Thank God for my 80 years, good communication is a mission, Father Lombardi

Today the Jesuit Fr. Lombardi, former director of Vatican Radio and the Vatican Press Office, turns 80 years old and 50 years of priestly life. Especially in the world of communication, he spent his life at the service of the church. Father Federico Lombardi, a colleague of the three bishops, shared his experience and urged the new generations to live journalism not as a profession, but as a vocation.

Margaret Sunita Minz – Vatican City

Vatican City, Monday, August 28, 2022 (Vatican City): Father Federico Lombardi turns 80 today. Father Lombardi, a Jesuit from Piedmont in Italy, was one of the leaders of ecclesiastical communication, Pope Benedict XVI and director of the Vatican Press Office during the time of Pope Francis; He served Vatican Radio for 25 years, first as director of programs and then as general director of the Pope’s stations. He also directed the Vatican Television Center for more than 10 years. Even today, a life of witness and service to the Church, marked by zeal and potential, continues as Joseph Ratzinger – President of the Pope Benedict XVI Foundation and Superior of the Jesuit community “La Chivilta Catholica”. He took his first steps as a journalist in 1973 in the magazine of the Society of Jesus and then became its deputy director in 1977.

In this interview with Vatican Media, Father Lombardi focuses on some key parts of his life and the work he did with the last three bishops.

Question: Father Lombardi, in what spirit are you living your 80th birthday and, more importantly, the 50th anniversary of your ordination, next September 2?

Father Lombardi: I’m surprised I made it to this age! When we are young we all think of the 80s, or 50s of the priesthood, as distant goals, the very old people… and then, day by day, we get closer and finally get there and maybe go further and… . So naturally with surprise and much gratitude, I thank you for my life and my call to live this life as a clergyman and priest that I give It’s time for thanksgiving, if you want some perspective and balance on your life, service to someone, but basically it’s thanksgiving, because all it has is giving thanks. In amazement I say to God: “Thank you, you have given me so much time and so many opportunities and so many proofs of your grace: thank you for coming here with me. I hope that the gift you have given me, to this. I have responded d ‘an acceptable way”.

Question: Out of 80 years, about 50 years are dedicated to the communication service of the Church and the Holy See in the field of communication. What did you learn – even if a synthesis is difficult – especially in the years in the service of several bishops, moreover, in an area of ​​information marked by very rapid technological advances?

P. Lombardi: The first thing I have learned from experience is that for a person who speaks and goes to church, communication is participation in the mission of evangelization. Communicating is one of those perspectives in which you can see the whole reality of the world, history, the relationship between God and man. Here communication is our God. There is a God who communicates, a God who communicates to us by Himself with words, with revelation, by sending Jesus Christ into the world! Then the whole church has a mission, to communicate, communicate and spread this word of the Lord. If someone is called to work in the field of communication, then they are called to cooperate.

Question: You are a Jesuit, you were also Italian from the province. How has the spirituality of Saint Ignatius influenced our way of working with precision in communication?

Father Lombardi: The spirituality of Saint Ignatius teaches us to see God in all things and in those around us, it helps and educates us to see the work of God around us. Therefore, it helps us to know reality and to know the presence of the Lord in the perspective of people and events of faith. Saint Ignatius speaks of a working Lord and this has always impressed me greatly. He is working in the events around us, in history, in people to know him, see him, rediscover him in his work and help others to see him, understand him and welcome him. is to help

Question: Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, you have had the opportunity to become closely associated with all three bishops. What do you take away from such an extraordinary and unique experience personally and professionally?

Father Lombardi: I have always taken my job as a service and it has always seemed clear to me that the Pope is a servant: the Pope is a great servant of the Church and of humanity, a witness of God’s presence in the world . and so I was called to participate and cooperate in this service.

Over time, this call to cooperate seemed to us a truly great gift, because the mission that the Pope carries out is truly a wonderful mission for the good of people, of humanity, of believers. I am able to put all my strength to help in this mission; First to help us understand it and make it known through our communication methods.

It was an endorsement for the Pope’s service to humanity and the Church. This has always fascinated me and I am very grateful to be called to this kind of work.

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