Well, the title is written with apologies to whoever it was who wrote the original song, which was saying goodbye to Rome rather than to Vatican Radio, but it has a certain appropriateness in the circumstances.
My piece of news for today is that yesterday was my last working day at Vatican Radio as I finished four wonderful, fulfilling and very precious years there.
As of 11th January, I shall also no longer be living in Rome, because I shall be heading back towards England after working outside the country for the past sixteen years.
On 28th January, I will be taking up a new position as Communications Coordinator for the Pontifical Mission Societies, (PMS) also commonly known as the Association for the Propagation of the Faith (APF), and will be based in London. (Check out the website at http://www.missionsocieties.org.uk/ )
That sounds a very ‘bald’ statement, but in fact, I am tremendously excited about the opportunity the new job. There will be enormous scope for working with all the Catholic and secular media within the UK, the dioceses, Catholic organizations… and you name it!… in order to promote the mission of the Church to reach out to the whole world and to proclaim the Good News.
It has struck me on so many occasions that most people do not see the amazing work that is done in their name by the PMS. So often, people collect money ‘for the missions’, making an act of faith that their hard-earned cash will be used wisely, and not always seeing the schools and hospitals that they build, the textbooks and medicines that they buy, the hungry whom they feed, the thirsty to whom they give a fresh water supply, the boats, vehicles and motorbikes that make it possible to reach the most remote places on earth, or the students they train for the priesthood. Hopefully, through my new job, I’ll have the opportunity to tell people even a fraction of all the good things that they are achieving on behalf of others through the work of the PMS.
Of course, it was sad leaving Vatican Radio yesterday, and leaving Rome will also be painful. It has been a wonderful experience working so closely with the radio station that is ‘The Pope’s Voice’ reaching out to the world. During those four years, I’ve had the privilege of presenting more than 100 live radio and television commentaries on papal ceremonies, including the Mass offered only hours after Pope John Paul II died, his funeral, the opening of the Conclave, the closing of the Conclave, the inauguration of the papacy of Benedict XVI, and so on. It has been an amazing and deeply humbling experience to know that my own voice could be, not only an instrument of the Church, but one that could touch people whom I would never meet in ordinary daily life.
Leaving Vatican Radio and heading towards the Pontifical Mission Societies does not mean that there will be an end to the website, the prayer board, the blogspots or the daily e-mails, as I’ve set these up in such a way that they can continue.
May I take this opportunity of thanking you for your support, your faithfulness and your prayers. Please pray for me as I launch into a new era, as I will continue to pray for you and yours, and for all your special needs.