Woman who brings Pope to Malayalis

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“Laudato Iesus Christus…
This is Vatican Radio… The news read by Sr Ranjana…”

Sr Ranjana is the female voice in the Malayalam department of Vatican Radio. She is belongs to the congregation of Ursulines of Mary Immaculate.

She is part of a big crew of the Vatican Radio which has many departments in various languages. The purpose of Vatican Radio, also known as the ‘Radio of the Pope,’ is to present the programmes of the Roman Pontiff to the global community.

The Media Department of Vatican has a variety of media channels which includes Printed edition of  (Osservatore Romano), Radio (Vatican Radio), Television (C.T.V), and New Media (News.va, radiovaticana.va).

Sr Ranjana UMI works in the radio department, which is a medium affordable to common people to access papal messages.

AI ML Ranjana1

“I am very much inspired by the absolute humility of Pope Francis as well as the depth of his messages delivered in simple language. I am more than happy to get the opportunity to know the Pope than being a proud reporter of Vatican Radio,” says Sr Ranjana.

“Pope involves with everyone wholeheartedly, even if they are small children, youth, adults or even disabled. For Pope Francis all of them are very valuable!”

“Pope’s body language is very powerful and dynamic. His engagement with them is very warm and lovely. That touches people deeply”

Vatican media function as a window to those people and communities who have no chance of directly meeting the Pope or visit Vatican. Through the Vatican Radio programmes they also get a chance to indirectly participate in papal programmes happening abroad.

Sr Ranjana considers it as a lovely experience and blessing to be an instrument to reach papal message to as many Malayalam speaking communities.

“During this holy Year of Mercy there is significant increase in the listeners of Vatican Radio. People intensely wish to listen to the merciful messages of Pope Francis. They love Pope Francis very much”

Sr Ranjana has done post graduate studies in Media and Communications from Gregorian University, Rome. She fondly remembers her teacher late Fr Jacob Srampikkal who was a great inspiration for her to be a Catholic media evangelist. Fr Jacob worked relentlessly to initiate young religious and priests to the world of Christian media. He has made significant contributions to make Catholic media work effective and powerful both in India and abroad.

AI ML Ranjana2Sr Ranjana had also served NISCORT, the media training institute under the patronage of CBCI in Delhi. She is proud to have trained students from different parts of India during this period. She happily recollects her role of helping a few students from Orissa who now serve the Church and their community through dedicated media work

Apart from the daily news broadcast the weakly programme called “Sabhadarshanam” carries the signature of Sr Ranjana. She did 25 episodes on Popes encyclical Laudato Si in this programme.

“Interviewing eminent personalities such as bishops and experts in various fields had been a great experience. In interviews we travel through the perspectives of these great people. Sometimes we can also invite them to journey with our worldview as well.”

Vatican Radio works with limited human resource. Therefore, in producing a programme one person has to do various jobs. Sr Ranjana used to do both technical (sound recording, editing and mixing) as well as journalistic (report, write and edit news) work in Vatican Radio. This makes radio reporting thrilling and adventurous. We also need to keep the deadline amidst all the other pressures.  A smile of confidence brightens on her face. “She thanks God for leading her ways till today.”

Sr Ranjana has special skills to steer new media. She had played a great role in popularising the Vatican Radio’s new media endeavours through Facebook and Whatsapp.  The online edition of Malayalam Vatican Radio has a great listener and reader base today.

By using the internet and new media technologies for evangelisation, Sr Ranjana tries to follow the insights of Pope Benedict XVI. Her Facebook page is a stark example for this.

She also has a Blog and writes in it regularly. She also is the webmaster of the official UMI website.  Cumin is a quarterly bulletin she edits for the UMI province in Lucknow.

Women have been working in the public media sector for a couple of decades now. Yet, there are very few women who professionally approach Christian media ministry, she observes. “Women have to come to this field and occupy the digital space in order to be Christian witnesses there. That would increase the reach of Christian message.”

Sr Ranjana underscores Pope Francis’ perspectives about women. Women have the capacity to approach and deal with reality differently than men. And that has to be respected.

“In every provinces of our Congregations there shall be at least one qualified media professional. They have to actively use their media skills as well. In a media saturated world it is not a luxury, but an inevitable necessity.

“Mary our Mother did not accept the message of the angel immediately, instead she raised a question: How is it possible? The mission of today’s women is to raise socially and spiritually relevant questions”

“Media is the best space to raise these questions to the global community. New media has a special reach and power for this. Harnessing the capacities of new media, religious sisters can become the prophetesses of Mercy for today’s world.”

“Superiors need to take initiatives and interest in training young religious to positively use new media. They also need to encourage media ministry in their provinces.”

“In this times of convergence we need to learn to work in collaboration with other congregations and ecclesial units. This will facilitate a productive media ministry where our limitations are overcome through complementing each other. The future is only for those who unite together, share a common vision and struggle to achieve that. The ecclesial leadership has to demonstrate a powerful will and vision for that. They also need to chalk out long term plans for that.

“Oh its time for my news recording” saying this Sr Ranjana got up. She has allotted a short time for this interview for Arpanam. She has been busy preparing the background programmes for the Popes Next international visit.

She thanked all the listeners of Vatican Radio and the encouragement they continue to give her.

As she walked away the corridors of Varican Radio Studio, I thanked God for the beautiful voice in Sr Ranjana who takes the Christian message across continents.

Arpanam

Arpanam brings you the fabulous stories of the heroic men and women who lead consecrated life in the Catholic Church. It is one of the projects of CONNECT, an initiative for doing research and and documentation as well as organising various programmes in the interdisciplinary area of media and socio-cultural life.

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