Diocesan News

Fall Care-a-thon Sets New Record as Spirit Catholic Radio Family Grows

CARE-A-THON - The three bishops of Nebraska (from left), Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of the Diocese of Lincoln, Bishop William Dendinger of Grand Island and Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha, were on KVSS Spirit Catholic Radio together to share their message of support for this radio ministry during the fall “Care-a-Thon” Sept. 27 - Oct. 1. (Courtesy photo)

OMAHA (SNR/KVSS) - Telephone calls from homes, offices, cars, tractors, and even the desert of Iraq were received during the Spirit Catholic Radio Network’s Fall Care-a-thon Sept. 27 through Oct. 1.

The semi-annual on-air membership drive to raise funds to cover the operational expenses of the station, raised nearly $340,000, which is a new record (more than $158,000 was raised on the last day of the Care-a-thon, also a new record). In addition, of the 1,138 pledges, more than 200 people were first-time donors, and listeners called from more than 200 communities.

“I can never thank our donors enough for their prayers and support,” said Spirit Catholic Radio Network (SCRN) executive director Jim Carroll. “To raise that kind of money despite a difficult economy is very humbling.”

Spirit Catholic Radio is heard on Spirit 102.7 FM KVSS in Omaha/Lincoln, Spirit 91.5 FM KJWM Grand Island, and Spirit 98.3 in Norfolk. It can also be heard on the Internet at KVSS.com.

Employees and volunteers manned microphones and telephones for nearly 12 hours each day during Care-a-thon week, encouraging listeners to support the station with their prayers and to help cover the $90,000 monthly operation expenses for things like rent, utilities, equipment, and salaries.

“Compared to commercial radio stations, our costs are quite low,” explained Mr. Carroll. “We’re very frugal in the use of our donor dollars.”

One of the many highlights of the Care-a-thon was a call from Father Brian Kane, an army chaplain stationed in Iraq who was listening to the broadcast via the Internet, “It was great to hear familiar voices from home and help out with a pledge,” he said.

Omaha Archbishop George Lucas, Lincoln Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, and Grand Island Bishop William Dendinger were on the air together to share their message of support for this radio ministry. “This is absolutely an effective tool of evangelization enabling us to reach so many more people than we could on our own,” he explained.

Bishop Bruskewitz said he appreciates how the station impacts the rural communities, “There are so many people in these areas who may not have access to the kind of catechises they hunger for. Spirit Catholic Radio provides that wherever the listener has access to a radio or the Internet.”

Grand Island went on the air with Spirit Catholic Radio last December, “I appreciate the unifying impact it’s having on people in all three Nebraska dioceses,” offered Bishop Dendinger. “I’m also hopeful the signal will expand into the tri-cities area and into the western part of the state.” Groups in Hastings and Kearney are working to raise the funds to expand the broadcast of the 91.5 FM signal.

A day earlier, Bishop Richard Pates of the Des Moines, Iowa, diocese, joined the Care-a-thon by phone. “It’s gratifying to be able to share the Word with so many in the heartland,” he explained.

Many priests and religious from across the SCRN coverage area were in studio for live interviews, along with lay people representing different organizations like the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women and Knights of Columbus. “We also had the privilege of interviewing Cardinal John Foley, past president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and the secretary to the apostolic nuncio in the Dominican Republic, Father Richard Gyhra,” said Lincoln/Grand Island Station Manager John Soukup, who was joined by Father Kenneth Borowiak as co-host of the midday shift. Father Borowiak is pastor of St. Michael Parish in Cheney, and a board member of VSS Catholic Communications.

“Once again, we’re in awe of the generosity of our listeners and the power of the Holy Spirit to bring so many together in support of this ministry,” added Mr. Carroll. “I think people are hungry for a faith-filled alternative to the secular media and appreciate how this ministry is bringing Christ to people and people to Christ.”.

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