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Vatican City

Vatican Radio celebrates its 90th anniversary

Pope Francis and a 117-year-old nun send their best wishes to staff on the station's milestone anniversary

Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

Updated: February 13, 2021 04:41 AM GMT
Vatican Radio celebrates its 90th anniversary

The first Vatican Radio microphone used by Pope Pius XI. (Photo: Vatican News)  

Celebrating its 90th anniversary, Vatican Radio received well wishes from Pope Francis and an avid listener who is the second-oldest person in the world.

Sister Andre, a French member of the Daughters of Charity who made headlines recently for testing positive for Covid-19 but weathered it with no symptoms, told the radio station in a brief interview, "Happy birthday, Vatican Radio! 90 years old, that's young!"

The second oldest after a Japanese woman who turned 118 in January, Sister Andre turned 117 on Feb. 11 -- the eve of the anniversary of Vatican Radio's birth on Feb. 12, 1931.

The French nun, who has lived through the Spanish flu pandemic, two world wars and 10 pontificates, is blind and lives in a residential home where she is a "dedicated listener of the radio that offers her a window of the world" and supports her prayer life, Vatican News reported Feb. 11.

Pope Francis also sent his greetings to the radio, thanking its staff, who come from 69 different countries, for the work they do and "the love you put into it."

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He said the "beautiful" thing about radio was its ability to reach the most distant and remote places.

He encouraged staff to "forge ahead with courage and creativity in speaking to the world" in ways that help people "see the truth of things."

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, presided over Mass in St. Peter's Basilica Feb. 12 with employees from the radio and the Vatican Dicastery for Communication of which the radio became a part in 2017 along with the Vatican's other media outlets.

Vatican News currently offers radio programs in 41 languages and starting Feb. 12 it will launch "Web Radio" in English, Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Armenian at vaticannews.va/en/epg.html.

About 30 live program schedules will be created throughout the year, Vatican News said.

Vatican Radio was established when Pope Pius XI invited the inventor of radio, Guglielmo Marconi, to build a radio broadcasting station on the grounds of the newly established Vatican City State.

The pope's inaugural message -- in Latin -- was heard simultaneously in New York, Quebec, London, Paris, Sydney and Melbourne.

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