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A Brief Historical Outline of the Vatican’s International Telecasts (“In Mondovisione”) 

Coordinated 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.
  • 1950 Holy Year: Vatican Radio uses its own transmitters and the international telephone lines to reach 15-20 nations with live broadcasts of the celebrations.
  • 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.
  • Holy 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”).