Sunday, December 03, 2006

On the Air

As expected, The Catholic Channel has launched on Sirius with the 10.15 Mass from St Patrick's Cathedral.

Continuing the practice of recent weeks, the Rector of St Pat's, Msgr Robert Ritchie, is on as celebrant, and Cardinal Edward Egan just wrapped the first homily beamed over the airwaves.

Beginning with the image of the shop windows of the city, all decked out for Christmas, the cardinal said that it was perfectly natural and normal to think about what one wanted for Christmas. "Some of you may want a wide-screen plasma TV," he said, "and I don't really know what that is."

"Others might want a PlayStation 3 or a Wii -- and I have even less an idea of what that is."

Egan, who'll be hosting his own weekly show on the channel, suggested a gift the faithful could give themselves that would be worth even more. Noting that "between today to Christmas Eve, there are exactly three weeks," he offered the idea of reading the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke over the course of the period. "Six or seven pages a day should get the job done," he said.

Citing the "render unto Caesar" account, he said that, "If you have thought of the Son of Man as a strangely gentle human being, looking for harmony and peace at any cost, the true Jesus will emerge -- the Lord of courage, the Lord of truth, not counting the cost."

At the same time, speaking of the "most beautiful story of unconditional love" -- that of the Prodigal Son -- the archbishop of New York promised that "if you have somehow imagined Jesus Christ as remote from your life, the hurts and tragedies of life, especially of family life, read this... and the true Redeemer will emerge -- the Lord of unconditional love, the Lord who understands and understood how often painful our lives can be as individuals and families, the Lord who knows what hurts are all about."

"I'm begging you" to undertake the reading "as your Advent prayer," Egan said, calling it "the key to holiness."

Though the Mass was aired today, the rest of the channel's lineup premieres tomorrow. Programming will feature daily liturgies from St Patrick's, a smidge of Vatican Radio, and a jam-packed talk schedule. Launching in the midst of the frenzied shopping season, it's been cited as a key "niche" pickup for the subscription-based medium as Sirius seeks to grow its 5.1 million-listener audience.