CHARLESTON — Sacred Heart Church has taken evangelization on the air. Parishioners donated the funds to create three commercials that give television viewers a glimpse of Catholicism.
The commercials are airing on Comcast Cable and show children and adult parishioners of different races reciting part of the Nicene Creed. The words “Inspirational, Diverse, Family Worship” flash on the screen, and Father Jeffrey Kendall is shown raising the host. The commercials close with Sacred Heart’s address and Mass time.
John Swanson, a member of the church, came up with the idea for the commercials. Father Kendall approached some of his parishioners with it, and they contributed the needed $1,250 to make the commercials and air them. They were filmed by Jim Greenland and broadcast on Comcast stations and WCIV Channel 4.
“It was wonderful,” Father Kendall said. “We wanted to show our parish as it really is. Our parish is diverse, with people who have great gifts and talents, who come together united in God.”
The priest said that there is a consistent theology behind the commercials; they focus on the Eucharist.
“Our faces are the visible sign of the Church on earth because it is made up of the people in it,” Father Kendall said. “The Eucharist is the sacramental face of God. Jesus Christ is present in the sacrament. The commercial starts with visible human faces and ends with the sacramental face of Jesus Christ here on earth.”
He hopes the commercials will reach Catholics who have fallen away or people who are unchurched. The priest and the participants in the commercials have already had many comments from viewers. Both Comcast and Channel 4 have run the commercials free as a public service announcement in addition to the paid-for time slots.
The pastor showed the commercial to the parish for the first time after Mass Feb. 6. Some people had already seen it on television, but Marcella Hickey saw it for the first time that day. She said she was glad the commercial was made.
“This parish has worked very hard to stay alive,” Hickey said.
Father Kendall said that 50 people showed up to take part in the commercial. Parishioners Sylvia Scott and English Kerr appear in one of the versions.
Both women said that they had heard good things about it from their friends and acquaintances who viewed it on television.
“I’m just glad people are willing to stand up there and talk about their faith,” Kerr said.
Bishop Robert J. Baker was delighted with the commercial, and has asked Father Kendall to help guide other parishes and schools in their efforts to do the same.