“The words which you transmit reach countless people, some of whom are alone and for whom your word comes as a consoling gift, some of whom are curious and are intrigued by what they hear, some of whom never attend church because they belong to different religions or to no religion at all, and others still who have never heard the name of Jesus Christ, yet through your service first come to hear the words of salvation.”
– Pope Benedict XVI
Message to Catholic Radio Broadcasters
June 20, 2008
Owensboro Catholic Radio recognizes that many people drive around Owensboro searching for uplifting programs on the radio. As a medium, radio is uniquely capable of offering in-depth content in a fast paced world. Furthermore, radio has distinctive access to a diverse group of people of many different religions, ethnicities, ages, and walks of life. On this side of heaven, we will never know when the Holy Spirit prompts someone to press the “scan” button on their car radio only to find a message that draws them closer to God.
The Influence of Radio in the Modern World
“For the new evangelization to be effective, it is essential to have a deep understanding of the culture of our time in which the social communications media are most influential. Therefore, knowledge and use of the media, whether the more traditional forms or those which technology has produced in recent times, is indispensable. Contemporary reality demands a capacity to learn the language, nature and characteristics of mass media. Using the media correctly and competently can lead to a genuine inculturation of the Gospel.”
– Blessed John Paul II
Ecclesia in America, 72
A recent survey in November 2010 by John Paul the Great Catholic University on behalf of the Immaculate Heart Radio network, showed that just over half the survey respondents are more active in their local parishes as a direct result of listening to Catholic radio.
Among the survey’s other findings:
- 94% of listeners said they are more spiritually engaged and inspired.
- 83% say they’ve learned a great deal about their Catholic faith.
- 69% are better able to teach their children the truths of the faith.
- 47% attend Mass more frequently.
- 31% have returned to the Church because of the programming.
At the other end of the spectrum, for a reason from a completely secular and materialistic point of view, we can see the impact that radio has just by viewing the enormous investment in radio infrastructure from individuals and international corporations. Think about it, why would those seeking a return on their investment sink billions of dollars into a medium of communication that did not influence those it reached? Similarly, would advertisers, whose sole purpose in advertising is to convince listeners to buy their product or service, spend billions of their marketing dollars on radio advertising each year if it had not proven to be particularly effective in driving consumers to their respective products?
Radio and The Catholic Church
The Father’s of the Second Vatican Council understood the need of man for God and to hear the truths of the Faith proclaimed using modern technology:
“Therefore, this sacred Synod advises them of the obligation they have to maintain and assist Catholic … radio and television programs and stations, whose principal objective is to spread and defend the truth and foster Christian influence in human society” (Inter Mirifica, 17).
“The most important of these inventions are those media which, such as radio…, can, of their very nature, reach and influence, not only individuals, but the very masses and the whole of human society” (Inter Mirifica, 1)
Yet not only has the Council called for Catholic radio, but each of the Popes going back to Pope Pius XII! Most recently one has only to think of the voluminous writings of Pope John Paul II, including Ecclesia in America, Redemptoris missio, and his many homilies and messages on World Communications Days.
Radio as a Tool for Evangelization
Because of the changing social and cultural environment, the Catholic Church must develop new ways to evangelize and catechize. With the advent of new technology, there are new means of evangelization and catechesis available. These media, including television, radio, and the internet, offer effective, unique, and innovative ways to reach out to the lost.
There are also seven practical reasons why Catholic radio is becoming more widely adopted as a means of evangelization and catechesis. Catholic radio is:
- Available – Everyone can listen, especially the poor and homeless (no subscription or service needed)
- Personal – Radio touches people personally regardless of where they are. It allows a listener to dialogue with the speaker in the privacy of his own mind.
- Continuous – Radio is always available, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. It can be listened to while driving, showering or even mowing the lawn.
- Immediate – Radio programming can come direct to you without intermediary.
- Timely – Radio can cover important issues and concerns as they happen.
- Efficacious – Radio makes other efforts and programs fruitful.
- Cost-effective – Dollar for dollar radio costs less than any other medium; it reaches more people in less time for less money with less staff.
Catholic radio has proven to be one of the most effective means in this mission of evangelization. Because Catholic radio is personal, timely, local, and cost-effective, it has become “The Instrument of the New Evangelization.”