Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Wednesday 24 February |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Josef Mayr-Nusser
home iconNews
line break icon

Vatican Radio Welcomes First Intern with Down Syndrome

Michael Gannon

Zenit - published on 01/28/14

People should “stop looking at Down Syndrome, and see the person.”

For the past two weeks, Vatican Radio has had a new member in its team: Michael Gannon, 33, has Down Syndrome, but this has not prevented him from becoming a published author, going to university, acting, or working as a radio journalist – among other achievements.

The first person with Down Syndrome to intern at Vatican Radio, Michael has made the most of his time working at the radio station of the Pope. He began his internship by interviewing the director of Vatican Radio’s English Program, Sean Patrick Lovett, during which he asked some challenging questions, such as: “What do you think God is really like?” and “Do you pray?”

He has also interviewed fellow Irishman Msgr. Paul Tighe, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, asking him why he decided to become a priest, and whether the Council offers messages to people with Down Syndrome.

The opportunity to work for Vatican Radio came about two years ago when Michael and his mother were attending an event in Rome organized in part by the AIPD (Associazione Italiana Persone Down), entitled: “My Opinion, My Vote.”

Michael asked Lovett if Vatican Radio had ever employed an intern with Down Syndrome. When the director of the English program said they had not, Michael offered to become the first. 

As he wrapped up his last day at the Radio, Michael told ZENIT that what he has most enjoyed most is working with the team.
A major highlight of his time, however, was when he and his parents met with Pope Francis. “I was full of mixed emotions,” he told ZENIT. “I couldn't believe that I met the Pope.”

“I said to the Pope: 'Thank you for meeting with me today. It's been a privilege and an honor to meet you for my first time. And for my parents, as well’.”

A student of the National University of Ireland in Maynooth, the Kildare native has an impressive resume in the area of communications. He has written a book entitled Straight Up, No Sugar, and is in the process of writing a second book. He is also an “ambassador” for Down Syndrome Ireland.

“People with Down Syndrome have a normal life,” he said. “They have family. They have friends. They can go out, have fun, socialize. You can be your own self.”

For those who might be daunted by some of his achievements, Michael said in no uncertain terms: people should “stop looking at Down Syndrome, and see the person.”

Courtesy of Zenit

Tags:
Down SyndromeVatican
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
TEMPTATION OF CHRIST,WILDERNESS,DESERT
Philip Kosloski
Why does Lent last 40 days?
2
Meat
Philip Kosloski
Here’s why Catholics don’t eat meat on Fridays during...
3
Jim McIngvale
Cerith Gardiner
Mattress Mack steps up again to help those suffering freezing wea...
4
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful 1-minute film about...
5
FATIMA
Philip Kosloski
Rarely seen photos of Fatima visionaries, Lucia, Jacinta and Fran...
6
NOTRE DAME
J-P Mauro
Notre Dame’s spire will need over 1,000 oak trees to rebuil...
7
Via Dolorosa FIFTH STATION
Zelda Caldwell
Franciscans in the Holy Land offer virtual Way of the Cross for L...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.