ST. FRANCIS — Something magical happens when people tell stories about their experiences with God. By sharing these stories, people enter the places between heaven and earth where it is possible to glimpse the eternal that Fr. Donald Hying hopes to capture for his new radio audience.
“New Heart, New Spirit” debuted Aug. 1, and Fr. Hying, rector of Saint Francis de Sales Seminary, is excited to bring his love for Christ, of the priesthood, seminary and other lively topics each month for the half- hour radio program on Milwaukee’s Relevant Radio.
“Through this program I really want to get out the word on Saint Francis Seminary and the priesthood,” he said. “I’d like to introduce a variety of personalities in the archdiocese and get them to talk about different aspects about the priesthood, the seminary and the like.”
Fr. Hying hosted a live radio program in Spanish when he served at the archdiocese’s sister parish in the Dominican Republic, but he wasn’t sure if a similar program would work in Milwaukee.
“I was going to look into doing something like this because I thought it would be a great medium to promote vocations and Catholic lifestyle in general, and Relevant Radio beat me to the punch,” he said, adding, “It was all God’s doing and we are excited about it.”
When Relevant Radio offered a 30-minute timeslot for $175, Fr. Hying accepted the opportunity. The seminary is financing the program, but hopes to find sponsors for it. In exchange for their financial support, benefactors would be offered commercial time during the program.
“If we can get enough support, we might be able to offer the program more often, even weekly,” Fr. Hying said. “For the amount of money it costs to produce this program, the benefits and results are well worth the cost.”
So far, “New Heart, New Spirit,” which began with Fr. Hying’s story of his call to the priesthood and to the seminary, has been popular with listeners, according to the priest. The September program featured an interview with Peggy Hughes, co-chair of the seminary’s fall dinner and director of liturgy at Lumen Christi Parish, Mequon.
“I just completed an interview with Leonardo DeFelippis, who recently brought his one man show ‘Vianney’ to area churches, and that will be our October program,” said Fr. Hying, adding, “This fit in quite nicely as we are celebrating the Year for Priests.”
According to Relevant Radio general manager Lillie Roohana, “New Heart, New Spirit” is for all Catholics, but especially is targeted toward the male listener who might be interested in becoming a priest.
“Our audience ranges in age from 25-64,” she said. “But over half are between the ages of 35-54 and we have a split of 60 percent female and roughly 40 percent male listeners.”
“New Heart, New Spirit”
airs at 11 a.m. the first Saturday of every month on
100.1 FM. Show topics and guest ideas are welcome.
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A long-time friend of Fr. Hying, Roohana recalled meeting with him a year ago at the seminary to discuss the radio program.
“Nothing happened for a while, and then we received a phone call from Emerald Isle who the seminary works with for its public relations to find out what it would take to get the program started, and the rest is history,” she said. “I have known Fr. Don for over 10 years and I (was) blessed to have him as my pastor at Our Lady of Good Hope. The show has been a great success with our listeners through the comments thus far.”
Future programs will include interviews with seminarians and the parents of the seminarians, as well as discussions about the future of Saint Francis Seminary.
“I am also interested in talking with our benefactors and finding out why they are so passionate in supporting us. There are so many topics to explore, such as the many people involved in the archdiocese, different opinions and slants on the seminary and the priesthood,” he said. “For a long time people thought the seminary was closed, and through this radio show, we can demonstrate that not only are we open, but we are thriving here and welcoming to new seminarians.”
Other than hoping to offer the program more often, the only drawback for Fr. Hying is that the program is not live.
“If it were live, I would not get as nervous,” he joked.
“It’s a lot of fun to do and I enjoy doing the show,” he said, adding, “Matt Beardsley is the producer at Relevant Radio and he makes the whole job easy for me.”