By Vatican News staff writer
International Marconi Day is held every year on the Saturday closest to the birthday of the inventor of the radio, Guglielmo Marconi, on 25 April 1874.
This year’s commemoration fell a day earlier, and saw dozens of radio stations exchange messages, including Vatican Radio, which Marconi himself helped found in 1931.
The 30th iteration of Marconi Day was celebrated at Vatican Radio’s broadcast center at Santa Maria di Galeria, outside Rome.
Day for those who love radio
According to Dr. Paolo Ruffini, the Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication, it was “a day spent in a family spirit” for those who love the Radio and the man who invented it.
He noted that the broadcast station forms both the center and periphery of Vatican Radio, since it is the place where radio waves are emitted which carry the Gospel and the words of the Popes throughout the world.
Marconi’s favorite Radio
The 30th Marconi Day falls within the 90th anniversary year of the founding of Vatican Radio.
The great Italian inventor’s daughter, Princess Elettra Marconi, who was present for the celebration, recalled that the station was her father’s favorite, though he had founded several others.
Massimiliano Menichetti, who manages Vatican Radio – Vatican News, said the Radio “brings the hope of the Gospel and the Pope’s words to the world every day.”
He recalled the recent testimony given by Father Pierluigi Maccalli about the importance of shortwave radio, even in the age of digital technologies.
The Italian missionary spent nearly 2 years in prison after being abducted in Niger. After his release last year, Fr. Maccalli said he was able to listen to Vatican Radio.
“During his time as a hostage,” said Mr. Menichetti, “he was able to pray with Pope Francis and stay in communion with the Church, thanks to a small radio which his abductors had allowed him to keep.”
Msgr. Lucio Ruiz, the Secretary of the Dicastery for Communication, also underlined the importance of Vatican Radio’s missionary outreach.
He said the radio provides an effective instrument for carrying the Word of God even to the most extreme peripheries of the world.
During Saturday’s event at Santa Maria di Galeria, a small technological center was inaugurated, which was dedicated to Guglielmo Marconi.
The “Disaster Recovery” center will provide safekeeping for a digital copy of the informational heritage of the Dicastery for Communication.