Bulgaria Opens its First Catholic Radio Station

“The new radio station will allow the Church to work outside its premises, especially for those who suffer or do not have the opportunity to go to church.”


Newsroom (14/11/2022 1:07 PM, Gaudium Press) Cardinal Leonardo Sandri traveled from Rome to attend the establishment of the first Catholic radio station in Bulgaria. “Radio Ave-Maria” was inaugurated in the capital Sofia on October 18, the date when the memory of Pope Saint John Paul II is celebrated.

The Prefect of the Dicastery for the Eastern Churches, Cardinal Sandri, stated that “‘Radio Ave-Maria’ was a great dream, and it has now become a reality.” “The new station will allow the Church to work outside its premises, especially for those who suffer or do not have the opportunity to go to church.”

According to the President of the Bulgarian Episcopal Conference and Bulgarian Catholic Bishop of Sofia, Bishop Hristo Projkov, the new radio station is an initiative of young people: “They have been asking us for this for years and have already started producing broadcast material at home.”

 Great interest in Religious Education

Radio plays an important role in evangelization: “In fact, thanks to the parishes and catechists, there are young people well educated in the faith. But, in general, young people have not been educated in the faith. During the communist era, their parents were not given anything they could pass on.”

Bishop Projkow emphasized that “Radio Ave-Maria” is not only for Catholics: “There is a hunger for religious education but also for cultural education with music and history programs. The radio is a project of everyone and for everyone.”

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The Ave-Maria Radio studio is located in the former residence of Angelo Roncalli, later Pope Saint John XXIII. From 1925 to 1934, he served as Vatican envoy in Sofia. Franciscans from Poland were in charge of the management of the new radio station.

In Bulgaria, about 83% of the population is Christian, with the majority belonging to the Orthodox Church. The number of Catholics is approximately 70,000, which represents one percent of the population. Muslims make up just under 14 percent of the population, most with Turkish roots.

During the communist dictatorship in Bulgaria between 1946 and 1990, especially the Catholic Church was subjected to severe persecution. According to the organization Aid to the Church in Need, all priests were arrested at least once in these decades. Church property was confiscated, seminaries closed, and foreign clerics expelled.

After the fall of communism, the Catholic Church in Bulgaria slowly recovered. Today it has about 60 priests and 100 religions of Latin and Byzantine rites. There are several religious communities in the country in which hundreds of believers are organized.

At the inauguration of the new radio station, Cardinal Sandri stressed: “Let all the benefactors who support the charitable works in their countries know that they are great supporters of the Church in Bulgaria”.

With information Kirche in Not.

Compiled by Dominic Joseph

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