September 25, 2020

Catholic Radio Indy presents Evangelist of the Year award to Father Guy Roberts

Father Guy Roberts, pastor of St. Joan of Arc Parish in Indianapolis, poses with Archbishop Charles C. Thompson after the archbishop presented him with Catholic Radio Indy’s first-ever Archbishop Fulton Sheen Evangelist of the Year award in the organization’s Indianapolis office on Sept. 9. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

Father Guy Roberts, pastor of St. Joan of Arc Parish in Indianapolis, poses with Archbishop Charles C. Thompson after the archbishop presented him with Catholic Radio Indy’s first-ever Archbishop Fulton Sheen Evangelist of the Year award in the organization’s Indianapolis office on Sept. 9. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

By Natalie Hoefer

In 1930, the radio waves first carried the sounds of a professor at The Catholic University of America in Washington. The show was called “The Catholic Hour,” and the host was a priest named Father Fulton Sheen.

Ninety years and a cause for canonization later, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen’s legacy lives on at Catholic Radio Indy, in more ways than one.

Not only does the non-profit organization continue the effort of evangelization-by-radio that Archbishop Sheen began, but on Sept. 9 it bestowed its first-ever Archbishop Fulton Sheen Evangelist of the Year Award.

“I’m very humbled by this award,” said recipient Father Guy Roberts, pastor of St. Joan of Arc Parish in Indianapolis. “The archdiocese has so many fine priests, and I’m sure this award included priests from Lafayette and the surrounding area as well.”

The priest was nominated by St. Joan of Arc parishioner George Maley, a member of Catholic Radio Indy’s board of directors.

“Father Roberts has an inward sense of priesthood that is exemplified in his sermons, but more importantly in his personal demeanor,” said Maley. “In my mind’s eye, he is a man of all seasons.”

Father Roberts was close to his ordination as a Lutheran minister before embracing the Catholic faith in 1996. He was ordained a priest in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, N.M., and began ministering in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis—where he grew up—in 2005. He was incardinated into the archdiocese in 2009.

In 2015, he took a sabbatical to research what Pope John Paul II called the “new evangelization.” He wrote a book based on his research titled “The Heart of the New Evangelization: A Parish Guide to the New Evangelization.” (See related story)

Although the book is available on the St. Joan of Arc website in draft form, Father Roberts is still tweaking its contents as he implements the book’s concepts at the parish.

“In preparation for this evening, I went back to read some of your book … that you presented to me just shortly after I was installed as archbishop of Indianapolis back in 2017,” said Archbishop Charles C. Thompson before presenting the award during a live broadcast.

“You reached back to ‘Lumen Gentium’—‘The Light of the Nations,’ and Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul, Pope Benedict and now Pope Francis, talking about how they called us to this new evangelization—not to create new programs, but to find new ways to proclaim the Gospel, and doing that by our words and actions.”

The on-air presentation took the place of the Catholic Radio Indy’s annual dinner and fundraiser event, which was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. An online auction with more than 130 items was held during the week prior to the on-air presentation of the award.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will serve as a down payment for a future station and to help pay for operation costs, said Bob Teipen, founder of Inter Mirifica, Inc., the non-profit organization that operates the stations.

Currently, the organization has three FM stations: 89.1 in Indianapolis, plus 90.9 in Noblesville, Ind., and 98.3 in Anderson, Ind., both in the Lafayette Diocese. Together they cover from east of Terre Haute to as far as Anderson, and from south of Lafayette to near Martinsville.

“There are still gaps in the metro [Indianapolis] area where we may have a signal, but it’s weak,” said Teipen.

“Opportunities to buy a station only come around about every 3-4 years, and we need to be in a position to put down a sizable down payment when that opportunity arises.

“If we were able to get a new station that would cover the area well, we might be able to sell our other assets and cut down on costs, because one station would be more efficient to operate.”

The organization, like many other non-profits, has experienced a decrease in donor support due to the pandemic.

“We still have some major supporters, but we have lost donors and underwriters,” he said. “People are under financial duress, and some folks had to reluctantly cancel or lower their donations, so our income is dropping.”

During the award presentation, Archbishop Thompson expressed his gratitude for Catholic Radio Indy and his and support of their choice for their new annual award.

“I’ve heard you preach,” he said, looking at the priest. “You do that very well, in your homilies as well as in the witness of your life. I think it’s a great choice to give this first award of the Evangelist of the Year—remembering Archbishop Fulton Sheen—to you, for all the many ways that you provide such a witness of evangelization.”

Father Roberts addressed the small group of Catholic Radio Indy staff, board members and supporters in the organization’s office as he accepted the award.

“I’ve had a great heart for evangelization since my days as a Lutheran,” he said. “I’ve always had a passion for telling the story of what we Catholics have.”

Father Roberts called Archbishop Fulton Sheen “a great model of what it means to be a human face of the message.

“If I would say anything about evangelization, it has to be that human face, because evangelization is the work of Jesus Christ who came into the world, the Word made flesh—not just the Word, but the Word made flesh.

“I’m very honored to follow in the footsteps of such a great shepherd of Jesus Christ by continuing to proclaim that same word.”
 

(For more information on Catholic Radio Indy or to donate, go to www.catholicradioindy.org or call 317-870-8400.)

 

Related story: Listen to Catholic Radio Indy from anywhere—without a radio

 

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