As Catholic faith-based radio stations Radio Veritas Asia and Veritas 846, its Philippine arm, celebrate 50 years of its establishment, bishops from across Asia converged in Manila for the three-day commemoration that began on April 10, 2019, at the University of Santo Tomas.
The Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency Most Rev. Gabriele Giordano Caccia, S.T.D., J.C.L., was the main presider during the thanksgiving Eucharistic Celebration held at the UST Medicine Auditorium, with the Asian Bishops as concelebrants. Manila Archbishop His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, D.D., served as homilist.
Fifty years of the Catholic voice in Asia
Cardinal Tagle, in his homily, reflected on the history of Radio Veritas Asia and Veritas 846. Originating from a decision of Asian bishops during a conference held at the UST Medicine Auditorium in 1958 to establish a radio station, Radio Veritas “had the goals of spreading the truth, driving away illiteracy, and directing the minds of Asian peoples to the true values and meanings of life,” he said, noting that he was delivering his homily in the same auditorium in which the idea of Radio Veritas was conceived.
With the German government and the German Episcopal Conference pledging their financial support, the establishment of the Philippine Radio Education and Information Center (PREIC), and the approval of Republic Act 3129 by Philippine President Carlos Garcia, the conception of the radio station gradually began its fruition into reality.
The Republic Act, passed in 1961, approved the transfer and assignment of the UST radio franchise to PREIC. At the time, UST operated and maintained a radio station with the call sign of DZST – DZ Santo Tomas.
On April 11, 1969, on the inauguration of its station in Quezon City, Radio Veritas made its initial broadcast, which included greetings from Pope Paul VI through Radio Vaticana. The following year, when Pope Paul VI visited the Philippines, he personally delivered a message to its listeners all over Asia. This coincided with the conclusion of the Asian Bishops’ Conference of that year, through which they decided to establish the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC).
“[Through the history of Radio Veritas], we see how people are inspired by God; how people looking at the situation of the World, Asia, the needs of the people of Asia, through the potential of the Church, the means available to us, and the international nature of the Catholic Church [made this possible]. A dream has been implemented to serve the truth that must not be kept, but shared, so that the darkness of ignorance may be wiped out… and that the values coming from the Word of God may be shared by Christians all over Asia,” said Cardinal Tagle.
A message from Pope Francis
The Holy Father Pope Francis sent a congratulatory message for the occasion, read by H.E. Archbishop Caccia: “The Holy Father was pleased to be informed of the celebration marking the 50th anniversary of Radio Veritas Asia and Veritas 846. He sends cordial greetings to you, and to all the media professionals, priests, men and women religious, and lay faithful behind their operations, and all those who listen to the programs they offer. As you thank the Almighty God for the many graces received, His Holiness prays that you all may be renewed in your love of Christ and revitalize your commitment to echo the teachings of Christ, to raise the hearts of the listeners to the God of love and truth, to knit among them bonds of evangelical love, to make them conscious of the joys and hopes, grief, and anxieties of the people of this age, especially those who are poor, and to help them undertake the building of a more just and united society. Entrusting the radio station to the maternal protection of our lady, Mother of the Church, and through the intercession of Saint Paul VI, who
inaugurated it during his apostolic visit in Asia, Pope Francis willingly imparts his apostolic blessing as a pledge of peace and joy in the Lord Jesus. Amen.”
Reflecting on the message of the Holy Father, H.E. Archbishop Caccia shared, “Three
thoughts on this Golden Jubilee: The first, this initiative was successful because it was well grounded with the mission of spreading the Good News – the truth. Second, how, what is the method? Through unity and communion. We have seen its history: it was just a single initiative, but there was a communion of effort, of thinking, of doing, of helping, from the East and the West. Any time we build in communion, there will be good results according to the gospel… Third, I was asking, why Radio Veritas, and not Television Veritas? I’ll leave the answer to the experts, but take something important for each one of us: If Jesus is the work of God, we have to listen to him. You can’t watch the radio, but you can listen to the radio. And it reminds us that we are always listeners of the Word. If we don’t listen to the word with Jesus, we are not based in truth; we are not free. This golden jubilee, always remember and build on the spirit of Mission, on the method of unity, and always listen to the voice of God who speaks through Jesus in the Scriptures, and through our lives today.”
Golden Anniversary Celebration
Following the Mass, a formal luncheon program was held at the Dr. Robert C. Sy Grand Ballroom of the UST Paredes Building. After the welcome remarks delivered by UST Rector Very Rev. Fr. Herminio V. Dagohoy, O.P., the words of gratitude were given by the General Manager of Radio Veritas Asia Rev. Fr. Victor F. Sadaya, CMF, and Radio Veritas 846 President, Rev. Fr. Anton C.T. Pascual. Congratulatory messages were also delivered by the Chairman of the Office of Social
Communication, Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference (FABC) Most Rev. Roberto C. Mallari, D.D.; Vice Chairman of the Philippine Radio Education and Information Centre (PREIC) His Excellency Most Rev. Jose S. Palma, D.D., and the Archbishop of Freiburg, Germany His Excellency Most Rev. Stephan Burger, D.D. To mark the historic event, a ceremonial turnover of a symbolic gift and stone marker took place between the University of Santo Tomas and Radio Veritas, which first established its roots in the frequency of DZST, the AM radio station which was, at the time, operated by UST at 860 kilohertz. Radio Veritas eventually migrated to its current frequency of 846 kHz in 1978.
The triangular stone marker symbolizes the Holy Trinity. Made of Cebu sandstone and featuring a sundial, it stands for the timelessness of truth and the University of Santo Tomas. Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference Office of Social Communication Executive Secretary Rev. Fr. Raymond Ambroise gave the closing remarks.
On the second day of the commemorative events, church officials unveiled the 50th anniversary commemorative marker on April 11 at the Radio Veritas compound in Quezon City, which included the inauguration and blessing of the Radio Veritas Asia Museum, led by Bishop Mallari, assisted by Rev. Fr. Sadaya and Rev. Fr. Pascual. In the same event, 50 individuals and institutions who have supported Radio Veritas Asia and Radio Veritas 846 through its 50 years of service to the Church, the Nation, and the society were
awarded plaques of appreciation.
Capping off the second day of celebration, a Eucharistic Celebration was presided by the Archbishop of Freiburg Most. Rev. Stephan Burger, with the FABC Chairman, His Eminence Charles Maung Cardinal Bo.
On April 21, the Radio Veritas Asia Museum had an open house from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m.
Immediately after the open house was a Eucharistic Celebration with Cardinal Tagle as the main presider. An anniversary program, with Radio Veritas Asia and Radio Veritas 846 anchors, listeners and benefactors, as participants, concluded the three-day celebration. Veritas 846 President Rev. Fr. Anton C.T. Pascual