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The first recording of a Pope praying the Angelus

2015-08-15

Sixty-one years ago, Pope Pius XII opened up a new era of Church communication. He recited the Angelus over the radio for the very first time.

Let us pray,
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that, we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ our Lord.
Amen.

The recording was engineered by Vatican Radio on August 15, 1954 at Castel Gandolfo. Although Popes had regularly been reciting the Angelus for centuries, it hadn't been recorded or shared with the public before.

The Pope was initially reluctant, but he came to appreciate the idea of sharing the prayer with the public. In the fall of 1954, he began to recite the prayer with pilgrims who gathered in St. Peter's Square. Over time, crowds of people began to come pray with the Pope.

The Angelus is now one of the main ways the Pope regularly communicates with the public. Pope John XXIII started the modern method. On Sunday at noon, he would deliver a brief address and then recite the Angelus with all of the faithful who had gathered in St. Peter's Square. It always concluded with a blessing for the crowd and for whoever was following along on television or radio.

The tradition has been kept by every Pope since. They use it to share wisdom, comment on world events, and, most importantly, bring people together for prayer.


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