A ‘voice’ of the Archdiocese, Radio Ministry shares Gospel message of love on the airwaves

May 27, 2015

HOUSTON — More than five decades ago, the Vatican II Council expressed the importance of using modern communications channels to disseminate Catholic programming to fulfill the mission of the Church locally, nationally and globally: “… Go and make disciples… teaching them all that I have commanded you.” (Mt. 28:19-20). 

The importance of proclaiming the Gospel message through the use of modern media was stressed again in 1999 when Saint John Paul II wrote, “Using the media correctly and competently can lead to a genuine inculturation of the Gospel.” (Eccesia in America, 72). 

Through the wisdom of these holy fathers, one of the mediums that was born was Catholic radio. 

According to the Catholic Radio Association: “…Catholic radio has been found to be particularly efficacious in the sphere of evangelization and catechesis, in part, precisely because Western culture is, predominantly, a culture of the media. The desires, attitudes and ideas which most people hold, even their religious and moral beliefs, are shaped in large part as result of their choices of media consumption.” (Catholic Radio: The Instrument of the New Evangelization)

Madeline Johnson has been the producer of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston’s Office of Radio for more than three decades. It is one of 60 ministries supported by the 2015 Diocesan Services Fund (DSF). 

The mission of radio ministry is to coordinate, produce, direct and distribute original and syndicated Catholic radio programs for local broadcast and the Internet. The Archdiocesan radio programs are presented in English, Spanish and Vietnamese, which express the cultural diversity of the Archdiocese. Radio show hosts are able to address issues and share information that is beneficial to all listeners. 

As “the voice” of the Archdiocese, Johnson said the airwaves are a means to evangelize, as disciples in mission, and to communicate the Gospel message of love.

“Radio ministry is a powerful means of communicating Catholic news locally, nationally and globally,” Johnson said. “We are very sensitive to and respectful of all evangelization efforts of every ministry, department, office and organization in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. We promote various events, celebrations and annual gatherings, which are high priorities in every season of our ministry’s productions.”

Radio ministry is responsible for production and distribution of radio programs that are entitled and hosted by lay, clergy and religious members. All are pre-recorded in the Chancery audio studio. In addition to staying abreast of Catholic current issues and events to keep audiences informed, the hosts and hostesses also share interesting and educational stories about the lives and experiences of people that are part of the many ministries that make up the Archdiocese. One recent example involved the Office of Vocations.

“Our efforts enhance the calls answered by many who are in discernment and formation, preparing for Holy Orders,” Johnson said. “Those celebrating anniversaries and jubilees share their own journeys following Jesus, as religious sisters, brothers, deacons, priests and especially as shepherds tending the flocks as taught by Jesus: the Good Shepherd. They are the successors of the Apostles in our midst, who bless the broadcast efforts through our humble efforts to herald God’s message of love.”

Johnson said current events remain in the ministry’s scope of selections for broadcast, including the papal appointment of Bishop-elect Brendan Cahill, third bishop of Victoria, that was announced April 23. The ministry also produced specials regarding the 50th anniversary of the Montgomery to Selma March in Alabama, where Archbishop Emeritus Joseph A. Fiorenza, retired Auxiliary Bishop Vincent M. Rizzotto and retired Bishop John McCarthy of Austin participated in the original march in 1965 as young priests of the diocese at that historic moment in the nation.

Johnson said plans are in the works for greater use of electronic evangelization in and through the efforts of radio ministry.
“Since 2014, radio ministry has assisted with important historic information, including several interviews with Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza and (retired priest) Monsignor Fred O’Connor,” Johnson said. “Future interviews are scheduled for stories to be recorded featuring Bishop Vincent Rizzotto and other seasoned clerics who have agreed to tell their stories that will be extended electronically via our website. These also will be included in our Archdiocesan archives through Lisa May (Director of Archives and Records), who assists in these recording sessions.”