80 years of Father Lombardi: speaking good is a mission

The Jesuit priest, former director of Vatican Radio and the press workplace of the Holy See, turns 80 on Monday, August 29. Father Federico Lombardi spent his life within the service of the Church, particularly on this planet of communication. A collaborator of three popes talks about his experiences and encourages new generations to reside journalism as a vocation and never only a occupation.

Alessandro Gisotti – The Vatican

Father Federico Lombardi turns 80 on Monday. The Piedmontese Jesuit, one of many figures of the post-conciliar church communication, was the director of the press heart of the Holy See for Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. He headed Vatican Radio for 25 years, first as director of applications, then as normal director of Vatican Radio. He additionally directed the Vatican Tv Middle (CTV) for greater than 10 years.

A lifetime of witness and repair to the Church, marked by ardour and talent, which he continues immediately as President of the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Basis and Superior of the Jesuit Spiritual Group “La Civiltà Cattolica”. It was within the Tovaryšstva Ješísova journal in 1973 that he took his first journalistic steps earlier than changing into its deputy editor-in-chief in 1977.

In an interview with the Vatican media, Father Lombardi revisits a number of the important passages of his life and his occupation 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 – the fiftieth anniversary of ordination to the priesthood, subsequent September 2?

I really feel shocked to have arrived there! Once we are younger, all of us assume that 80 years or 50 years of priesthood are very distant targets, the targets of very outdated individuals… After which daily we get nearer and ultimately we get there and possibly even go additional. So it’s a shock, accompanied after all with nice gratitude, as a result of I can solely give thanks, each for all times and for being known as to reside this lifetime of a non secular and a priest.

It is a time of thanksgiving, if you’ll, with an analysis of your personal life, your personal service, however mainly it is a time of thanksgiving as a result of what you have been given is so nice that you simply actually simply should thank the Lord. in awe and say: “Thanks, you may have given me a lot time and so many alternatives and so many proofs of your grace: thanks for accompanying me this far. I hope I’ve responded favorably to the reward you may have given me.”

Of your 80 years, virtually 50 have been dedicated to serving the Church and the Holy See within the subject of communication. What have you ever realized – though after all the synthesis is troublesome – primarily within the service of varied sovereign popes over time, furthermore, marked by fast technological improvement, additionally within the subject of knowledge?

The very first thing I realized from expertise – and it took me some time to be taught this – is that communication for an individual dwelling in religion and within the church is a participation within the mission of evangelization, communication. That is precisely a part of the views from which one can see the whole actuality of the world, historical past, relationship with God and between individuals. Right here is the communication: our God is a God who communicates, a God who communicated to us with phrases, with Revelation, with the sending of Jesus Christ!

The entire church then has a mission, which is to speak, to announce, to unfold this Phrase of the Lord. Perceive that when somebody known as to work within the subject of communication, they’re known as to collaborate—in particular methods and particular duties—on the very essence of the church and on the connection between God and humanity.

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

Ignatian spirituality teaches us, helps us and educates us to see God in all issues, to see the work of the Lord round us, actually even within the individuals round us. So it helps us to learn actuality, individuals and occasions from the attitude of religion, because the presence of the Lord at work. St. Ignatius speaks of the Lord as one who works: this has all the time struck me very a lot.

He works round us in occasions, in historical past, in individuals, and it’s about figuring out him, seeing him, figuring out him on this work that’s his and serving to others, additionally seeing him, understanding him and welcoming him on this presence that’s his .

John Paul II, Benedict XVI, Francis… You had the chance to be an in depth collaborator of the final three popes. What do you personally and professionally take away from such a rare, virtually distinctive expertise?

I’ve all the time understood my work as a service and it has all the time appeared clear to me that the Pope is a servant: the Pope is a superb servant of the Church and of humanity, of the presence of God on this planet. And so I used to be known as to serve this ministry, to cooperate on this ministry. Over time, this name for cooperation appeared to me as a terrific reward, as a result of the mission that the Popes perform is really a beautiful mission for the great of individuals, of humanity, of the trustworthy. I may cooperate, put all my power on the service of this mission, in a particular sense assist to know it, make it manifest via our means, our communication channels. It was a service for the nice service of the Popes to humanity and the Church. It all the time fascinated me and I used to be very grateful to be known as to this kind of work.

Those that had the dignity of working with you know the way a lot consideration you may have all the time paid to younger individuals, their private {and professional} improvement. What recommendation would you give to a younger man or girl immediately who desires to grow to be a journalist?

I’d inform him that his occupation may be lovely, however that he should expertise it as a occupation: not solely as a profession the place one develops technical expertise, however as a method of serving to individuals be taught new issues. communication that’s understanding, mutual dialogue. Communication that helps to know the reality and never deceive others; through which we be taught to emphasise the optimistic facets and never solely the drama of struggling or the issues introduced by evil and injustice. In fact we should condemn them, however we should additionally be capable to present the presence, usually a bit extra hidden, however simply as necessary, of kindness and love.

This appears to me to be the perfect approach to develop within the subject of communication, with all of the persistence and concreteness that’s wanted to be taught to speak properly daily, even professionally. Don’t let your self be managed by technical {and professional} expertise, however know that these should serve one thing nice and delightful, in order that society and a dignified ecclesiastical civil society may be constructed collectively.

You might be 80 years outdated, however you’re nonetheless energetic within the subject of knowledge, in La Civiltà Cattolica and in addition within the Vatican as president of the Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Basis. One can provide rather a lot, at the same time as an aged individual, as Pope Francis identified in his current catechesis on “the third age”…?

So long as we will, so long as we’ve got the power, it’s after all good to do the service that’s requested of us. Typically it’s a service that modifications a bit in fashion, nature and in addition results: an older individual might really feel much less known as to be on the most recent information, however extra to assume, to search for significant issues, values, but in addition for the longer term, as a result of we should not withdraw into ourselves . A future through which the important continues to steer. Extra exactly, considerably historically, I consider that the true, the great, the gorgeous proceed to be the reference factors of our lives and our perspective of hope.

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