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Weekly News – Sept 19, 2019

Ferrari Wins Italian Grand Prix

It has been a mighty struggle for the Ferrari Formula 1 team this year. The car and drivers are the fastest in a straight line, but are not as quick as Mercedes on the twisty parts of the racing circuits. There are however a number of places where power is key and Monza in Italy is the fastest track of all. After scoring the team’s first victory of the year last week in Belgium, as well as his own first F1 win, 21-year-old Charles Leclerc held on to pole position for the Italian Grand Prix in an absorbing race to claim a second consecutive race win and also giving Ferrari its first Italian GP triumph since 2010. The weekend was expected to be exciting and the pressure was on the team, given the other historical factors at play – this was the 90th edition of the Italian Grand Prix and also the 90th anniversary of the founding of Ferrari in 1929.

Joker Wins Golden Lion

Todd Phillips’ dark supervillain movie “Joker” has taken the top award at the Venice Film Festival – the Golden Lion. It is unprecedented for a superhero, or in this case, a supervillain film to win the honor, but the entry established itself early on as the festival’s lightning rod – sparking headlines and critical discussions through to the very end of the festival. Critics remain divided on the film’s theme, but the top prize in Venice validates the artistic legitimacy of the unusual film. The movie will look to emulate the last two Golden Lion winners – Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” and Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” which were both nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Italian Luca Marinelli was a popular Best Actor winner for his performance in the title of role of Pietro Marcello’s lavish Jack London adaptation, “Martin Eden.”

Pope Perplexed by Vexing Lift

The Pope was running late. Thousands had gathered in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City anxiously waiting for Pope Francis to show up for his weekly address. It normally starts, like clockwork, exactly at noon. Onlookers began to fret as the minutes ticked by. Finally, the window of the Apostolic Palace swung open and the Pontiff began his address. What was the reason for the delay? The Pope had been trapped in an elevator for 25 minutes. Rather than divine intervention, it was the fire brigade that came to his rescue, to whom the Pope expressed his thanks. The Pontiff then offered his usual prayers and blessings and ended his remarks by announcing that thirteen church figures had been elevated to Cardinals. At the end of the day, it still proves that the Lord moves in mysterious ways.

What Will They Think of Next?

A priest near Venice has met a shortage of cash among parishioners by installing an ATM to make offerings for Mass, pay for candles and contribute to the upkeep of the church. Father Vincenzo Tosello’s has now earned the nickname ‘Don Bancomat’ (Father ATM) at the Church of San Giacomo in Chioggia. Father Tosello was quick to point out that the novel approach to make it easier for parishioners to get to their cash was not his idea, stating, “I didn’t invent this – the Curia was contacted and the Vicar General proposed adopting the system on an experimental basis.” Time will tell whether the creative electronic funds withdrawal method will prove to be successful.

New Exhibition in Naples

The exhibition ‘Napoli Napoli: Di Lava, Porcellana e Musica’ (‘Naples Naples: Of Lava, Porcelain and Music’) will open on September 21 and run through June 21, 2020, at the Capodimonte Museum and Royal Forest. The exhibition will enable visitors to dip into the Bourbon Era, when the city was the capital of the Kingdom during the 18th century. Many sides of Naples are revealed through its culture, music and theater, as well as the ever present pose by the world’s most famous volcano. Visitors will be able to travel through 18 halls, the Royal Apartment and rooms containing over 1,000 exhibition pieces, including 600 porcelain pieces and over 100 costumes from Naples’ opera house, Teatro di San Carlo, as well as musical instruments, artwork, furniture and taxidermied animals.

The Shroud of Turin

Traces of Byzantine coins have been found on the Holy Shroud of Turin. The study led by Giulio Fanti and Claudio Furlan detected electron, a rare and ancient alloy of gold and silver with traces of copper. The study examined the percentage of these elements in Byzantine coins of the 11th and 12th centuries and found a “full correlation.” It is believed that Byzantine pilgrims rubbed the cloth in order to produce “second-degree relics by contact, for purposes of personal veneration.” Believers revere the Shroud as the cloth in which Christ’s body was wrapped after he was taken down from the cross. Because of the mysticism surrounding the Shroud, it has captured the imagination of church officials, theologians, historians and even Adolf Hitler. Monks revealed in 2010, that during the Second World War, the Shroud was hidden in a Benedictine sanctuary in southern Campania because it was believed that Hitler wanted to steal the relic.