A Brief Historical Outline of the Vatican’s
International Telecasts (“In Mondovisione”)
by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications
- 1931: Pope Pius XI commissions Guglielmo Marconi – the
inventor of radio – to build the Vatican’s own short wave radio
station. The first broadcast
and inauguration of the station took place on February 12th
with the Pope’s greetings in Latin broadcast live around the world.
Holy Year: Vatican Radio uses its own transmitters and the international
telephone lines to reach 15-20 nations with live broadcasts of the
- 1949: Pope Pius XII appears in two separate filmed messages
telecast in the United States of America on March 27th and in
France on April 17th.
- 1954: On June 6th, the Feast of Pentecost, Pope
Pius XII inaugurates the creation of Eurovision - eight European nations
linked via radio and coaxial cable - greeting TV viewers with a speech in
five languages. This date
marked the beginning of live TV
telecasts to Europe of Papal celebrations.
- 1964: The Pontifical Commission for Social Communications is
created with Pope Paul VI’s Apostolic Letter "motu proprio" In
Fructibus Multis (April 2).
Vatican City State is among the eleven founding state-members of
INTELSAT – the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization
– signing the Accord on August 20th in Washington, D.C.
- 1969: Argentina and Chile are first two nations outside Europe
to broadcast live on television the Christmas Midnight Mass celebration
presided over by Pope Paul VI in the Sistine Chapel.
- 1974: Official start of
the Vatican’s worldwide satellite telecasts of papal ceremonies: Archbishop (now Cardinal) Andrea Maria Deskur, President of the
Pontifical Commission for Social Communications, is entrusted by the
Vatican Secretary of State with the coordination of the telecasts. The first worldwide satellite TV telecast was the opening of the
Holy Door and Christmas Midnight Mass celebrated by Pope Paul VI in Saint
Peter’s Basilica. Forty three countries broadcast live the opening of the
Holy Door (29 outside Europe via satellite and 14 in Europe via Eurovision).
The Knights of Columbus continue to offer their financial help
to cover satellite uplink costs and downlink expenses for countries
needing economic assistance.
From 1974 onward, Christmas, Good Friday and Easter celebrations as
well as extraordinary Papal and Church events are broadcast live on
television around the world via satellite “in Mondovisione”.
- 1978: Fifty
two countries broadcast live on television the election ceremonies of Pope
John Paul II on October 16th.
Year 2000: Sixty
countries broadcast live on television the opening of the Holy Door at
Saint Peter’s Basilica. Many
countries telecast other Jubilee celebrations and events during the year.
- 2003: Fifty two countries and 87 TV networks broadcast the
Beatification of Mother Teresa of Calcutta on October 19th.
- 2003: 30th worldwide satellite telecast of Papal
Christmas liturgies (Midnight Mass, Christmas Day Message and Blessing
“Urbi et Orbi”).