T-minus 24 and counting… before the inaugural episode of “Register Radio” airs on EWTN’s radio affiliates and Sirius/XM.
I’m filled with both a great deal of excitement and anxiety about the National Catholic Register’s newest media venture. In so many ways, it makes a great deal of sense. The content of the National Catholic Register is so rich, why not offer it in different formats for other audiences – in print, online, and over the airwaves? The world needs more Catholic news outlets, not less.
As a youngster I never sat in my bed dreaming of being a radio host, or even of one day working for a Catholic publication. That would have been difficult considering that I grew up Lutheran.
I dreamed of writing. When I had spare time, writing is what I did. Some of my most enjoyable projects in middle school, high school, and college were writing projects. When I turned in two essays for a freshman composition class because I couldn’t decide on just one, my professor declared that I was “a born writer.” Even when I was doing other things professionally – teaching, marketing, communications – I was always writing something.
With EWTN’s acquisition of the National Catholic Register it’s only natural that we would want to take advantage of the media opportunities available. And given my experiences with Relevant Radio, Vatican Radio, Sirius/XM’s “The Catholic Channel,” Ave Maria Radio, and the local radio program “Voice from the Cloud,” it was obvious that whether I wanted to or not, the Holy Spirit was moving me toward radio work. Everything I know about radio I learned from people like Greg and Jennifer Willits, Lino Rulli, Al Kresta, Brian Patrick, Drew Mariani, David Rydberg, and the many others who have had me on their programs over the years.
I wouldn’t be truthful if I didn’t say that the transition from writing to radio has come with some trepidation. As I’ve said, my passion is writing. I found some solace in a surprising place. In Lino Rulli’s recently published book, “Sinner,” he writes about how he found peace transitioning from television to radio, as “The Catholic Guy” at Sirius/XM.
“I wasn’t sure what the plan was, but I said, ‘Jesus, I’m gonna trust in you,’” writes Rulli. “It was a peace, however, that was unfamiliar because it was the peace that comes with doing what God wants, not what I want. A priest friend of mine, Father Joseph, has told me that this job could be a cross I was being asked to carry, that I was being led to do something I had no desire to do.”
A cross? I can relate to that.
So, Friday, September 2nd, at 2 p.m. Eastern, we’re launching “Register Radio.” Think of it as an audio version of some of your favorite Register content. We’ll be talking with Register writers and bloggers, newsmakers, Steven Greydanus, the Register’s film critic, and many others.
If you tune in tomorrow, you’ll get to hear Father Matthew Gamber recap his experiences at World Youth Day in Madrid, and Dan Burke will be talking with popular Register blogger Jennifer Fulwiler about the topic of abortion and grace.
The Second Vatican Council’s document Inter Mirifica, on the Media of Social Communications, encourages the faithful to “maintain and assist Catholic newspapers, periodicals and film projects, radio and television programs and stations, whose principal objective is to spread and defend the truth and foster Christian influence in human society.”
Promulgated in 1963, it couldn’t totally envision the communication media revolution and the exciting opportunities available to us today for proclaiming the news and the Good News. Yet, the Second Vatican Council was prophetic.
“New social communications are contributing to the knowledge of events; by setting off chain reactions, they are giving the swiftest and widest possible circulation to styles of though and feeling,” says Gaudium et Spes (the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World).
We have only to look at the development of the Internet and the connected technologies and communications media associated with the web to see how true this is. Rightly so, the Pastoral Constitution suggested that changes in attitude communicated across these media can call values into question. By reading the Register’s comment boxes each day, we can see how true this is.
Earlier this week I spent time talking with Father Robert Barron, who perhaps more than any Catholic priest, understands and has been doing this, utilizing every available communication media – radio, video, YouTube, the Internet, and print – to communicate the Truth.
“My generation was the last one that came to the institutions and were evangelized there by priests and nuns,” said Father Barron. “People aren’t coming to our institutions as readily. We have to go get them and be proactive.”
It is with that same spirit that we approach “Register Radio.”
Like all of our work, it is missionary. We do not know who it will touch or how it will touch them, but we pray that the Holy Spirit will use the work given to us to capture souls for Christ. As we begin our new endeavor, I ask for your prayers. I look forward to broadcasting to you over the airwaves. May Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, and all the patrons of the airwaves help our work to be fruitful. “I don’t know your plans, but Jesus, I trust in you.”