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80 years of Father Lombardi: good communication is a mission

The Jesuit priest, former director of Vatican Radio and the Press Workplace of the Holy See, will flip 80 on Monday, August 29. Father Federico Lombardi spent his life within the service of the Church, particularly on the planet of communications. As a collaborator of three popes, he shares his expertise and urges new generations to stay journalism as a vocation, not only a career.

Alessandro Gisotti – Vatican Metropolis

Father Federico Lombardi turns 80 on Monday. The Piedmontese Jesuit, one of many figureheads of ecclesiastical communication after the Council, was director of the press room of the Holy See for Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. He headed Radio Vatican for 25 years, first as program director, then as common director of Radio Vatican. For greater than 10 years he additionally ran the Vatican Tv Middle (CTV).

A lifetime of witness and repair to the Church, marked by ardour and talent, which he continues in the present day as President of the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Basis and Superior of the Jesuit spiritual neighborhood of “La Civiltà Cattolica”. It was exactly within the journal of the Society of Jesus, in 1973, that he took his first steps as a journalist earlier than changing into deputy editor-in-chief in 1977.

In an interview with the Vatican media, Father Lombardi returns to sure elementary passages from his life and career that lived alongside the final three popes.

Father Lombardi, how do you are feeling about this eightieth anniversary, which is just a few days earlier than – and that is additionally important – your fiftieth anniversary of ordination to the priesthood on September 2?

I’ve a way of shock to have arrived there! After we are younger, all of us suppose that 80 years, or 50 years of priesthood, are distant targets, targets of very previous individuals… After which, day after day, we get nearer and eventually we get there, and perhaps even go additional . So it’s a shock, in fact accompanied by lots of gratitude, as a result of I can solely give thanks, each for all times and for the truth that I’ve been referred to as to stay this life of spiritual and priest.

It’s a time of thanksgiving, if additionally, you will with an evaluation of 1’s personal life, of 1’s personal service, however mainly it’s a time of thanksgiving, as a result of what has been acquired is so nice that you simply actually solely want the Lord. thank amazed and say: “Thanks, you may have given me a lot time and so many alternatives and so many proofs of your grace: thanks for guiding me so far. I hope I’ve responded acceptably to the reward you may have given me.”

Of your 80 years, virtually 50 have been dedicated to the service of the Church and the Holy See within the discipline of communication. What have you ever discovered – though a synthesis is in fact tough – particularly within the service of a number of papal popes over years, furthermore characterised by speedy technological improvement, additionally within the discipline of knowledge?

The very first thing I discovered by way of expertise – and it took me time to be taught – is that communication, for an individual who lives in religion and within the Church, is a participation within the mission of evangelization, of communication. That is exactly a part of the views from which one can see the entire actuality of the world, of historical past, of the connection with God and between individuals. Right here is the communication: our God is a God who communicates, a God who has communicated Himself to us with phrases, with Revelation, with the mission of Jesus Christ!

The entire Church then has a mission, which is to speak, make recognized and disseminate this Phrase of the Lord. Perceive that when an individual is known as to work within the discipline of communication, he’s referred to as to cooperate – in particular methods and with particular duties – within the nature of the church and within the relationship between God and humanity.

You’re a Jesuit, you had been additionally Provincial of Italy. How has Ignatian spirituality influenced your approach of working in communication?

Ignatian spirituality teaches us, helps us and instructs us to see God in all issues, to see the work of the Lord round us, in actuality and within the individuals round us. It due to this fact helps us to learn actuality, individuals and occasions from the attitude of religion, because the presence of the Lord at work. Saint Ignatius speaks of the Lord as one who works: that has all the time struck me deeply.

He acts round us in occasions, in historical past, in individuals, and it’s about figuring out him, seeing him, recognizing him on this work that’s his, and serving to others see him too, perceive and to welcome him into this presence that’s his personal.

John Paul II, Benedict XVI, Francis… You had the chance to be a detailed affiliate of the final three popes. What do you’re taking away, personally and professionally, from such a unprecedented, virtually distinctive expertise?

I’ve all the time understood my work as a service and it has all the time been clear to me that the Pope is a servant: the Pope is a good servant of the Church and of humanity, of the presence of God on the planet. And so I used to be referred to as to serve this service, to cooperate on this service. Over time, this name for cooperation has proved to be an excellent reward to me, as a result of the mission that the Popes perform is mostly a nice mission for the great of individuals, of humanity, of believers. I’ve been capable of work collectively, to place all my power on the service of this mission, within the particular sense of serving to to know it, to make it recognized by way of our means, by way of our communication channels. It was a service to that nice service of the popes to humanity and to the Church. It has all the time fascinated me and I used to be very grateful to be referred to as to this sort of work.

Those that have had the privilege of working with you already know the eye you may have all the time paid to younger individuals, to their private {and professional} improvement. What recommendation would you give in the present day to a younger man or lady who needs to embrace the journalism career?

I wish to inform him that his career could be lovely, nevertheless it ought to be skilled as a vocation: not simply as a profession wherein one develops technical abilities, however as a way of serving to individuals meet new ones. a communication that’s understanding, mutual dialogue. A communication that helps to know the reality and never mislead others; wherein we be taught to emphasise the constructive elements as effectively and never simply the drama of struggling or the issues of evil and injustice. We should definitely expose them, however we should additionally have the ability to present a presence, typically slightly extra hidden however simply as necessary, of kindness, of affection.

This appears to me to be the perfect method to evolve when it comes to communication, with all of the persistence and concreteness essential to be taught to speak effectively day after day, additionally from knowledgeable standpoint. Don’t be dominated by technical {and professional} abilities, however know that these have to be on the service of one thing nice and exquisite in an effort to construct collectively a society and a worthy ecclesiastical civil neighborhood.

You might be 80 years previous, however you might be nonetheless lively within the discipline of knowledge, each in La Civiltà Cattolica and within the Vatican as president of the Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Basis. One may give a lot, at the same time as an aged particular person, as Pope Francis famous in his latest catechesis on the “third age”…?

So long as we are able to, so long as we have now power, it’s in fact good to carry out the service that’s requested of us. Typically it’s a service that modifications a bit in model, in nature and in addition in impact: an older particular person could really feel much less referred to as to be on the newest information, however extra on reflection, on the seek for that means, on values, but in addition on the long run, for we should not withdraw into ourselves. A future wherein the essence continues to paved the way. Precisely, considerably historically, I consider that the true, the great, the gorgeous stay the reference factors of our lives and our perspective of hope.

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