You would think with World Youth Day 2013 behind us things might slow down a bit at EWTN. Instead we have dozens of people flying in from all over the country to film a new series, “Vocation Boom.”
EWTN Global Catholic Radio fans are already familiar with Host Jerry Usher’s popular radio show by the same name. You may also remember that Jerry was once the host of “Catholic Answers Live.” I remember him as always having something funny to say and as making observations about things that everyone else was thinking about, but wouldn’t dare to say! I’m happy to report he’s as much a natural on television as he is on radio!
Jerry says his apostotale for future priests started about four years ago (Sept. 14, 2009 to be exact) with a website, www.vocationboom.com. This was followed by a radio show, which launched on Feb. 5, 2011, and now a television series. The Lord is obviously blessing this work!
His guests include Dr. Matthew Bunson, Senior Fellow of the St. Paul Center for biblical Theology, one of the leading authorities on the papacy and the Church, and author of 50 (!) books. EWTN carries two popular ones: “Encyclopedia of U.S. Catholic History,” http://bit.ly/14j7IuO, and “Pope Francis,” the first biography of our new Pope, http://bit.ly/18Nl28R.
Matthew says that the book was doing well when it first came out, but after he filmed an episode of “EWTN Bookmark” with Host Doug Keck, the book soared to #1 on the Catholic bestseller list and rose to #200 on Amazon – this is out of ALL their books, whether secular or religious, which his HUGE!
I had a chance to chat with this Catholic expert and discovered that he lived in Hawaii and, as a very young boy, was actually part of a television series with the late Brian Keith called “The Little People” aka “The Brian Keith Show.” He played the character of Billy, who was always getting into trouble! A quick Internet search uncovered an episode called “Sunday Fishy Sunday” that first aired on Nov. 9, 1973 – almost 40 years ago. Apparently, you can still see it on Netflix! Who would have thought little Billy would turn out to be a world renowned Catholic scholar!
Matthew appears on each episode of the new show with short 5-minute historical segments in which he discusses topics like how young men received their training for the priesthood during the early days of the Church and how that training changed for the better after the Council of Trent.
Also visiting EWTN were one time guests on the show such as Debbie Georgianni, Community Relations Representative and Announcer for EWTN’s Phoenix radio affiliate, Immaculate Heart Radio KIHP 1310 AM, http://ihradio.com. Georgianni, who is also a motivational and public speaker, has been heavily involved in religious education and outreach to priests in her diocese. Her segment was eminently practical. She notes, for example, that many people invite their parish priest to dinner at their homes. But she stressed that it’s important to make this an occasion where your overworked priest can actually relax and recharge with good friends – no shop talk! Her advice: If you want spiritual direction, set up a session for that, but treat your priest as you would any other dinner guest. Then, you will truly be a blessing!
I also ran into Sherry Kennedy Brownrigg. She’s a public relations and radio professional who helps Catholic organizations, apostolates and radio groups with their media needs. She resides in Nebraska, but you’ll find her everywhere from EWTN to the Caribbean, where she travels each year to teach the youth about communications and media. Although she’s usually helping others publicize their apostolates, she was on “Vocation Boom” to discuss her very own apostolate, Maria Regina Cleri. You’ll definitely want to check her website, www.prayingforourpriests.org.
The mission of the group is “the prayerful support of the ministerial priesthood and vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.” Her website offers books, CDs and downloads of the rosary, Stations of the Cross, Chaplet of Divine mercy for priests, and the Rosary for Vocations, and much of it is free. Says Brownrigg: “No priest, no Eucharist. Why wouldn’t we pray?”
You’ll meet all of these terrific people and more on “Vocation Boom” with Host Jerry Usher. I promise to let you know when EWTN launches this terrific new series!