I began my day this morning by celebrating Mass in the studios of our excellent radio station, Spirit FM-90.5 (WBVM). They are the midst of their annual fundraising effort, for years referred to as SHARE-A-THON. Their goal is to raise at least $500,000 to support their ministry for another year and it ends by 7 o’clock on Tuesday evening. Like the several times a year fund-raising weeks for WUSF and other listener supported stations in the area, this is their principal source of funding and our station only does it once a calendar year.
In a period when the Church is thinking creatively about the “new evangelization”, our radio station is already at work spreading the message of Jesus through music, some talk, and a lot of spiritual “energy.” Every year, several people being received into the Church cite Spirit FM-90.5 as the portal of faith which led them to joining the Church. And, about half of the money raised will come from non-Catholic listeners. The on-air and behind the scenes staff are quite dedicated and committed to the ministry.
The first reading for Mass today was from Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, confirming them in their faith and calling on them for courage in the face of adversity and care for each other. I could not help but think as I drove across to Tampa that St. Paul would have given an arm and a leg to have the methods of communicating with the faithful that are open to us today. How many people of his time in Thessalonica heard his words? How many could one letter reach? Through Spirit FM, we have the ability to share, spread and confirm the faith with many through the medium of radio. Now we can take the station with us if we have the money to do it since I listen to the RAYS games when away from home on the local radio station brought to me through my iPhone. In fifteen and a half years, the technology jump has been just short of extraordinary and the reach far beyond our signal strength. Donations and pledges have already been received from many people outside of the state who listen through their computers.
I hope our friends at Spirit FM meet their goal these days and I was happy to be a part of the team asking our listeners to share a ton of money with them (just joking – whatever you can reasonably afford to donate.) Thanks to all at the radio station. One of our early alumni who still lives and broadcasts from his home in north Tampa is Gus Lloyd, host of the morning drive time show for many years and now on “The Catholic Channel” at SiriusXM. My hope would be to some day have something similar to his format. And, finally, who knows, if you share a ton, maybe, just maybe “On the Air with Bishop Lynch” might return. I should not brag, but during the time I was at the station and for the next hour, in a time of day normally dead during the drive, something slightly in excess of $10,000 was recorded. That’s a ton of money.
ps. The picture of the staff (above right) was meant to be larger than the one of yours truly (directly above) but I can not figure out how to reverse them. Sorry staff – you are much more important to the organization than I!