Pope Francis to give live radio interview on Argentine station

Pope Francis greets pilgrims in St. Peter's Square after the Wednesday general audience on May 7, 2014. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

This Friday Pope Francis will give a live interview on an Argentinian radio station that he helped raise the money to found while still archbishop of Buenos Aires.

Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J. confirmed the event, telling CNA Aug. 4 that although he doesn’t know exactly how it will be done, most likely “the Pope will make a telephone call to the local radio, and this will be aired on the radio itself.”

Fr. Joaquín Giangreco, the parish priest for the village of Campo Gallo in the capitol of the Santiago del Estero Province in northern Argentina, is set to conduct the interview with the pontiff.

“About two years ago the parish was building it’s radio for the existing communication need, taking into account the work of the church of Campo Gallo covering more than 500,000 hectares,” the priest told Spanish newspaper “Nuevo Diario” in an article published Aug. 3.

“When Bergoglio was cardinal, he collaborated with this project through work with different people to raise funds.”

Fr. Giangreco said that the live interview with Pope Francis is set to take place Friday, Aug. 8, around 12:30 p.m. local time in Argentina.

Although no set line of questions or topics has been specifically defined, the priest explained to the newspaper that there are many expectations for the interview, and “surely we will speak of the Latin American culture, Argentina and Santiagueña, and of the devotion to our Mother, the Virgin.”

Despite expectations building ahead of the event, Fr. Lombardi stressed that the interview will be directed to the local Church, and that nothing of “great resonance” should be expected outside the context of the local community.

The city of Santiago del Estero is situated in northern Argentina, and has a population of roughly 245,000 inhabitants. It is home to the National University of Santiago del Estero, founded in 1973, as well as the Catholic University, founded in 1960.

It is the oldest existing city in Argentina founded by Spanish colonists, and its surrounding region is home to around 100,000 people who speak the local dialect of Quechua, which is the southernmost outpost of the ancient Incan language, and one of the few surviving indigenous languages.

Since his appointment to the Seat of Peter in March of last year the Pope has maintained close contact with the parish community in Campo Gallo, and sent them a letter to mark the feast of their patron.

“As a community we are pleased with the closeness we are able to have,” Fr. Giangreco said, “and obviously, (the fact) that he can greet the faithful through a radio, is something that makes us proud.”


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