Faith Found Via the Airwaves
Catholic radio fosters conversions: July 29 issue feature
BY CHRISTINE SMYCZYNSKI
| Posted 8/4/12 at 10:08 AM
When Christie Martin was growing up, her family belonged to the Church of Christ. When she first converted, she didn’t tell anyone; she knew she would face disapproval from family.
As David Vacheresse, general manager of the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network says, "The unique aspect of Catholic radio is it gives a person the opportunity to learn about the Catholic faith without others knowing about it."
Martin enrolled in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults program a week after her first Mass. One evening after class, she saw a bumper sticker: Catholic Radio 1230 AM: "I got into my car, found the station — Immaculate Heart Radio out of Stockton, Calif. [an EWTN Radio affiliate] — and began to find answers to all of my questions. I even began generating new ones."
Today, Martin listens to St. Valentine Radio in Amarillo, Texas (1360 AM), also an EWTN Radio affiliate, with her husband, who grew up Catholic but had fallen away from the Church. He began his journey back once Christie began RCIA. "Basically, any time that I can be busy with my hands and free with my ears and mind, I am listening."
David Morris came across Catholic radio by accident. "I was scanning and came across a discussion on Scripture," he recalls. "I was surprised when I heard them say it was a Catholic radio station."
Morris was an elder at the Centerburg Church of Christ in Centerburg, Ohio, at the time. "I had been told Catholics were not Christian, but I was learning differently now. The programs on Catholic radio answered several questions about the Catholic Church and corrected some of the things I had been told about it."
One day, Morris told his wife he was drawn to the Catholic Church. "After we went to RCIA to get some questions cleared up, we — my wife and I — started discussing things we learned at RCIA and on Catholic radio," recalls Morris. They were confirmed in 2007.
Today, St. Gabriel Radio, another EWTN Radio affiliate, in the Columbus area is their local station. "If I would not have started listening to that particular discussion on Scripture that day, I would still be mistaken about the Catholic Church," Morris says. "Both my wife and I have fallen in love with the Catholic faith."
Charles Johnson, who lives near Buffalo, N.Y., found Catholic radio when he stopped watching and listening to secular media. "I wasn’t looking to convert when I started listening to Catholic radio," says Johnson. "But the Catholic message — that of love — was far more attractive to me than the messages on secular or even Protestant radio."
Listening to WLOF, The Station of the Cross (101.7 FM), in Buffalo (yet another EWTN Radio affiliate) helped Johnson make his decision. "Having listened to and prayed with the radio station over a number of years kept bringing me closer to the Church. RCIA brought me the rest of the way."
Thom Price, director of programming for EWTN Radio and co-host of Register Radio with the Register’s Tim Drake — which features Register topics and writers — "heard a great story just the other day.
"About 10 years ago, a guy who was far from his faith tuned in to a local Catholic station — the station here in Birmingham. He sent a check of support to the manager and said he would keep listening. The checks kept arriving every month for several years. Then the station got a letter from him saying he couldn’t listen anymore because he was going into the seminary. Today he is a priest in the Diocese of Birmingham."
Christine Smyczynski writes from Getzville, New York.
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