Today, Radio Maria is a global phenomenon and has become the best known Catholic radio station worldwide. Radio Maria’s humble beginnings started in a local Italian parish, Arcellasco, in the province of Como in the 1980s.
In Italy, it is customary for parishes to organise spiritual events and catechetic seminars for several weeks, every five years. In the parish of Arcellasco, the local parish priest, in order to be as inclusive as possible, had an antenna erected on the bell-tower for everyone who wished to participate in the church events, including the sick and others who were unable to attend. The parishioners welcomed it with open arms and, because of its success, decided to continue broadcasting programmes thereafter.
It was in such humble beginnings that the first Radio Maria station was established – a station that was poor in means, rich in prayer, but attentive to those in pain. By the end of that decade, it was transmitting nationwide.
Encouraged by its enthusiastic listeners, the next step was to reach the Italian diaspora abroad, firstly in New York via satellite, followed by Canada and then throughout Europe. Soon, the spread of Radio Maria would see the development of stations throughout other parts of the world, including many countries in Africa, South America, Asia and Oceania.
Such expansion saw it necessary to develop a new organisation that would assist existing and encourage the setup of new Radio Maria stations. In June 1998, the association of World Family of Radio Maria (WFRM), a non-governmental organisation, was established to do this. Today, Radio Maria can be found in over 75 countries worldwide.
Love for the Mother of God
The love for the Mother of God is the soul of Radio Maria and, therefore, the desire to help the Handmaid of the Lord in the work of saving souls, is central to its existence. Radio Maria’s name indicates a broadcasting station that is inspired by the Blessed Virgin Mary and puts itself at Our Lady’s disposal and service.
Radio Maria is a simple and effective tool to spread the Good News, helping people to find the meaning of life in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.