spectacular settings,

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and sometimes to very important people.

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But I can only dream of what it would be like to sing

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regularly for the Pope himself.

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Well, for one young man from London, that dream has come true.

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# Miserere mei, Deus... #

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Mark Spyropoulos is the first full-time British member

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of the oldest choir in the world - the Sistine Chapel choir.

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# Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam... #

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The Sistine Chapel is absolutely

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the most beautiful artificial thing in the world,

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as far as I'm concerned.

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And the music that we sing there was written for that building,

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for that acoustic,

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while the frescoes of Michelangelo were still wet.

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And to sing in there is an amazing privilege.

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Mark first came to Rome to audition for opera houses, but made contact

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with the maestro of the choir and was soon thrown in at the deep end.

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He opened the door and he said,

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"Well, there's the choir, go and join the bass section."

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And then he said, "OK, well, we'll give you a four-month contract, see how you do."

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The choir has just completed an album

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recorded over seven nights in the Sistine Chapel itself.

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But their music is not restricted to just one magnificent setting.

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We are not the Vatican choir but the Pope's choir, and therefore

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we actually mainly sing in the basilica under that dome.

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That's where we sing. Wow. And we've just designed new choir stalls.

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We actually took as the basis of that design

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the choir stalls at Westminster Abbey.

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So there's a bit of Westminster Abbey in St Peter's.

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CHORAL SINGING

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What is the difference here?

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What's the difference of approach to the music?

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Because Italian is so closely linked to Latin, it's a modern form of

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Latin, and they sing very naturally with a great sense of feeling.

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British choirs, when they're singing Gregorian,

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can sometimes be quite block. It can be...

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# Credo in unum Deum. #

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But here it would be...

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# Credo in unum Deum Patrem omnipotentem. #

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# Credo in unum Deum...

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CONDUCTOR SPEAKS IN ITALIAN

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# Patrem omnipotentem. #

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There's some great English choirs that do Gregorian very well,

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but here it just comes so naturally to them.

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CHORAL SINGING

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When you're singing, people are praying,

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people are worshipping. Do you ever feel a responsibility

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not just as a singer to the music, but to the worshippers as well?

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Absolutely.

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It's our job to inspire.

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It's our job to move people.

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It's our job to show you what theology sounds like.

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The beauty of the Church's message is expressed through its art

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and it's expressed through its music.

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CHORAL SINGING

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That rich European choral tradition

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is still a source of inspiration today.

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This next piece was written by

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well-known Scottish composer James MacMillan in 2007

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and is sung for us by Cappella Caeciliana.

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# O radiant dawn

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# O radiant dawn

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# O radiant dawn

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# Splendour of eternal light

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# Sun of justice

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# Sun of justice

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# Sun of justice

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# Come, come, come

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# Come, come, come

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# Shine on those who dwell

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# In darkness and the shadow of death

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# Isaiah had prophesied

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# "The people who walked in darkness

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# "Have seen a great light

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# "Upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom

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# "A light has shone"

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# O radiant dawn

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# Splendour of eternal light

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# Sun of justice

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# Sun of justice

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# Sun of justice

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# Come, come, come

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# Come, come, come

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# Shine on those who dwell

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# In darkness and the shadow of death

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# Amen, amen

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# Amen

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# Amen. #

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Back on the cricket field, the tension is mounting.

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The Anglicans are chasing the Vatican score of 147.

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They're 105 for nine and the last pair are at the wicket.

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We've got Steve the captain and Chris the master blaster.

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Guys, what's happening in the game? We've just lost the game, I'm afraid. Bad news. Oh! Runners-up.

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Did the Archbishop say anything to you before you left? He did. Yeah.

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What did he say? Don't come back if you lose.

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What career plans do you have going forward?

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We might become Catholics and stay here, stay in Rome!

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CHORAL SINGING

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The visit isn't quite over yet.

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The Anglican team, now in their work clothes,

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have been invited to attend the Papal Mass at St Peter's Basilica.

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There are tens of thousands of people out here in the square,

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but the atmosphere is hushed and reverent,

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perhaps an indication of the great affection in which this Pope is held

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and how he's captured the hearts and minds of his people.

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CHORAL SINGING

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As religious services go, they don't come much bigger than this.

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So what do the team make of the experience?

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Tell us about the Papal Mass.

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Yeah, I mean, it's incredible to be in there. You know,

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you've heard about this building, you're in it,

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and you're experiencing this incredible moment.

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The Pope is right there. It's a gift to be there.

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It was a great experience

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and to be welcomed into this wonderful service,

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but the heart of the service is receiving the bread and the wine,

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the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we cannot do that

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because of the divisions down the centuries.

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We are not allowed to receive. But, I tell you what,

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I had a poignant moment in that service.

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The Secretary of the Cardinal from Belgium was sitting next to me

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and he said, "I'm not going to go to communion because I want to

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"sit with you and to acknowledge this division that we need healing.

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"And let's pray for one another, brother."

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And this Pope is really urging to try and break down the barriers

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and see that we are family of families,

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as he was saying just a few moments ago.

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That's almost it from Rome.

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Next week, Bill Turnbull's at the Imperial War Museum in London

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as the nation marks Remembrance Sunday.

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To our final hymn. In keeping with today's ecumenical spirit,

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it was written by a Catholic, Cardinal John Newman,

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and is being sung from the mother church of Anglicans

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all over the world, Canterbury Cathedral.

0:31:380:31:41

David Grant is in Rome as the Archbishop of Canterbury's cricket team take on the Pope's XI in the spirit of closer relations, and we have news of this year's Children in Need.


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