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Radio Veritas in Manila marks 50 years

Based in the Philippines, Radio Veritas was inaugurated on April 11, 1969, with its first broadcast from its facility in Fairview, Quezon City.

By Robin Gomes

The Catholic Church-run Radio Veritas (RV), based in the Philippine capital Manila, is kicking off a series of events this week to mark its 50 years.

Starting on Wednesday, April 10, representatives of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) and other Church dignitaries are expected to join the commemoration of the golden jubilee of the twin entities, Radio Veritas Asia (RVA) and the local Radio Veritas 846.

FABC’s Office of Social Communication will hold a meeting at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila, where the idea of a Catholic radio was first conceived. 

On April 11, celebrations will be held at the Radio Veritas Asia studio in Quezon City, where the 50th-anniversary commemorative plaque will be unveiled.   Activities will include the inauguration and blessing of the Radio Veritas Asia Museum and the awarding of 50 individuals and institutions who have supported Radio Veritas Asia and Radio Veritas 846.

A Mass will be presided over by the Archbishop Stephan Burger of Freiburg, Germany, together with FABC president, Cardinal Charles Bo of Myanmar.

On Easter Sunday, April 21, the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia will preside over a thanksgiving Mass during which the Archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Antonio Tagle will deliver a homily.

History

The idea of a Catholic radio station was born during an assembly of 100 bishops from Asia and Australia in 1958, at the UST Central Seminary, during which delegates discussed setting up of a Church-run radio station to help spread the Good News and the teachings of the Church.

That was 5 five years before the Second Vatican Council in December 1963, promulgated its landmark decree “Inter mirifica ” that proclaimed the Church’s commitment to use the mass media for its evangelizing mission. 

With support from German Catholics, the Radio Veritas facility in Fairview, Quezon City, was inaugurated on April 11, 1969, by Cardinal Antonio Samore, a Vatican official, and the then Archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Rufino Santos.

Saint Pope Paul VI blessed the station during his visit to the country on Nov. 29, 1970.  "This great enterprise and such an important work should echo the teachings of Christ and lift hearts to God's truth and love," the Pope said. 

When his successor, Saint Pope John Paul II  visited Radio Veritas on February 21, in 1981, he described it as the "voice of Asian Christianity,", underscoring the importance of the radio in Church's evangelizing mission. 

Yet again, the Polish Pope described Radio Veritas as an "excellent instrument of mission," in his 1999 Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, “Ecclesia in Asia”.

Today, RVA deals with 18 languages of Asia.

Honours

In view of the celebrations, Radio Veritas president Fr. Anton Pascual commented on the word, “Veritas”, which is the Latin for “Truth”.  “Celebrating our golden anniversary,” he said, “highlights our continued dedication to stand for the truth, much the same way Radio Veritas carried the message of Cardinal Jaime Sin… in what became the 1986 ‘People Power Revolution’.”

Radio Veritas received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature, and Creative Communication Arts for its coverage of the 1983 assassination of Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. and the 1986 revolt, with organizers citing “its crucial role in using truth to depose an oppressive and corrupt regime and restore Filipino faith in the electoral process.”

Keeping up with times

In 1991, Radio Veritas became a commercial radio station, while Radio Veritas Asia continued its short-wave broadcasts to the Asian continent. The latter shifted to a digital format in 2007 and more recently, to streaming and social media.

Streaming programmes was introduced at the turn of the millennium, making them accessible to migrants in the diaspora, anytime and anywhere, through the internet and other digital technologies.  In 2007, RVA digitalized its production facilities paving the way to shift some of the languages, where it is politically stable, to their language areas.  This ushered the possibility for most programmes to be produced in the native areas and sent to RVA studios through the Internet.

Cardinal Tagle cited the important role played by Radio Veritas in helping spread the Word of God. He noted that “this celebration highlights the efforts of the Catholic Church in helping spread the right information and especially the Word of God through media and modern technology.”

 “Let us all be bearers of the truth to the world,” he added.

09 April 2019, 14:50