July 25, 2014

‘A culture of encounter’: Archdiocese launches its first Latino radio program

By Natalie Hoefer

(En español)

On June 23, the archdiocese celebrated a first: the archdiocese’s first radio show in Spanish aired on 810 AM Pescador Radio.

It has been a dream of archdiocesan Intercultural Ministry director Franciscan Brother Moises Gutierrez ever since he began serving in the archdiocese four years ago as Hispanic Ministry coordinator.

“We knew how important radio was, because you can reach more people,” he said.

In January, a new Latino Christian radio station hit the airwaves in Indianapolis—810 AM Pescador Radio, or “Fisherman Radio.”

One of their representatives contacted Brother Moises in May to see if the archdiocese would be interested in having a weekly one-hour show.

“I talked to [Secretariat for Communications executive director] Greg Otolski to see if we’d be interested, and he said yes, definitely, that Archbishop [Joseph W.] Tobin is very interested in something like this.”

Otolski explained the archbishop’s desire for an Hispanic radio program.

“Archbishop Tobin knew from the Hispanic ministry work that he has done in other dioceses that getting a program on a Spanish language radio station was an effective way to reach people, and he wanted to do that in Indianapolis,” Otolski said.

“This radio program gives us a great opportunity to evangelize. It’s a way for us to share with Spanish-speaking Catholics what is happening in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, and to also share our faith with people who may not have a church home or who have fallen away from their faith.”

A six-month contract was signed for the 12:30-1:30 p.m. Monday timeslot, and within about six weeks Brother Moises was on the air interviewing Archbishop Tobin for the first show of “Comunidad Catolica de Fe,” or “The Catholic Faith Community.”

“[Archbishop Tobin] talked about the importance of Hispanic ministry, the importance of intercultural ministry—it was just fun,” Brother Moises said with a laugh, admitting that “that was my first [time hosting a] radio show ever.”

As much fun as he had, Brother Moises will not be hosting each show.

“Priests, deacons, pastoral associates, lay leaders—they’re all excited and want to help,” he said.

While Brother Moises and a team of advisors are still lining up speakers and developing the format for the rest of the six-month lineup, one thing is certain, he said.

“At the end of July, we’ll start doing live shows, so we can have people call in with questions and really connect with them.”

Connecting with Latinos is the primary purpose for the existence of the program, he said, with “the hope that we will reach out to people who have left the Church or who have not been practicing a faith, as well as the people in the pews.

“The show is geared toward Hispanics, Catholic or not. Sometimes it’s difficult to reach out to people who don’t go to church. But they can listen to the radio when they’re working or eating lunch.

“The purpose is to give people the opportunity to encounter Jesus and to encounter each other. We encounter them, they encounter us, and together we encounter Jesus. That’s the purpose. That’s the whole idea.”

Brother Moises cites Pope Francis’ message from the 48th World Communication Day on June 1 as being supportive of this effort.

“He was talking about using media to put into practice what he has called ‘to embrace a culture of encounter,’ ” Brother Moises explained. “He said with the media, we’re able to encounter all the different people, and you can really reach out to them and together reflect on our faith and our culture as Catholics.

“He’s inviting us to live out this culture of encounter.”

Many people will have the opportunity to share in this encounter. With a roughly 40-mile radius, the show could reach Latinos as far east as Connersville, as far south as Bloomington, as far west as Greencastle and beyond Carmel, Ind., in the Lafayette Diocese to the north.

Brother Moises said numerous people have made positive comments to him after having heard the program.

“Several people even commented about it on their Facebook page, and those comments were shared,” he said. “They quoted what the archbishop said on the show—it’s working!”

Brother Moises is quick to give credit elsewhere for the success and existence of the show.

“The way everything developed, we believe God is involved in this. We trust that if we do our part, God will do his.

“And I’m very proud of the archdiocese and how they respond to the sign of the times, the needs and the realities of the archdiocese.

“It’s a win-win situation: We wanted to do a show, and the Hispanic community will benefit.” †

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