Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán O’Malley shares his reflections and experiences

Evangelization through the media

This week I am in Madrid with 500 young people and chaplains to participate in World Youth Day. More than one million Catholics from every continent are here. It’s been a great and exciting week.

Cardinal WYD_1

I’ve been able to celebrate Masses and lead catecheses for our pilgrims from Boston. I look forward to sharing a thorough report with you next week.


This week I’ve asked Scot Landry, Secretary for Catholic Media, to discuss what we’re doing as an archdiocese to evangelize through the use of media. We are blessed that our Archdiocese has a great television station in CatholicTV and America’s oldest Catholic newspaper in The Pilot. Scot and his team have worked hard to add new media vehicles to these established ones.

Dom Bettinelli and George Martell of the Catholic Media team are here with me in Madrid covering the pilgrimage and allowing those in the Archdiocese to follow our journey. Please visit and for the latest photos, updates and videos. You can also visit to watch the events with the Holy Father.

The Catholic Media Secretariat

I’m grateful to Cardinal Seán for the opportunity to share what we’re doing in our Catholic Media Secretariat to assist him in his work of renewing and strengthening the Church in the Archdiocese of Boston.


On July 1, 2010, Cardinal Seán established the Catholic Media Secretariat. This action instituted a group into the organizational structure of the Archdiocese whose purpose is to implement Pope Benedict’s call to put all forms of media, old and new, at the service of the primary mission of the Church, which is to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with the world. The Holy Father specifically asked the Church at all levels to evangelize the “digital continent.”

“I ask you to introduce into the culture of this new environment of communications and information technology the values on which you have built your lives. In the early life of the Church, the great Apostles and their disciples brought the Good News of Jesus to the Greek and Roman world. Just as, at that time, a fruitful evangelization required that careful attention be given to understanding the culture and customs of those pagan peoples so that the truth of the gospel would touch their hearts and minds, so also today, the proclamation of Christ in the world of new technologies requires a profound knowledge of this world if the technologies are to serve our mission adequately.”

“It falls, in particular, to [those] who have an almost spontaneous affinity for the new means of communication, to take on the responsibility for the evangelization of this "digital continent". Be sure to announce the Gospel to your contemporaries with enthusiasm. You know their fears and their hopes, their aspirations and their disappointments: the greatest gift you can give to them is to share with them the "Good News" of a God who became man, who suffered, died and rose again to save all people. Human hearts are yearning for a world where love endures, where gifts are shared, where unity is built, where freedom finds meaning in truth, and where identity is found in respectful communion. Our faith can respond to these expectations: may you become its heralds!”

Pope Benedict XVI, Message Of The Holy Father Benedict XVI For The 43rd World Communications Day, 24 January 2009.

In a video to announce the new secretariat, Cardinal Seán remarked:

“Jesus’ last instruction to us his followers was a call to announce the Gospel to all nations. Our Lord is inviting us to share in His mission. We are always looking for new and better ways to share the message of Christ with the largest audience possible.

“St. Paul and the Apostles traveled throughout the known world to preach the Gospel. Modern technology has made the world smaller and opens new doors for the task of Evangelization. In the Archdiocese of Boston we are excited to announce this new initiative to employ the marvels of modern telecommunications at the service of the Gospel.

“Only recently the Holy Father is calling the whole Church to launch out with confidence using the new media to advance the cause of Christ. I am delighted that we are beginning this new adventure of faith together. I hope you join us.”

Cardinal Seán wanted all of our media entities to be in one organization to foster innovation and to strengthen each other. We started with 4 groups:

CatholicTV® (formerly Boston Catholic Television) is the oldest Catholic television network in the United States and presently the second largest national Catholic network to EWTN. Its Sunday Mass broadcast is the longest running program in the Boston television market (since January 1, 1955). The CatholicTVjr™ widget allows every parish, school or ministry website to share CatholicTV’s great programming directly with its community. CatholicTV® has a large following on Facebook and Twitter and has a great mobile application for the iPhone.


The Pilot, established in 1829, is America’s oldest Catholic newspaper and the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston. Its website,, has earned several national awards for the presentation of Catholic news online. The Pilot also has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, has a large weekly e-newsletter, and can be read on the iPhone, Android devices, and the Kindle.



The Pilot Catholic Directory compiles the official information of all institutions within the Archdiocese of Boston. Most of this content is used by the Archdiocesan website and the parish information of the Directory forms the basis of the Pilot Parish Finder mobile applications for the iPhone and Android devices. This directory contains more than 600 pages of ministry, organizational and personnel listings and really shows the amazing breadth of the Archdiocese.



We combined various website and social media ministries into Pilot New Media when Cardinal Seán launched the secretariat. This new group manages, the official website of the Archdiocese, many websites (parishes, Archdiocesan initiatives and ministries, such as and, and schools), as well as  the official Archdiocesan Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and Vimeo presences. The group also assists Cardinal Seán with his new media projects.


Under Cardinal Seán’s leadership and initiative, the Archdiocese of Boston has been a leader in embracing new methods to share our faith, connect with others, and inspire others to help us build a civilization of love. Cardinal Seán himself took the lead as the first cardinal in the world to launch this blog  teaching and sharing his ministry worldwide. He wrote the Foreword to a new book compiled by Brandon Vogt and published by Our Sunday Visitor, called The Church and New Media. I was honored to be asked to write Chapter 7, “New Media in a Diocese.” The book is an outstanding presentation of the potential of new media to help people know Christ, connect with other disciples, and learn more about our faith.


In addition to the expansion of these existing media ministries, Cardinal Seán hoped that we would be able to add ministries that produce parish bulletins, print parish materials and evangelize through radio.

Pilot Bulletins & Pilot Printing

In September 2010 we launched Pilot Bulletins & Pilot Printing, which allow us to print parish bulletins, posters, banners, business cards, newsletters, and promotional materials. Bulletins reach more parishioners weekly than any of our other communication tools. Therefore, we believed that our secretariat should provide a bulletin and printing service to our parishes, schools and ministries. We currently are printing bulletins for 60 parishes with another 40 scheduled to begin printing when the parish’s current bulletin contract expires. Parishes have chosen Pilot Bulletins because of the full color covers that can change each week, the booklet format, the additional pages provided and the ability to include photos of parish events and ministries.

Pilot Printing has had a positive impact on the Archdiocese in its first year, as it was instrumental in the The Light Is On For You and Catholics Come Home initiatives. They can print banners, posters, pew cards, booklets, business cards, Mass cards, presentation folders, letterhead, magnets, and much more for parishes, schools and ministries.

This summer Mike McDonald, a college student at Rochester Institute of Technology and a parishioner at St. Mary Parish in Foxboro, interned with our Pilot New Media group. One of Mike’s projects was to produce this video showing how bulletins get printed now at our Pastoral Center in Braintree.

Catholic Radio & The Good Catholic Life program

Another of Cardinal Seán’s priorities for our Media Secretariat is to help support or establish Catholic radio in the Archdiocese, believing that it is one of the best formats for evangelization. About 15 years ago, there were only about 20 Catholic radio stations in the country (out of a total of about 15,000 AM/FM stations). Now the number has grown to about 175, thanks in large part to EWTN Radio and other radio networks that provide free Catholic programming to Catholic stations.

Last summer, Jim Wright, the President of Holy Family Communications and The Station of the Cross radio network out of Buffalo, approached Cardinal Seán and me with the desire to purchase 1060AM and convert it to 24/7 Catholic programming. The Station of the Cross was already in Buffalo, Rochester and Elmira, New York, so they had experience running radio stations. As he has done in the other three cities, Jim only wanted to move forward if they could receive the blessing of the Archbishop and be able to collaborate with the Archdiocese. Cardinal Seán was happy to welcome WQOM 1060AM and to participate in its inaugural broadcast on All Saints Day, November 1, 2010, by celebrating a launch Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. (Click here for photos from the inaugural Mass.) WQOM’s strong 50,000 watt signal allows it to reach the entire Archdiocese.


Most of the programs on 1060AM are generously provided by EWTN Radio, such as the Son Rise Morning Show with Brian Patrick, Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo, Catholic Answers, simulcasts of The World Over and The Journey Home, and many others. Audio from the CatholicTV Mass and Rosary are broadcast at 7:00pm and 7:30pm respectively.

Cardinal Seán encouraged me to work with WQOM to add a daily discussion program that was produced by the Archdiocese. After initial conversations with Jim Wright and Cardinal Seán, both supported the idea of a program that would be hosted by me and co-hosted by priests and other leaders in the Archdiocese. On Ash Wednesday, The Good Catholic Life program debuted with a broadcast that focused on the beginning of Lent and the launch of the Catholics Come Home program.

The Good Catholic Life airs each weekday from 4-5pm. There are 5 ways to listen to the show. To listen live, you can tune into 1060AM, listen online at, or download the iCatholicRadio app for your Apple or Android device. To listen to a recording of each show, you can visit our website or download our daily podcast via iTunes. Listeners can also sign up on the show’s website for daily emails with a summary of each show and a link to the show’s audio recording, or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.


The show has four main goals: to share information about local Catholic initiatives and events, explain Catholic teaching, profile Catholic leaders and ministries, and discuss current local and global news in the Catholic Church.

We have had great discussions and episodes in each of these areas. Please click on a hyperlink to listen to a particular show.

Profiles of Local & National MinistriesProject Rachel & Prolife Ministries,Cor Unum Meal Center, Catholic Schools Office, Pontifical Mission Societies, Redemptoris Mater Seminary, Cursillo, CatholicTV, Pastoral Planning Commission, Prison Ministry and Hospital Ministry, Alpha for Catholics, St. Mary Magdalen College, Tending the Talents Program, Clergy Fund Office, Holy Cross Family Ministries, Why Catholic Program, WINGs Ministry, Office of the Permanent Diaconate, Office of Outreach and Cultural Diversity, Metropolitan Tribunal, Religious Life in the Archdiocese, Priestly Vocations Office, Catholic Near East Welfare Association, LifeTeen, Life Matters TV, Catholic Leadership Institute, Office of Pastoral Planning, Catholic Legacy Society, The Neocatechumenal Way, My Brother’s Keeper, and the Theological Institute for the New Evangelization (TINE) at St. John’s Seminary.

The Good Catholic Life, April 29, 2011  Flickr - Photo Sharing!Msgr. Connie McRae, former pastor of St. Catherine’s in Norwood

5716962862_61000522c3 The Good Catholic Life_ May 09_ 2011 - Jennifer Schiller_LJennifer Schiller and Najat Whalen, Leaders of the Women in God’s Spirit (WINGs) Ministry

5979154980_455832683a The Good Catholic Life_ Tuesday July 26_ 2011_LFr. David Couturier discussed the changing face of parishes in the US and RCAB

Additional Interviews with Local & National LeadersMsgr. Connie McRae, Fr. Richard Erikson, VG, Sr. Marian Batho, Fr. Jack Ahern, Deacon Dan Burns, Fr. Wayne Belschner, Fr. Kevin Sepe, Fr. Paul Soper, Fr. Steve Rock, Msgr. William Fay, Fr. John Sheridan, Deacon Jim Greer, Fr. Joseph Mozer, Jim Stenson, Fr. George Evans, Fr. Paul O’Brien, Fr. Ed Riley, Seth DeMoor &, Andreas Widmer, Erika Bachiochi, John Monahan from CatholicTV’s “ClearVoice”, Fr. Joseph Fessio on Pope Benedict’s “Jesus of Nazareth” Book and Youth Catechism, Rocco Palmo from Whispers in the Loggia, Father Ryan Rooney and Father Michael Wood, Michael Miller / Acton Institute, Fr. Robert Reed, Fr. Jay Mello, Fr. Frank Pavone / Priests for Life, George Weigel on Blessed Pope John Paul II, Michael Coren, Fr. Roderick Vonhogen, Fr. Jay Finelli, Sr. Mary Corripio and Sr. Marietta Brown, Fr. Jerry Dorgan, Brian and Janet Benestad, Dr. Christian Smith, Joe Melendrez / Rosary Rap, Brandon Vogt / The Church and New Media, Artie Boyle, Fr. Peter Loro from South Sudan, Dr. John Garvey from Catholic University, and Supreme Knight Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus.

5818696597_e220868713 The Good Catholic Life_ Friday June 10_ 2011 - Father John Sheridan_L Fr. John Sheridan, pastor of St. James and St. Thomas the Apostle parishes in Salem

5551146686_1dc977969e The Good Catholic Life_ March 22_ 2011_L Dr. Angela Franks from the Theological Institute for New Evangelization

5854279030_9076126878 The Good Catholic Life_ Monday June 20_ 2011 - Jim Stenson_LJim Stenson discusses what makes a Successful Catholic Father

Descriptions of Catholic Initiatives & EventsCatholics Come Home, Lenten Mission in Beverly, Worcester Catholic Men’s Conference, Eucharistic Congress, Mom’s Day Away Retreat, Hunger for Justice Retreat, Way of the Cross for Life, Parish Mission in Stoneham, Launch of “There Be Dragons” Movie, Catholic Family Festival, Beatification of Pope John Paul II, World Youth Day, and the Ordination to the Priesthood.

5766116520_b26a1bc4f7 The Good Catholic Life_ Friday May 27_ 2011 - Fr. Paul Soper_LFr. Paul Soper, pastor of St. Albert the Great Parish in Weymouth

5579999657_47b8968437 The Good Catholic Life_ April 1_ 2011_LErika Bachiochi, Author of Women, Sex & The Church

5740447749_a7bdcee084 The Good Catholic Life_ Friday May 20_ 2011 - Father Kevin Sepe_LFr. Kevin Sepe, Pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Braintree

Expositions of Catholic teachingCardinal Seán’s Pastoral Letter on Evangelization, Successful Catholic Fathers, Cardinal Seán’s Ash Wednesday Homily, Sacrament of Confession, Catholic sexual ethics, Effectively catechizing the young, Cardinal Seán’s Chrism Mass Homily, The Easter Vigil, Holy Thursday and Good Friday, Pope Benedict’s Easter Message to the World, Marian Devotion, Call to Evangelization, Spiritual Direction, Media Evangelization, Sainthood and Religious Relics, Catholic Social Doctrine, Vatican II, School of Mary, Fatima Apparitions and Praying the Rosary.

5727226419_3627fcf201 The Good Catholic Life_ May 16_ 2011 - Deacon Dan Burns_L Deacon Dan Burns, Director of Permanent Diaconate Formation

5857390617_7d258179f3 The Good Catholic Life_ Tuesday June 21_ 2011 - Sister Marian Batho_LSr. Marian Batho, Delegate for Religious

5730913925_241d03c7e2 The Good Catholic Life_ May 17_ 2011 - Fr. Wayne Belschner_LFr. Wayne Belschner, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, East Boston

Catholic news – Every Thursday we discuss headlines from that week’s Pilot and Anchor.

5864501616_2d138beb8f The Good Catholic Life_ Thursday  June 23_ 2011_LSusan Abbott, Thursday co-host & Director of the Office of Religious Education

clip_image007Jim and Terry Orcutt, founders of My Brother’s Keeper, and Jack Shaughnessy Sr.

Many people over the past few months have asked me what it has been like hosting a daily radio show. It’s been a blast and very helpful to me personally to be able to learn so much more about our great Catholic faith and to be inspired by the witness of the guests on our show. Our goal is that our listeners, after listening to a particular show, will consider it a smart choice and will want to tune into another episode. We try to ensure that each show is informative and fun.

I am blessed with 5 outstanding co-hosts. Fr. Chris O’Connor, Vice Rector of St. John’s Seminary, co-hosts every Tuesday. Fr. Matt Williams, Director of the Office for the New Evangelization of Youth and Young Adults, joins me each Wednesday. Susan Abbott, Director of the Office of Religious Education, helps lead our discussion of the news each Thursday. Fr. Mark O’Connell, Judicial Vicar and leader of the Metropolitan Tribunal, co-hosts each Friday. And Fr. Chip Hines, Pastor of St. Mary Parish in Wrentham, fills in when one of the other co-hosts is away. Having a different co-host each day ensures that each show is fresh with a different set of insights, questions, and perspectives.

As of today, there have been 117 broadcasts of The Good Catholic Life since Ash Wednesday. We have had 151 guests, including 52 different priests. It has been a joy to hear how God works in these priests’ lives in different ways to point us all toward heaven and the love God has for each of us. While I’m a consistent on-air voice of the show, our behind-the-scenes team —  producer Rick Heil, webmaster Dom Bettinelli, photojournalist George Martell, Anna Johnson and Karla Goncalves — works very hard to make each show worth the investment of one hour of our listeners’ time.

Kiera Regan, a college student at Hofstra University and a member of St. Mary of the Hills Parish in Milton, interned with our Pilot New Media team this summer. As one of her projects, she produced the following “behind the scenes” video for our first 100 episodes.

Film by Kiera Regan

We encourage you to tune in or listen to a recording. Thank you to everyone who has tuned in already and supported us through their emails, calls and prayers.

Thanks again to Cardinal Seán for allowing me an opportunity to share these reflections and this information. God bless you.