This morning the Pope received in audience the participants in the Radio Maria 6th World Congress, taking place in the shrine of Collevallenza, Italy, through Friday and attended by the presidents and priests who direct the 75 Radio Maria broadcasters throughout the world and the further six who will shortly become active. Thousands of volunteers contribute to the running of Radio Maria, which has around 30 million listeners worldwide.
Pope Francis began his address by commenting that ever since its creation the aim of Radio Maria has been to help the Church in her task of evangelising, and to do so in its own special way, “with closeness to the concerns and problems of the people, with words of consolation and hope, the fruit of faith and commitment to solidarity. … The spread of Radio Maria in many environments, very diverse in terms of culture, language and tradition, is good news for all as it shows that, when we have the courage to propose high profile content from a clearly Christian position, the initiative is well-received, beyond our best predictions, and at times by those who thereby perhaps come into contact with the message of the Gospel for the first time.”
The Pope invited the members of Radio Maria to continue their work, trusting in Providence that has always enabled them to find the means to respond to their daily needs regarding the modernisation of technologies and the development of the radio station, which has spread rapidly and organically. “In this respect, the challenge is to maintain your style of sobriety, while continuing to seek suitable tools”.
The work of Radio Maria has become “a true mission”, which must be carried out “with fidelity to the Gospel and to the Magisterium of the Church, and listening to society and to the people, especially the poorest and most marginalised, so as to be a point of reference and a support to all your listeners. … All those who listen to your radio programmes recognise you as a broadcaster that offers ample space to prayer, demonstrating that when one opens up to prayer, one opens the door … to the Lord. Your model in this is Our Lady. It is therefore necessary to love Mary with your heart to live and feel in harmony with the Church”.
The Pope concluded by urging the directors “always to cultivate the inner garden of prayer, of listening to the Word of God”, and to seek out “good readings, so as to deepen your faith. In other words, always be aware that you give something great and unique: Christian hope, which is far more than a mere spiritual consolation, since it is based on the power of the Resurrection, witnessed with faith and works of charity”.