The United Nations proclaimed 13 February as World Radio Day in 2011, making this the 10th iteration of the annual event.
Saturday’s celebration comes one day after Vatican Radio marked the 90th anniversary of its inauguration by Pope Pius XI in 1931. The first commercially-viable radio system was invented by Guglielmo Marconi, who went on to set up the Pope’s Radio.
Pope Francis got in on the action by tweeting his support for this medium of communication.
“#Radio has this beautiful trait: it carries the word to the most distant places. #WorldRadioDay”
“The challenge that awaits us, then,” says Pope Francis, “is to communicate by encountering people, where they are and as they are.”
Fr. Lombardi: Vatican Radio helps Pope be communicator of communicators
In an interview with Vatican Radio, Fr Federico Lombardi, SJ, has shed light on the importance of the message of the Pope’s Radio, which celebrates its 90th birthday on Friday.
We have one mission, says Jesuit Fr Lombardi. This mission is to serve the Pope and the people of the world through communicating "the message of Jesus Christ, of the Catholic faith, for mankind today.”
Fr Federico Lombardi, SJ, was named program director in 1991 and, in 2005, director general of Vatican Radio, before becoming Director of the Holy See Press Office under Pope Benedict XVI.
In an interview with Linda Bordoni, Fr Lombardi notes that the mission, which never changes, despite all the problems facing humanity today, is "to unite the Church, with all its Christian confessions: to serve, through unity, at the service of the men and women of the world."
He explains that the Pope is “a servant of humanity". He does all he can to communicate: he speaks, he writes... and "we help him through all the instruments we have: The microphone, through airwaves, images, writings.”
"These are the tools we have to fulfill our mission. We are his communicators," says Fr Lombardi.
Although the situations surrounding us change, our mission never changes, he continues.
"We do not have all the resources necessary," but "we have huge power and human perspective." We have one message to give, says Fr Lombardi: "the message of love, peace, hope, ideas for the young people, mercy, pardon".
“There is so much good news to give, and it is we who can give it," he says. It all depends on us, not on others, he adds.
Fr Lombardi goes on to explain that "we can be coherent with this message throughout our life. Coherent through the way we speak, communicate, and I hope that the whole world is experiencing this because there is a need for this."
Our message sometimes might struggle to get to the surface, says Fr Federico Lombardi, but “our offer must remain true, clear and faithful,” we have this duty to the Pope to continue to speak, coherently.
"It is the Popes themselves who have taught us so much in this sense," he explains. "John Paul II was a very strong, clear and courageous communicator in a truly difficult time. Benedict XVI was the same and now we have Francis, and we have a duty to collaborate with him, learning the correct attitude towards the crowd from them."
"Though we do not have the most powerful instruments," says Fr Lombardi in conclusion, we must work, “with all our heart, all our capacity.” We must continue to be faithful witnesses of our faith and of the human values in order to continue to answer the needs of the world today.
British Ambassador to Holy See: Happy birthday, Vatican Radio!
The British Ambassador to the Holy See, Sally Axworthy, has offered a brief message for Vatican Radio on its 90th anniversary.
Sally Axworthy, British Ambassador to the Holy See, says "the Radio has been a great partner for the Embassy and for me personally while I've been here."
She was speaking with Francesca Merlo on the occasion of Vatican Radio's 90th anniversary, which is celebrated on Friday, 12 February 2021.
"I love the fact that Vatican Radio covers many of the stories that some other parts of the press don't cover," she says, adding that its broadcasts often give listeners a view of what's going on in parts of the world that are not in the spotlight of mainstream press outlets.
"I also love the fact that it covers many of the positive stories," she adds, offering the examples of "what religious sisters do" and "the good work the Church does."
"So," she concludes, "Happy birthday, Vatican Radio!"