The 8th of September 2010 was a memorable day in the history of the Paraguayan province of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD), not only for the centenary celebration of missionary presence in Guarani land, but also for the commencement of a Radio communication project.
Today, after completing 5 years of functioning from the border city of Ciudad del Este (City of the East), which borders on Argentina and Brazil, this radio has left its mark on the Divine Word's presence and its mission in Paraguay in a very visible way. Radio "El Verbo" FM (The Word FM) and "La Voz de la Libertad" FM (The Voice of Freedom FM), are two Catholic radio stations of the six that exist in Paraguay.
The project was realised with the collaboration of the community and until now, is self-sufficient. The principal goal is to communicate the principles and values of the Gospel, through the dimensions of our congregation and with the active participation of our committed laity. In some way, we can affirm that the active participation of our community is a sign of belongingness and co-responsibility in our evangelization efforts through their willingness to participate in all the activities of the radio, in various capacities.
Today, the Communication Network El Verbo is made up of two emissions, AM and FM together with their corresponding 24-hour non-stop programmes. The principal characteristic of the radio is the voluntary work of its professionals in the programmes on different themes: religious, cultural, socio-economic, educational and political focussing on formation and education in all aspects of an integrated life. The transmission of the programmes is also given in Portuguese for the benefit of our listeners across the border in Brazil.
During these five years, we have paid much attention to developing health-related issues and issues concerning education, the environment and social security. We have work-related agreements with the Catholic University, in the departments of Legal Sciences, Health and Accounting, with the support of professors and alumni from different professions who offer free services and use the opportunities available in our radio programmes.
Hopefully in the near future, our Communication Network El Verbo can be integrated into the extension program of Communication studies so that the students can get more involved in the Radio's programmes. Presently, the students of Communication Sciences in the Universidad Nacional Del Este (National University of the East), do their internship with the Radio as part of the requirements for completing their studies.
We remain firm in our dreams to bring about transformation in our society with the Gospel principles and values, which is our biggest challenge today, in the face of so much manipulation of information in favour of the more privileged sectors of society. Ours is a grain of sand in this immense duty. We believe that with this mission we can help create a more responsible and committed community, open to the numerous changes needed in our country.
Santiago (Jacob) Puthankudy, SVD.
San Lucas parish and Radio El Verbo