How do you remember the beginnings of the beginning of Maria Radio?
The vulgar monk, Jenő P. Gaál, who had been a missionary in Paraguay for forty years, came home in 1990, I loved him so much, and he instructed me “Your job is to organize Radio Maria in Hungary!”. I had never heard of it in my life, but I stuck with it, in 2000, radio finally started in 2006. There was a lot of work to be done, the results weren’t really coming, Radio Mary had no reputation at home, and it was surrounded by false biases . In 2005 we went to say goodbye in Csíksomlyó and at midnight in the church we said to Our Lady of Csíksomlyó:
Look, we’ve been working a lot in the past five years with no results, this is your radio, if you like, do something.
Shortly after that, we learned that a radio called Extreme was up for sale. We received money from Radio Maria’s European community, especially Italians, which we bought from, and it was approved by the then Media Council, even a member of SZDSZ, to have Radio Maria speak instead of Extreme.
What’s the next step?
A feature of Radio Maria is that it is run by volunteers, and I am also an active president of the Broadcasting Union as a volunteer. I had to look for volunteers, and fifty people immediately gathered to get started. The next big issue was funding, and the radio was through student donations. This raised a strong suspicion in me, because it is not certain that what works in Bavaria, Italy or Poland will be at home. In the ninth month, the radio was already self-sufficient, and this has been the case ever since, as we helped more than twenty thousand people in the business.
What are the biggest difficulties and biggest rises since then?
The progress is not interrupted, but I find it very slow. We cover half of the country, but I have a lot of questions like, “Why isn’t Radio Mary available?” There are tough times in the lives of all organizations, but as far as radio is concerned, I ran into some who say my belief was impossible with manpower, and there was some elusive help. This was our history in the Highlands, and we had no right to broadcast there, but we are broadcasting from the other side of the border. Finally, we invited the Archbishop of Trnava Janus Urch for two days, who had a strong voice on the other side of the border. Eight months later, we had the first broadcast in Slovakia.
After fifteen years, what are your goals for Radio Marie?
We can already hear it in Transylvania, the Highlands and the South, and the goal is to be able to broadcast in Transcarpathia as well. In addition, we want to be a nationwide radio station and promote it via the Internet. There is a great need, spiritual hunger, for high-quality Internet content to appear on spiritual subjects.
Are they celebrating an exceptional radio day, what do students expect?
Fifteen years of volunteers who have worked in the radio service, as well as members and leaders of the association, share their experiences in the last period, which will be closed by broadcasting the Mass of Cardinal Peter Erdie.
(Cover Photo: Tamas Szabo is the President (s) of Radio Maria on September 19, 2020. Photo: György Varga / MTI)