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Catholic News Herald

Serving Christ and Connecting Catholics in Western North Carolina

122217 sems radioCOLUMBUS, Ohio — Two seminarians from the Diocese of Charlotte have taken to the radio waves this year to evangelize.

As part of their third year in theology studies at the Pontifical College Josephinum, Britt Taylor and Alfonso Gamez are assigned to record a weekly podcast that airs on St. Gabriel Catholic Radio 820 AM on Tuesdays at noon and Sundays at 1 p.m.

The 30-minute show is a conversation between Gamez, Taylor and a third seminarian from the Diocese of Columbus, designed to encourage vocations and shed light on aspects of the faith.

“We talk about contemporary issues: the faith, how it influences us, the sacraments, morals,” said Gamez, who is a parishioner of Immaculate Conception Church in Hendersonville. “Each pre-recorded episode is led by one of us. The topic is chosen by that leader, and he kind of guides the discussion and provides the contents for that episode.”

Pictured: Diocese of Charlotte seminarians Britt Taylor, center, Alfonso Gamez, right, and Diocese of Columbus seminarian P.J. Brandimarti are recording a weekly podcast that airs on St. Gabriel Catholic Radio. (Photo provided by St. Gabriel Catholic Radio)

This is the first year in their studies where they’ve learned enough to actually “teach” the faith, said Taylor, who is a parishioner at St. Matthew Church in Charlotte. While some of their classmates are teaching RCIA classes, their assignment is this radio show.

The seminarians say they have more flexibility in “teaching” on the radio show than their classmates doing in religious education classes.

“We can take topics we’re passionate about and be able to communicate and really have a dialogue with one another,” Taylor said. “We can communicate in such a way that it’s approachable and other people can actually comprehend what we’re saying.”

Without direct interaction with the audience, Gamez said, they have to prepare topics in a way that anticipates any confusion that the presentation could evoke.

“We have to prepare for that and explain things at a basic level. That is allowing us to be effective teachers, instead of presuming a lot of knowledge,” Gamez said.

Some show topics so far have been about aspects of the spiritual life, consumerism, the sacraments of confession and anointing of the sick, as well as vocation discernment and how they found their way to the seminary, Taylor said.

“Maybe there’s a young person listening to it who may be inspired to a vocation,” Taylor said.

There are shows about more practical topics as well, Gamez said, including the spirituality of staying fit and the Christian notion of friendship as a virtue.

“When we’re thinking of shows, we try to pick topics where the listener is not just going to listen to a 30-minute lecture, but something they can actually incorporate into their own spiritual life,” Taylor said.

“We’re going to record one on Eucharistic Adoration. So when we look at our experience with Adoration, we have to think how we can convey that in such a way that someone’s inspired to spend some time in front of the Blessed Sacrament and pray to our Lord.

“We have to look at different ways to inspire people to not only live out their faith, but also encourage them to increase it so that they’re growing spiritually through our ministry on the radio,” he said.

While St. Gabriel Catholic Radio is based in the Diocese of Columbus, Ohio, on a clear day the radio station can be heard across the entire state. Each of the shows is archived for listening online as well. The shows will continue to air through the academic year and next summer. The seminarians estimate they will record 30 to 40 shows this year.

“It’s an awesome experience,” Taylor said.

Gamez said he hopes he can bring the skills he’s learned back to the Charlotte diocese and possibly work with the new Carolina Catholic Radio Network to air local evangelization radio programs after he has been ordained a priest.

“It provides a unique opportunity to see how this tool is used for communications and evangelization,” he said.

— Kimberly Bender, Online reporter

Listen online

At www.stgabrielradio.com: Catch all of “The Seminarians” podcasts listed under “archive” on St. Gabriel Catholic Radio’s website