On 90th Anniversary of Vatican Radio, Bishops in Africa Hope for Continued Collaboration

Logo of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM)

As Vatican Radio marks 90 years since its establishment on Friday, February 12, Catholic Bishops in Africa have, in a letter shared with ACI Africa, expressed the hope that there will be continued collaboration with the Rome-based Catholic radio.

“We look forward to further collaboration with Radio Vatican and wish you a truly happy and fulfilling celebration,” the Chairman of the Pan African Episcopal Committee for Social Communications (CEPACS), Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo says in his February 11 letter addressed to the leadership of Vatican Radio.

In the one-page to the Prefect of the Vatican's Dicastery for Communications, Dr. Paolo Ruffini, the President of CEPACS, an entity of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), adds, “I rejoice with you and with the entire staff and team who have contributed to the work of the radio in all these years.”

To the leadership of the Committee of Catholic Bishops responsible for Social Communications in Africa, during the 90 “fruitful years” of Vatican Radio’s programing, “the Church in Africa has enjoyed first-hand the services of this jewel of pastoral communication and evangelization for over 70 years.”

“During those years not only have the voice and acts of the Holy Father and the Universal Church been broadcast to millions of Africans, it is remarkable that the voice and experience of the church in Africa has also been disseminated to a world-wide audience,” the Local Ordinary of Nigeria’s Oyo Diocese adds in the letter.


He notes that the Church in Africa “cannot forget either the service of the Radio Vatican in beaming to Africa the experience of the church in other lands.”

The 59-year-old Nigerian Bishop goes on to acknowledge the collaboration of Vatican Radio with the Church in Africa, which he says “continues even today to energize the work of evangelization and we are grateful for this gift.”

Established by Pope Pius XI on 12 February 1931, Vatican Radio today transmits in 41 languages among them native African languages such as Kinyarwanda (Rwanda), Kirundi (Burundi), Ewondo (Cameroon), and Kikongo (Democratic Republic of Congo).

Other languages include Lingala (DRC, Congo Brazzaville), Swahili (Eastern Africa), Malagasy (Madagascar), Somali (Horn of Africa), Tigrinya (Eritrea), and Tshiluba (Central Africa).

To mark the 90th anniversary, the leadership of Vatican Radio will launch a 24-hour web radio that is expected to debut on February 12 with broadcasts available over the Internet in English, Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and Armenian. 

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The broadcasts will also be available via the Radio Vaticana app. Vatican Radio already transmits via radio waves, shortwave, satellite, DAB+, and digitally.

In a February 9 press release, Dr. Ruffini said the web radio “will allow anyone in the world to listen to Vatican Radio in their own language from their own smartphone or computer.”

Officials of the radio, which was under the management of the members of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) until 2017, are also expected to launch a “reworked” website on the same day, according to Vatican News.

On his part, the Director of Vatican Radio, Massimiliano Menichetti, said that in addition to radio commentaries, the office has created new programs, podcasts, and audiobooks.

He added referencing Pope Francis’ major reform of Vatican communications in 2017, “The reform the Pope desired projected us toward a new dimension in which we are no longer solely a radio, but an integrated reality still progressing.” 


“Our mission has always been not to leave anyone alone and to bring the hope of the Christian proclamation, the voice of the Pope, and to interpret events in the light of the Gospel,” Menichetti said.

In his message for World Communications Day released January 23, Pope Francis spoke about the Internet in the context of journalism, calling it “a powerful tool, which demands that all of us be responsible as users and consumers.”

“Potentially we can all become witnesses to events that otherwise would be overlooked by the traditional media, offer a contribution to society, and highlight more stories, including positive ones,” the Holy Father said, adding that all Christians face a challenge, namely, “to communicate by encountering people, where they are and as they are.”