Ave Maria Radio: Do Something New For Lent
“Our focus is the New Evangelization. We call men and women to share their experience of Jesus with others, within the Catholic Church and outside of it. Our listeners are being equipped to share their faith,” shares Al Kresta, President and CEO of Ave Maria Radio and host of the program Kresta in the Afternoon.
“When we talk about the distinctive work that we do as a Catholic apostolate, we talk about ‘the Es’: We evangelize, edify, engage the culture, educate, entertain, and most of all we encourage,” he says.
There are currently 380 full-time Catholic radio stations in the U.S. and another 120 worldwide. Ave Maria Radio, based in Ann Arbor, was the first. Currently Ave Maria manages two stations locally, 990 AM WDEO (Detroit and Ann Arbor) and 1440 WMAX (Saginaw, Bay City and Midland)
Ave Maria Radio is also a production company which provides content that has proven to be nimble and trendsetting. Ave Maria Radio now provides nearly 50 hours of original Catholic radio programming each week that is used by other stations including the 380 Catholic Stations that are part of the EWTN Radio Network.
During Lent, Ave Maria Radio will offer a 40-day calendar on their website that will share the daily readings and link to reflection on the readings from Sr. Ann Shields, S.G.L., host of the daily program Food for the Journey. All of their hosts will have some Lenten programming, and Kresta in the Afternoon will offer content every few days focused on Lent.
“Most Catholics are still unaware that we’re here. Our programming is a great place to get oriented to what the Catholic Church teaches. We’re Catholics whose faith demands more than Sunday,” shares Mike Jones, Vice President and General Manager of Ave Maria radio.
“Don’t be afraid to do something Catholic outside of mass. When you get a taste of it you’ll be excited to learn more about your faith.”
He shares that it’s easy to listen while cooking dinner or driving to the store. The radio is available via podcast, phone app, streaming online, calling a phone number, or by telling Alexa to “Play Ave Maria Radio”, among other mediums. “Feel free to explore,” Mike urges, “Don’t be afraid to do something Catholic outside of mass. When you get a taste of it you’ll be excited to learn more about your faith.”
Ave Maria Radio is a listener-supported nonprofit organization. Fr. John Riccardo, who has his own program on Ave Maria Radio, recently introduced Ave Maria’s leadership to the Catholic Foundation, at a time where the station had received a larger gift. The donor had wanted the them to start a foundation or endowment with the gift, but the organization did not have the capacity to do that on their own.
“We were thrilled to learn about the Foundation and partner with another Catholic organization. Angela [Moloney, President and CEO of the Foundation] came out and explained everything. They have been very responsive when we’ve discussed ideas and questions, and we’re excited to build an endowment that will allow generous Catholics strengthen Ave Maria Radio and to impact the Church for many years to come,” shares Al.
“We provide a magnifier and a broadcast point for other Catholic apostolates. We profile different ministries and make them known to the Catholic world, which brings them volunteers, donors and clients,” Mike shares. By encouraging listeners to become the hands and feet of Christ in the community, the Church’s witness is strengthened. “We are all living letters of the Catholic Church to the rest of the world. And we equip those listening in to help them present a winsome, effective and wise identity to the watching world,” Al continues.
By supporting Ave Maria radio, Al shares, donors are by extension supporting the Catholic ministries and apostolates whose work is highlighted on the radio. “We are all members of the Body of Christ and we have a responsibility to build up the body. Not everyone has the same giftedness in using language but everyone can participate in the missionary mandate of the Church through supporting it.”