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Holy Father's Address to Collaborators and Friends of 'Telepace'

40th Anniversary of the Birth of the Broadcaster

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On December 14, 2018, Pope Francis received in audience — in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace –, the Collaborators and Friends of Telepace, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the birth of the broadcaster.
Here is a translation of the Pope’s address to those present at the audience.
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The Holy Father’s Address
 Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I greet you affectionately and I thank Father Guido Todeschini for his introductory words. Telepace concluded a short while ago the initiatives on the occasion of its fortieth anniversary. It was a year of special gratitude to God and of reflection on your professional service. In fact, the instruments of communication are also a gift of God: they “have implied a widening of horizons for many people. This is a gift of God and it is also a great responsibility. I like to describe this power of communication as “closeness.” [. . . ]A closeness that takes care, comforts, heals, accompanies and celebrates” (Message for the 50th World Day of Social Communications, January 24, 2016).
Telepace has always distinguished itself for its vocation to “closeness” and for its genuine service “to God and to man in the Church,” as your motto states. It is in this optic that, since the origins, the choice is read not to accept any sort of advertising and to live solely of free offerings. As with the first Christians, there is a total entrustment to Providence, which rests on Jesus’ invitation: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well” (Matthew 6:33).
Telepace was born small and circumscribed to a few Italian provinces, with a very precise objective: to be the voice of those that have no voice. I encourage you to continue to pursue it, especially in the present time, in which the disposable culture leaves ever more people without a voice. In 1990, by Saint John Paul II’s wish, its headquarters were opened in Rome: the Wednesday Audience, the Angelus, the Rosary and the Pope’s celebrations reached, integrally and directly, every home. A great statement of relationship and affection with the See of Peter, which also binds the “Mary Star of Evangelization Cenacle.”
Therefore, I am happy to share this moment of celebration for your anniversary. It’s not an end in itself but an opportunity to renew the commitment made forty years ago. Hence, I would like to entrust to you three commitments.
The first: to be the antenna of spirituality. The image of the antenna is always beautiful and eloquent, in its twofold function to broadcast and receive a signal. In as much as a radio and television channel, Telepace is expert in this communicative process. It is your task to be able to recognize in all that happens the spiritual signs of the Father’s merciful love. “Today also, it is the Spirit that sows in us the desire for the Kingdom, through so many living “channels,” through persons who allow themselves to be led  by the Good News in the midst of the drama of history” (Message for the 51st World Day of Social Communications, January 24, 2017). In your profession, you can be “living channels” of spirituality to God and to all your radio listeners and television spectators, especially the poor, the last and the excluded. Never forget them, the next door poor! Continue to be at the side of prisoners, of those sentenced to death — this is awful, but the death penalty still exists — as when you went to a death row in Texas, where you accompanied and assisted to young men to the scaffold, after comforting them with the Sacraments. It’s the spirituality of charity!
Second commitment: educate young people at the school of the Gospel. One of the instances that arose in the recent Synodal Assembly dedicated to young people, concerned in fact their relationship with the Church.  In the final Document one reads: “All young people, none excluded, are in God’s heart and, therefore, also in the Church’s heart. However, let us acknowledge frankly that this affirmation, which resounds on our lips, does not always find real expression in our pastoral action [. . . ] Yet the Gospel asks us to dare and we want to do so without presumption and without engaging in proselytism, witnessing the Lord’s love  and extending our hand to all the world’s young people (n. 117). How much it would please me if the media also dedicated more attention to young people, not only recounting their failures but also their dreams and their hopes! The Gospel of joy calls us to an educational commitment that can no longer be postponed. To educate young people at the school of the Gospel means, first of all, to be witnesses of the only Word that saves. May your communication be outgoing, to put yourselves in dialogue and, even before, in listening to young people. Let us remember: the Gospel calls for daring!
Third: To be narrators that do not fall into gossip. Communication isn’t only the transmission of news: it is availability, mutual enrichment <and> relationship. Unfortunately, a form of communication is very widespread, which has nothing to do with attention to the other and with mutual understanding: it’s gossip. It’s a bad habit that every day undermines the human community, sowing envy, jealousy and greed for power. One can even kill a person with this weapon, be it gripping it, or constructing gossip, passing it from one person to another when one listens, prolonging the life of a lie and denunciation. Hence, it’s important to communicate responsibly, thinking also of how much harm one can do with the tongue, with chatter, with gossip.
I renew, then, the invitation to “promote a journalism of peace, [. . . ] a journalism done by persons for persons, and which is understood as a service to all people, especially those — they are the majority in the world – who have no voice, [. . . ] a journalism committed to pointing out alternative solutions to the escalation of clamor and verbal violence” (Message for the 52nd World Day of Social Communications, January 24, 2018).
May the Lord help you to never betray the objective that you carry printed in the name: Telepace. To be always a television of peace, which is a gift of God and is a humble and constant conquest of humanity. Your logo is the dove that carries an olive branch in its beak. I hope you will be every day doves of peace and fly in the ether with the two wings of prayer and charity.
Dear friends, in a few days we will live Christmas. Let us prepare ourselves for this great Mystery in silence: may we let the Child speak, may His gaze, poor and vulnerable, penetrate our hearts and, with His tenderness, may He make us “channels” of peace. I thank you for your visit, I bless you and your families, and I ask you, please, to pray for me. Thank you!
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

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