Below is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave when he received the Radio Maria Association in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace Thursday:
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Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I greet you all affectionately, who make up the “Worldwide Family of Radio Maria.” I thank the President, Emanuele Ferrario, for his courteous words, and I thank you, directors of the various broadcasting stations active in some 70 countries in the five continents. Ideally, present here, through you, are the faces and hearts of your listeners that, increasingly, appreciate and follow the radio programs of Radio Maria and support it with volunteer workers and offerings.
From its birth, Radio Maria, gave itself the aim to help the Church in the work of evangelization; and to do so in its own way, that is with closeness to the concerns and dramas of the people, with words of comfort and hope, fruit of faith and commitment to solidarity. A clear and lofty objective, pursued with determination and constancy, which has been able to earn uncommon attention and following.
In carrying your intention forward, you have trusted Providence, which has never made you lack the means for your daily needs: for the modernization of technologies, in order to have the instruments in step with the times, and for the development of the Radio, first in Italy and then in many countries of the world, with surprising capillarity and rapidity. In this regard, the challenge is to maintain the style of sobriety, also in the search for appropriate instruments.
The diffusion of Radio Maria in so many environments of different culture, language and traditions, is good news for all, because it shows that, when one has the courage to propose contents of high profile, beginning with a clear Christian membership, the initiative finds a good reception beyond the best expectations, sometimes, also, with those that perhaps come into contact for the first time with the evangelical message. This should not astonish one too much, because Mary, the Mother of God and our Mother, under whose name and protection your Radio is placed, is able to find the way to carry out great works from small and humble beginnings.
Therefore, I invite you to persevere in your commitment, which has become a true mission, with fidelity to the Gospel and to the Magisterium of the Church, and to listen to the society and to persons, especially the poorest and most marginalized, in order to be for all your listeners a point of reference and of support. In fact, by spreading the Gospel and devotion to Jesus’ Mother and promoting love of the Church and of prayer, you offer a valid “channel” to hear beautiful reflections, to learn to pray, to deepen reflection on the contents of the faith, which build and enlarge the horizons. In this way, the Radio becomes a means that does not just communicate an ensemble of news, ideas of music without a leading thread, which could only seek to distract and perhaps amuse, but becomes a means of the first order to transmit hope, that true hope that derives from the salvation brought by the Lord Christ, and to offer good company to so many persons in need of it.
Today, you have gathered in Rome from all parts of the world to reflect on what could be called “the charism of Radio Maria.” It means that this Radio is listened to every day by more than 30 million people in the world and that it lives through the contribution of thousands of volunteers, offering a service appreciated in the local Church and also important for the civil community. All those that listen to your radio programs recognize you as a radio that gives ample space to prayer, witnessing that, when one opens to prayer, the door opens, more than that, it opens wide to the Lord. In doing this, you have the model of Our Lady. Therefore, it is necessary to love with Mary’s heart to live and feel in tune with the Church. So I encourage you to cultivate always the “interior garden” of prayer, listening of the Word of God, and to make use of good readings to deepen your faith; in other words, by doing yourselves what you propose to others with your programs. Moreover, always keep present that you give something great and unique: Christian hope, which is much more than simple spiritual consolation, because it is founded on the power of the Resurrection, witnessed with faith and works of charity.
Therefore, let us put under Mary’s protective mantle Radio Maria, in particular the persons and families of those that work there, your projects for the future, and all the men and women listeners. I bless you all and your work. And please, do not forget to pray for me.[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]