GREENVILLE—Pope John Paul II, who embraced modern media wholeheartedly during his long papacy, once talked about the power of radio as a tool for spreading the Gospel.
A crowd of 433 people who attended a special Valentine’s Gala held by Mediatrix Radio/Catholic Radio in South Carolina on Feb. 13 learned about the full scope of the radio group’s efforts to embrace the late pontiff’s idea.
“Our mission is to win souls for Christ, and one of the steps on that mission is to bring like-minded people together,” said Gary Towery, president of Catholic Radio in South Carolina. “This event gave people the chance to learn how they can support the Catholic radio ministry in South Carolina, and also gave them a chance to hear from people whose lives had been changed by the ministry. It was wonderful to look out at the crowd and see all of these people who are so in love with their faith.”
The program included a video featuring listeners who told the story of Catholic Radio’s impact, including one woman who converted to Catholicism after listening to several of the radio programs and another woman who was comforted by Catholic radio during an illness and later became a dedicated volunteer at the Greenville-based Mediatrix offices.
Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone was featured at the end of the video urging people around the Diocese of Charleston to give financial support to Catholic Radio.
The gala was also a kickoff for a new $1 million capital campaign to expand Catholic Radio’s outreach in the state. Towery said more about the campaign and examples of their programming can be found at www.catholicradioinsc.com.
Dr. Eric Norton, a member of the Catholic Radio board of directors, said the goal of the campaign is to bring Catholic Radio to people who might not otherwise hear it. It is estimated that 30 to 40 percent of Mediatrix listeners in the Upstate are not Catholic.
“Hopefully we’re going to reach out beyond the Catholic centers in the state and bring these programs to non-Catholics as well,” Norton said. “It would be great to increase the radio signal along the major interstates such as U.S. Highways I-85 and I-77. People traveling through the area might get to hear programs and a message they wouldn’t get to hear anywhere else.”
Two keynote speakers described how Catholic radio’s programming fits in with an increased focus on evangelization and outreach in the U.S. Church.
Jesuit Father Mitch Pacwa, president and founder of Ignatius Productions and host of “EWTN Live” on the Eternal Word Television Network, gave an overview of church history and talked about how secular culture has caused a decline in church attendance in Europe and in many mainline Protestant churches in the United States. He stressed that Catholic Radio and other media can be important tools to fight against secularism, promote true Catholic teaching and bring people into the church.
Steve Wood, founder and president of the Greenville-based Family Life Center International, talked about how he converted to Catholicism and about the power of Catholic Radio to convey true church teaching, especially the pro-life message.
“The speakers really gave us confidence and the courage to be willing to take a stand for the Catholic faith,” said Nancy McGrath, a registered nurse from Greenville and member of St. Mary Church. “The event really helped us to see how powerful and influential Catholic radio can be in bringing people together and helping them to really practice their faith in the secular world.”