|Guglielmo Marconi and Fr. Giuseppe Gianfranceschi, S.J.|
Vatican Radio, which is managed by the Society of Jesus, celebrated 80 years of broadcasting earlier this month. The station debuted with a broadcast of Pope Pius XI in Latin on February, 12, 1931. Jesuit Father Giuseppe Gianfranceschi was the first director of Vatican Radio, and today Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi holds the position. To commemorate the anniversary, there is an exhibition at the Vatican Museums and a book on the history of the last 30 years will be published in September. Fr. Lombardi explained why the pope wanted the radio station created: “To talk freely across borders in an age in which totalitarianism was spreading, there was Bolshevism in the East, there was Nazism on the horizon, there was Fascism and so on. Being able to speak freely with people around the world, also in particular, churches that were experiencing difficulty or being persecuted, was absolutely vital. Vatican Radio is a place in which many people prepare the news and information in different languages to give the pope and the church a voice in today’s world,” Lombardi said.