February 28, 2011

CNS FILE PHOTO

Pope Pius XII gives a blessing at the end of a radio message in 1943.

Eighty years ago, a persistent pope and a scientific pioneer teamed up to create Vatican Radio, launching an evangelization tool that reached virtually every corner of the globe.

Today, Vatican Radio is riding the latest wave of digital technology to expand its audience and its services, with an Internet presence in more than 40 languages.

The anniversary celebrations kicked off in February with a retrospective Vatican Museums exhibit.

Among the items on display was the microphone Pope Pius XI used to broadcast the first radio message to the world — in Latin, of course — on Feb. 12, 1931.

At that time, radio broadcasting was still in its infancy, but the pope insisted that he wanted his own radio station.