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Vatican Radio’s English service for South Asia completes 55 years

Jan. 30, 2014

The Vatican Radio’s English service which completes 55 years in South Asia has grown in proportion with the number of years it has been in existence. It started in 1958, with weekly 10-minute news broadcast for India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The English for Asia section has been focussing on the regional needs while propagating the views of the Pope. Its Monday to Saturday news transmission focuses on papal events with particular emphasis on the Church in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar. News items are posted along with other outstanding features on a regular basis on the web. Monthly bulletins contain news and features.

A Sunday evening programme focuses on the Church, along with a short UN programme on humanitarian issues. There is also a live broadcast of the Holy Mass in English on Friday and Saturday. It is meant for those who do not have a chance to go for Mass on Sunday, such as those in Arab nations.

Father Thomas O’Donnell, S.J., was South Asia Service’s first Director. The Indian section began a 10-minute evening broadcast in English, Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam in 1965, shortly after Pope Paul VI’s visit to Bombay for the World Eucharistic Congress.

Seventeen years later, in 1982 these evening broadcasts were repeated the following morning. By 1975 the English service had become the most significant for Vatican Radio, next to the Italian transmission. In preparation for Pope John Paul II’s India visit in 1986 Jan-Feb, English along with Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam were given extra time of transmission.

From September 23, 1993, the English service for South Asia has been transmitting 20 minutes of programmes daily, repeating the evening programme the following morning.

Source: UCAN

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