An Indian layman, a teacher-turn media person, has served at the Vatican Radio for the last four decades.
Robin Gomes from Calcutta, West Bengal state of eastern India, retired from Vatican Radio on April 30.
“April 30, 2022, was my last working day. The following day, May 1, 2022, I began the longest tea break in my life. Now, I am a retired person after an active service of a little over four decades,” Gomes said on his Facebook post.
To all who have contributed to his career in whatever way, his heart goes out in deep gratitude. They include his late parents, his brother and his family, Gomes’ own family, relatives, friends, neighbours, colleagues, former students and many more.
“I began my career in 1982 at St. Augustine’s Day School Shyamnagar (SADS), West Bengal, India, as an English teacher,” he recalled.
Besides the owner of SADS, late Camillus Gasper, and its headmaster, late Clarence Rodrigues, who gave Gomes the first break in the job market, he owes much to his former colleagues and students, some of whom Gomes is in contact with despite the distance and a 40-year gap, thanks to social media.
It was a wrench leaving the students and staff of SADS in early 1989, but he had to do it for the sake of his family.
“I served St. Augustine’s for six years and 11 months (Feb 1, 1982 – January 15, 1989) before joining St. Paul’s Mission School, Scott Lane (Kolkata) for a very brief period,” Gomes said.
He thanks Richard Flynn, the Principal, whose openness and warmth Gomes greatly treasures. Flynn did not stop Gomes when the ‘big’ call came from the Vatican.
Rather, Flynn encouraged Gomes to give it a try, wishing the latter good luck. Gomes served St. Paul’s for hardly seven months (Jan 15, 1989 – Aug 8, 1989).
“The big turn in my career came when I was invited to serve Vatican Radio, which I joined on December 1, 1989. It was a new leaf in my life from a school teacher to a media person,” Gomes said.
Gomes’ special gratitude goes to Jesuit Father Xavier Rajan, the head of the Indian programs of Vatican Radio, who selected Gomes after an interview.
“I have given a little over 32 years to Vatican Radio (Vatican News today), a prestigious 91-year-old institution of the popes that was set up by the renowned radio pioneer, Guglielmo Marconi,” Gomes said.
The bulk of Gomes’ active working life has been at the service of three Popes – John Paul II, now a Saint, Benedict XVI and now Francis.
“Considering my very humble background, I regard this as a rare privilege and blessing,” Gomes said.
First and foremost, he is grateful to God for the gift of his 67 years of life and the four decades of employment.
“I am particularly grateful to my colleagues at the English Programme of Vatican News, with whom I worked for the past four years or so, after the English for Asia Programme, which I joined initially, merged with the present English Programme in the wake of the recent reforms,” Gome said.
Of course, he also cherishes the friendship of many other colleagues of the nearly 40 language programs of Vatican News who know Gomes.
“I thus walk away into the sunset with a lighter heart and a sense of accomplishment after four decades of active service,” said Gomes.
Now it is time for him to enjoy the best in his retired life, after serving three popes and the Vatican Radio, he added.
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.