Over 100 representatives of Catholic radio from around the world were greeted by Pope Benedict at the Vatican on Friday. Through their broadcasts, Catholic radio stations make it possible for their listeners to open their hearts to Christ, the Pope said.
The radio broadcasters were gathered in Rome for a symposium organized by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, which is headed by Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli.
"As you work in Catholic radio stations you are at the service of the Word," the Pope told the more than 100 delegates from 50 countries. "The words that you broadcast each day are an echo of that eternal Word which became flesh. ... The Incarnation took place in a distant village, far away from the noisy imperial cities of antiquity. Today, even though you make use of modern communication technologies, the words which you broadcast are also humble, and sometimes it may seem to you that they are completely lost amidst the competition of other noisy and more powerful mass media.
"But do not be disheartened!" he encouraged the media professionals.
"The words which you transmit reach countless people, some of whom are alone and for whom your word comes as a consoling gift, some of whom are curious and are intrigued by what they hear, some of whom never attend church because they belong to different religions or to no religion at all, and others still who have never heard the name of Jesus Christ, yet through your service first come to hear the words of salvation.”
The Holy Father explained that this work, which requires “patient sowing, carried on day after day, hour after hour, is your way of co-operating in the apostolic mission."
Another facet of Catholic radio that the Pope underlined is how its mission is to serve the Truth. “Jesus Christ gives us the Truth about man and the truth for man and, on the basis of that truth, a hope for the present and future of humanity in the world," he reminded his listeners.
Because radio involves the speaking of words, it is associated with the Word of God, and “participates in the mission and visibility of the Church,” Benedict XVI said. Additionally, “it also creates a new way of living, of being and of making the Church; this brings with it various ecclesiological and pastoral challenges. It is important to make the Word of God attractive, giving it consistency through your transmissions so as to touch the hearts of the men and women of our time, and to participate in transforming the lives of our contemporaries."
"What exhilarating prospects your commitment and your work open up!" the Holy Father exclaimed.
"Even now, your networks can be a small but real echo in the world of the network of friendship that the presence of the risen Christ, the God-with-us, inaugurated between heaven and earth and among mankind of all continents and epochs. In this way your work will become a full part of the mission of the Church, which I invite you to love deeply.”
Pope Benedict closed his address to the radio workers by reminding them of the bigger picture. “By helping the heart of each person to open to Christ, you will help the world to open to hope and to that civilization of truth and love which is the most eloquent result of His presence among us."