A Visit from the Vatican

A Visit from the Vatican

The other day, a few of us from Franciscan Media traveled the short ride to the University of Dayton (UD) to attend the annual gathering of online religious educators. I’ll talk more about that group in an another blog; for now I’d like to focus on a fascinating person I met there. Sean Patrick Lovett is the director of Vatican Radio’s English language services in Vatican City.

He was in town to receive the Dan Kane award, a prestigious honor for Catholic communicators named for a pioneer in the field, given by UD annually. Sean Patrick was kind enough to provide an interview for St. Anthony Messengerone that we’ll be featuring in a future issue of the magazine.

We talked of many things, and the many services that Vatican radio provides. It was initiated by Pope Pius XI at the time just after a treaty between the Vatican and Italy, one that really established Vatican City as a state (the Lateran Treaty). At the time, the pope, restricted to Vatican City, wanted a way to get his message out far and wide. This visionary pope knew of a resource he might be able to tap.

Radio was a relatively new thing on the scene, much as Twitter is today. The inventor, Marconi, was himself an Italian. Pius called Marconi in and developed the idea of a radio broadcast from the Vatican to the world. Marconi himself installed the equipment for the pope.

Over the decades since then, Vatican Radio has been broadcast worldwide, growing into a broadcast center in almost every language on earth, with a broad variety of programs that uplift the human spirit. There the Church is truly catholic , that is to say “universal.”

Here’s a 40-second video preview of our interview.

Photo by John Feister


About the Author

John Feister is editor in chief of St. Anthony Messenger magazine. He has a B.A. in American Studies from University of Dayton, and master's degrees in Humanities and in Theology from Xavier University. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada, and was previously an adviser to the Communications Committee of the U.S. Catholic bishops (2000-2006). His latest book, Thank You, Sisters: Stories of Women Religious and How They Enrich Our Lives is available from the Franciscan Media catalog. He has cauthored four books with Richard Rohr (Franciscan Media), and coauthored, with Charlene Smith, the biography of Thea Bowman (Orbis books).