Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
March 30, 2009
National Catholic Mission features previous Lenten programs
Bishop Paul-Andre Durocher
BY DEBORAH GYAPONG
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
OTTAWA — The economic downturn has hit the National Catholic Mission 2009, but this year’s two programs during Holy Week on VisionTV promise the best of the previous 10 years.
For the first time, the network will make the entire broadcast available for streaming online at www.visiontv.ca.
“We didn’t do a new mission this year,” National Catholic Broadcasting Council executive director Mike McManus said in an interview. “We went back over the last 10 years, tried to build a theme for the two shows and find elements that will fit a broader picture.”
The council produces the daily Mass seen on Vision TV, Salt + Light TV, Crossroads Television System and other networks. Viewers of the Mass fund the broadcasts and the annual mission. Last fall, with the economic downturn, McManus noticed a downturn in giving.
He and the council’s board decided not to hold the annual Advent appeal for funds to produce a new mission.
But McManus is pleased with how the programs have come together. He brought Bishop Paul-Andre Durocher to Toronto to record new introductions and links to the segments.
“He was our host for the first three years and people really loved him,” McManus said.
VisionTV presents the National Catholic Mission 2009 on Monday, April 6 and Tuesday, April 7 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. MT.
The mission will include two of Durocher’s talks on the Monday program. One is about fundamental fears: the fear that life is meaningless; fear of rejection; and fear of death and how the Gospel responds to all three, McManus said. He will also reflect on the meaning of salvation.
THE SEARCH FOR GOD
The second program features Jesuit Father Brian Massie from Winnipeg and David Wells, a religious teacher from Britain on how to find God in the memory; in the here and now; and in the ordinary.
The programs will feature fiddler Natalie MacMaster, singer Michael Burgess and singer/actress Arlene Duncan of Little Mosque on the Prairie and choirs from Chatham, North Bay, Willowdale and Richmond Hill, Ont.
The main ministry of the National Catholic Broadcasting Council is the daily Mass. Initiated by the Canadian Catholic bishops in 1998, the council is an independent organization with bishops on its board.
McManus said viewers pay the whole tab and support has “never wavered.” Not only that, viewers “really, really appreciate it,” sending hundreds of letters of appreciation every month.
McManus said he hears from religious sisters, living in remote homes, their numbers declining so that two or three live together. “They are quite alone,” he said, but they really appreciate the programs.
“We have people now after 10 years, who watch the Mass, close the door of their rooms, they get up early, they fix their hair, they kneel in their rooms at the given points, they respond,” he said. “Grandchilden say we mustn’t make any noise in the house because grandma is upstairs with God.”
HE DIED UNAFRAID
One widow wrote to say she watched the Mass with her husband for five years as she nursed him through a serious illness. “At the end he wasn’t afraid to die,” he said.
“I’ve never done anything that an audience appreciated so much as this and that’s very fulfilling,” said McManus.