· Vatican City ·

Pope Francis among us to celebrate 160 years of ‘L'Osservatore Romano’ and 90 years of Vatican Radio

Go with courage
to encounter people

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28 May 2021

Letting yourself be surprised, to the point of being “slapped” — a truly effective neologism — by everyday reality is the practical advice Pope Francis offered to the women and men of his newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, whom he met in the second-floor newsroom of Palazzo Pio, following their transfer there six months ago.

The occasion for the visit was the celebration of 160 years of the daily paper and 90 years of Vatican Radio.

The Pontiff arrived at Palazzo Pio by car at 8:50 a.m., accompanied by Msgr Leonardo Sapienza, Regent of the Prefecture of the Papal Household. He was welcomed by Paolo Ruffini, Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication, and Msgr Lucio Adrián Ruiz, its Secretary.

The Pope greeted Dicastery directors in the building’s atrium before taking the elevator to the second floor, where he greeted representatives of the editorial management team: Director Andrea Tornielli and Vice Directors, Sergio Centofanti and Alessandro Gisotti.

Francis then visited L’Osservatore Romano’s newsroom, accompanied by editor-in-chief Andrea Monda. In the meeting room, the editor-in-chief and managing editor Piero Di Domenicantonio, introduced him to the daily life of the newspaper. Francis was given reproductions of the first pages of the edition corresponding to his birth date, (Thursday, 17 December 1936).

The editor-in-chief also showed him the first edition of the newspaper (1 July 1861), the edition with the Encyclical Fratelli Tutti (4 October 2020) which marked the return to publishing the daily on paper — Francis signed it — and a meaningful page from the centenary edition published in 1961, with an article by Jesuit priest Francesco Pellegrino (“The pen and the microphone”) dedicated to the relationship between the two entities being “celebrated”: L’Osservatore Romano and Vatican Radio.

The supervisors of the newspaper’s seven language editions then took turns in presenting copies of their editions to the Holy Father. Among them were various copies of the English Edition, which is printed and distributed by Our Sunday Visitor in the United States of America, and the Malayalam version, which is translated and printed in India by Carmel International Publishing House, and then distributed by a dedicated van, a photo of which was shown to the Pope. He was also shown an August 2017 issue of the Spanish edition that was dedicated to the centenary of the birth of Bishop Óscar Romero, which, with half a million copies, reached all of Latin America.

The editor-in-chief also presented the latest edition of the monthly magazine “Women Church World” to Pope Francis who said he appreciates it for its “very interesting” articles such as those in the latest issue on women outside the system.

Afterwards in the chapel, located on the same floor, the Holy Father recited the Prayer for the 55th World Communications Day, (“Come and See” — John 1:46. Communicating by Encountering People Where and as They Are) along with representatives of several offices of the Dicastery, followed by the recitation of the Hail Mary.

After taking the elevator to the fourth floor, Francis was welcomed warmly by Vatican Radio -Vatican News journalists who took turns shaking his hand and exchanging a few words with him, after which he proceeded to one of the recording studios where he offered a live greeting to listeners of Radio Vaticana Italia. Massimiliano Menichetti, director of Vatican Radio -Vatican News and Luca Collodi, head of the Italian channel of the Pope’s Radio, were at the microphones.

Down on the first floor, the Pontiff then greeted several employees in the “Open Space”, (Francis Xavier Hall) the reference room of the Dicastery’s technology department.

The Pope’s visit concluded with a meeting in the Marconi Hall, with representatives of the various language programmes, who were introduced by the Prefect. Francis returned to the Vatican by car at 9:50 a.m.