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The Salt + Light Radio Hour Christmas Special – “Made-For-TV”

Christmas Special 610

Since 2009, Salt + Light has been on the radio airwaves with our weekly program, The Salt + Light Radio Hour. Every week, our host, Deacon Pedro brings you the best of S+L: inspiring messages, insightful interviews, interesting commentary and  news updates and events from around the Catholic world; plus every week we feature a Catholic singer/songwriter, as well as an author or look at a particular in-depth topic.

Every week we also feature a different segment with our contributors: Andrew Santos has a saint of the week; Gillian Kantor has parenting tips; our Hollywood Undercover Missionary, Mark Matthews tells us what’s good in Hollywood; Danny Torchia gives us public relations and marketing tips and Sr. Marie Paul Curley offers film reviews.  The SLHour airs on various radio networks across the United States and is also available for streaming online or download off our website. You can listen to all SLHour programs by going to our archive.

Every year we produce a special Christmas edition of the SLHour with all our contributors. This year we produced our Christmas special for TV with our contributors giving their segments a little Christmas twist: Andrew has a Christmas saint; Gillian learns a Christmas lesson from her kids; Danny looks back at the work done this year; Hollywood teaches Mark something about Christmas and Sr. Marie Paul finds the Windows to the Soul to five films about saying yes; plus we listen to music from Fr. Rob Galea, Seraphim and Marie Miller.

You can listen to or download the SLHour Christmas Special or you can watch it on Salt + Light TV:
Saturday, December 20th at 10pm ET / 7pm PT
Sunday, December 21st at 2pm ET / 11am PT
Tuesday, December 23rd at 9:30am / 6:30am PT
For more broadcast times see our schedule.

Or, if you prefer, you can watch this Christmas special right here!

Email us your comments

Next week, December 27, 2014 on the SLHour, we close the year by taking a look at all the new albums released by Catholic artists in 2014 and featured on the SLHour – tune in for some of the best songs of 2014, featuring , Sarah Kroger, Joe Zambon, Amanda Vernon, Curtis Stephan, Joe Melendrez, Tori Harris, Fr. Rob Galea, Luke Spehar, Rebecca Roubion and the Benedictines of Mary Queen of Apostles.

Listen to this program by going to our S+L Radio webpage.

The Catholic Guy Show Features Fr. Rosica from S+L Studio


The Catholic Guy Show with Lino Rulli went on the road this past week and stopped by the S+L studio for  three days of live broadcasting. S+L CEO Fr. Thomas Rosica joined Lino on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014 for a fun afternoon full of stories on Popes, past and present, and much more. Listen to clips of Fr. Rosica on The Catholic Guy Show below:

The Catholic Guy Show airs on The Catholic Channel SiriusXM Radio Monday through Friday from 5-7 pm.

It’s Not About Glory

by Mark J. Matthews, SLHour‘s Hollywood Undercover Missionary

I was recently reflecting on the Passion narrative when a line jumped out at me. As Peter is about to strike the high priest’s servant with a sword, Christ reprimands him and says:

Do you think that I cannot call upon my Father and he will not provide me at this moment with more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53)

I thought to myself, “Wow, can you imagine what Christ’s twelve legions of angels would look like?” For a visual FX creator like me, my mind went wild with images similar to the Avengers, or Lord of the Rings. “That would be AWESOME!” I thought.

But wait, Christ goes on to say “that’s not how I do things”. And He often repeats this theme “Your Father who sees in secret…”, “Do not let the left hand know what the right hand is doing…”

That’s a little depressing. Here I am in living and working in Hollywood, pretty much the center of glory – world-class movie production, beautiful women and home of most of celebrities anywhere – should I even be out here? I mean isn’t that the only point of Hollywood – glory?

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Caritas Panama joins end hunger campaign with song

The people of Caritas Panama have taken up the END HUNGER campaign to another level with this beautiful and moving song, LEVANTO MI VOZ POR QUIEN NO TIENE PAN (I raise my voice for those who have no bread).

The international campaign hinges on a very simple premise: There is enough food in the world and it should be shared with all. But do we believe this?

Caritas believes that it is a scandal that nearly a billion people are hungry today in a world that has the resources to feed everyone. The more than 160 national organisations that make up Caritas Internationalis are joining together in their first ever global campaign to call for an end to hunger by 2025. 

Pope Francis kicked off the Caritas Campaign with a video message by saying that food is not just a basic need but it is also a right. But it is a right which is trampled on every day for the 842 million children, women and men who are hungry in the world.  He said, “We are in front of a global scandal of around one billion – one billion people who still suffer from hunger today. We cannot look the other way and pretend this does not exist. The food available in the world is enough to feed everyone.”

 And the people of Caritas Panama believe that a great way to rally people to support a campaign is through music. The song, was written, produced and performed by a collaboration of Panamanian Catholic artists and professionals.

How will you support this campaign to end world hunger by 2025?


Written and composed by Maríaestelí Rios
Production: Carlos Samaniego and En La Roca
Performed by various Panamanian Catholic singers/artists: Angélica Quintero (Ecos del Silencio), Evaristo Gonzalez (Ministerio de Música Ágape / ExVive la Música TVN), Annita Castillo (San Juan Apóstol Parish, Brisas del Golf), Niudska Beitía (Ministerio de Musica Nabí), Oliver Portillo ( Distynto) and Maríaestelí Ríos (En La Roca)

Learn more about Caritas Panama on their website or follow them on Twitter.

We have radio!

Ten years ago when I first started doing media presentations in schools, I’d ask the students, “what is media?” and they would talk about TV and films. Sometimes a student would mention news media or even video games. Today when I do the same presentation, all students can think about is social media. Times have changed.

According to the Oxford dictionary, the term “media” is the plural of “medium”. The definition of medium is “an agency or means of doing something.” Literally, “medium” is a conduit – think of your science class when you learned about heat conductors. In Catholic theology we speak about sacraments as “media” in the sense that they mediate something else.

But the term “media” is not used to mean water or sacraments; it is used, specifically to mean communication media, or rather mass media of communication. So, anything that is used to communicate something to the masses is “media”.

And the Church has been using media to communicate the Good News as early as St. Paul. In fact, the Church was the champion of media as it used art, music, theatre and then print to spread the Good News.

But a book can only reach a few thousand people. A newspaper, perhaps could reach tens of thousands. It was not until the advent of Radio, at the beginning of the 20th century, that we could begin speaking about mass media. All of the sudden it was possible to reach millions with just one broadcast. And from that moment, the Church has been using radio to spread the Good News. In fact, it was in 1931 that radio-inventor himself, Guglielmo Marconi, who set up Vatican Radio under Pope Pius XI. The rest, as they say, is a fascinating history.

I think it’s fair to say that even today, with all the technological advances and the Internet (despite the fact that for students it’s all about social media), radio is still the most popular media. Radio is a very inexpensive medium, specifically suited to reach remote communities. It is also a great medium to freely reach some of the most vulnerable populations: The illiterate, the disabled, shut-ins and the poor. I remember while growing up in Panama, going out in the interior of the country and even in the most remote locations, everyone had a radio. Radio allowed them to know what was going on in the rest of the country. And who doesn’t listen to the radio in their car? Radio allows everyone, regardless of their education level to participate in public discourse. Radio also has a strong and specific role in emergency communication and disaster relief (especially in remote communities), and radio is extremely intimate: When you listen to the radio it’s as if it’s just for you. Radio allows everyone to be on the same playing field. It is a great medium of equality. However, despite the fact that they say radio reaches about 95 per cent of the world’s population, according to UNESCO, up to a billion people in the world, still do not have access to radio today.

This is why in on November 3, 2011, UNESCO approved the creation of the World Day of Radio. The day is celebrated every year on February 13th and aims to raise awareness about the importance of radio. The day also helps to facilitate access to information through radio and enhance networking among broadcasters.

This is why, Salt + Light Catholic Media Foundation, recognizing the importance of radio and the need for Catholic radio in Canada, in 2009 partnered with the Archdiocese of New York’s The Catholic Channel (Sirius XM 129) to produce the Salt + Light Hour, a weekly radio program. The SLHour started from a small idea and with limited resources. It has become a leading Canadian Catholic audio program and podcast that offers quality music and interviews with artists and authors. Over the last four years the SLHour has featured most English-speaking Catholic artists. Among them, Fathers David Delargy and Martin O’Hagan of The Priests, John Michael Talbot, Matt Maher, Sarah Hart, Steve Angrisano, Jesse Manibusan, Critical Mass, Susan Hookong-Taylor, Audrey Assad, Sarah Kroger, L’Angelus, Janelle,  Fr. Rob Galea, Chris Bray and many, many others. Some notable authors that have been on the program are Ralph Martin, Peter Kreeft, Fr. Scott Hurd, Lino Rulli, Elizabeth Scalia, Shawn Carney and Mother Dolores Hart, to name a few.

The program continues every week. As producer and host, I hope to bring you the best of Salt + Light: Inspiring messages, insightful interviews, interesting commentary and music; plus news updates with Alicia Ambrosio, Saint of the Week with Andrew Santos and diocesan updates from Canada and abroad, as well as great segments from our contributors. As I write this, the SLHour is not only carried on The Catholic Channel, but also on the Spirit Catholic Radio Network, which owns five FM Stations in Nebraska and parts of Iowa and South Dakota, and on WJTA 88.9 FM Holy Family Radio in north-eastern Ohio. For those of you outside of those broadcasting areas or without Sirius XM, you can stream the program or download it at our website: or as a free podcast off iTunes.

And if any of you are managing English-language Catholic Radio stations, let us know if you’d like to carry the SLHour. Stay current with the Catholic Church in Canada and the world, and nourish your faith with the SLHour.

Happy World Day of Radio and visit us on Facebook.

Have Yourself a Goth Christmas

By Mark Matthews, our Salt + Light Hour Hollywood Undercover Missionary

My co-workers and I got this crazy idea into our heads recently that we needed to visit a Goth Bar. If you don’t know what “Goth” is, it’s a whole movement of look/style/culture similar to punk, except that Goths are known for wearing all black, being really depressed and listening to The Cure all the time. Why did we need to go? Don’t you think it’d be a fascinating cultural experience? And, of course leave it to Los Angeles to have a club for every manner of style and dress on the planet.

However, neither my co-workers nor myself live the Goth culture. We’re pretty much clean-cut middle class geeks. So we’d certainly stand out in their midst and weren’t sure that we’d be welcomed with open arms. Regardless, we dug out our darkest items of clothing and found a club advertising a safe sounding “Goth Karaoke Night” and visited one December Monday night for some Friday I’m in Love sing-along fun.

Despite our juvenile fears we didn’t get turned away at the door. They didn’t bat an eye and simply handed us karaoke songbooks instead. The look of the club and clientele certainly lived up to our expectations, with plenty of black, spiked hair and dark eye-shadow. I channeled my inner teenage angst and picked “Sad But True” by Metallica. I think we all were expecting the night to be nothing but droning and tears into the microphone, but imagine my surprise when the first songs of the evening were CHRISTMAS CAROLS!

It was a reminder to me of just how ingrained Christmas customs and traditions are. In that club, nothing seemed further away than the thought of Christmas. Yet the patrons wanted to brighten it up a bit with some songs inspired by the incarnation of God-made-flesh. That probably wasn’t their exact motivating thought, but it’s significant no less. We often forget that the reason we do things like put up an evergreen tree is that it signifies the ever-lasting life we have in Christ. This openness to signs and symbols is an open door to share our faith with a culture normally deaf to theological truth.

Signs and symbols, “sacramentality”, are an ingenious invention of Christ, faithfully used by the Catholic Church. I’d go so far as to say that humans can’t live without some kind of sacramental reality. Sacraments are also a form in incarnation, as they make something a physical reality. There is so very much that can be said about incarnation, but suffice it to say that the greatest Incarnation was God made flesh in Jesus Christ, and we are called to incarnate in smaller ways too.

What exactly is the Hollywood connection here? Artists are incarnators, and Hollywood is full of artists. The primary job of an artist is to create concrete forms, images, objects, sights and sounds to communicate an idea or feeling. Because of this they are particularly sensitive to the incarnate works around them.

Something that has struck me since I moved to Hollywood is just how classy and beautifully-done Christmas is. All the décor is very well done in Hollywood – not gaudy or showy, but classical, simple and beautiful. Even the Scientologists get in on it and put together some very nice displays.

I’ve heard some fascinating conversion stories of people whose primary mode of conversion involved art. One walked into a beautiful renaissance church, was touched by it’s beauty, and ultimately became Catholic because of it. Wow, a conversion through incarnated beauty? I previously never thought it possible! For this reason, those who seek to evangelize artists should incarnate the faith around them.

My advice is to incarnate Christmas by putting up some beautiful decorations. Specifically, try to pick things reflective of our faith, like the crèche, a star, or wise-men. Maybe this will lead to some good conversations with your neighbors, and at the very least it lets people know subconsciously there is something more to Christmas. The benefit of this is ultimately two fold. These signs and symbols help us see the un-seeable spiritual reality. They remind us that our salvation is leading us to a much better place that “… no mind can comprehend”. Secondly, it will help others see this reality and truth too. We want to encourage this attraction to signs and symbols of our Lords birth – even in a Goth bar.


Mark Matthews is a graphic designer and animator working in Hollywood. Listen to his “What’s Good About Hollywood?” column once a month on the SLHour. And listen to this year’s special Christmas-edition of the SLHour too!

Praying for Hollywood


By Mark Matthews, Salt + Light Radio’s Hollywood Undercover Missionary

I’m a nuts and bolts kind of guy – a very hands on artist who appreciates the tangible, visual nature of our world. Because of this I have a tough time understanding how prayer “works”. What is the cause and effect? I can’t see anything happening. Luckily, a recent Sunday Gospel put prayer into terms I could understand: NAGGING!! The parable of the unjust judge shows how we will do almost anything to get rid of nagging, even if it means bending the rules a bit:

For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought,
‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being,
because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her.
(Luke 18:1-8)

How then more so with our Heavenly father, eh?

I’ve personally seen the power of prayer in Hollywood many times over. I once tried to start a men’s group, “Prayer and Poker”. It didn’t take and within a few meetings had dwindled down to an empty room. I tried again a year later, but this time enlisting the help of some spiritual friends. I asked them to pray every time we met. “Bibles-N-Brew” was born and has flourished for the past 5 years. I credit it all to the power of my praying friends!

So when was the last time you prayed for Hollywood? We all know the incredible cultural power of film and TV, but why don’t we feel more compelled to pray for it? I believe we often excuse it with reasons like “Celebrities, come on, they’re not even real people!”, or “Hollywood is hopeless”. We’re essentially saying Hollywood is Sodom and Gomorrah. But it’s not, it’s Nineveh! Recall that when Jonah preached repentance to the Ninevites, they repented! My experience of Hollywood has shown that the majority of people here is simply lost, and have never heard the truth of Christ proclaimed clearly.

I challenge you to think differently about Hollywood and start PRAYING for it. 99.9% of the people here are not crazy celebrities, but just a regular people with families and real problems that need your prayers. JP II acknowledged that artists often have a special burden and for that reason, producers, writers, directors and actors especially need our prayers.

How can you pray for Hollywood? It can be as simple as saying a prayer during commercials. Take on the discipline of muting the audio, bowing your head, and saying a few words to God. Ask him to bless the writers, actors and creators of whatever you are watching.

Consider writing a letter too. But please, not an ANGRY letter. There’s an unfortunate perception out here sometimes that “Christians are the crazy weirdos who write me hate letters”. Anger will go in the trash, but praise will go on the wall. If you see a particularly uplifting episode, TV show or movie, find the address for the production company and write the writer, producer or director a handwritten letter telling them what you loved. You probably won’t get a reply, but there’s a very good chance that they will read it.

Finally, there’s a fantastic ministry out here called the Hollywood Prayer Network. It is an ecumenical prayer ministry started over 20 years ago by Karen Covell and her husband Jim. I had the blessing of meeting Karen a couple months ago and I now credit her almost single handedly for all the good things that have since happened in Hollywood. When she arrived here there was very little going on for Christians. So she and her husband simply started praying.

They have since grown into a large ministry that publishes weekly and monthly prayer reminder letters, giving very specific intentions to pray for, and sharing glory stories of good things that have happened. They prayer walks on studio lots and also have what they call an “Industry to Intercessor” prayer ministry, where you can sign up to pray for one specific industry insider (maybe someone like me). I love it because it’s personal and that’s where God can really work some magic.

So, I’ve given you all a couple very concrete ways that you can now NAG GOD for good things to happen here in Hollywood. I’m now expecting nothing less than miracles!!


Mark Matthews is a graphic designer and animator working in Hollywood. Listen to his “What’s Good About Hollywood?” column once a month on the SLHour.

From Hollywood to Holy Vows: A featured conversation with Mother Dolores Hart

Dolores Hart was a rising starlet in Hollywood in the 50’s and 60’s with ten successful movies to her credit by the time she was 26 years old. She starred opposite the likes of Elvis Presley, Montgomery Clift, Anthony Quinn and Robert Wagner. She had everything she ever dreamed of. Then she made a surprising decision: She left all the glitz and glamour of hollywood and entered a Benedictine monastery. Her story is now a book, The Ear of the Heart, published by Ignatius Press.

This week on the final program of this year’s season of the SLHour: A feature interview with Mother Dolores Hart. Also, Mark Matthews tells us what’s good in Hollywood and Sarah Hart returns as featured artist of the week.

To listen to Mother Dolores’ and Sarah Hart’s interviews and the rest of this edition of the SLHOUR, as well as all previous programs, visit the SLRADIO webpage .

The SLHour is Salt + Light’s weekly audio podcast available for download and on various Radio stations across North America.

Every week, our host Deacon Pedro brings you the best of Salt + Light: Inspiring messages, insightful interviews, interesting commentary and music; plus news updates with Kris Dmytrenko, Saint of the Week with Andrew Santos and diocesan updates from Canada and abroad with Cheridan Eygelaar. If you don’t already, stay current with the Catholic Church in Canada and the world, and nourish your faith with the SLHour.

And remember that SLRADIO is S+L’s newest initiative. It is a webstation dedicated to playing music by Catholic singer/songwriters and to supporting the ministry of these wonderful artists.


Listen on-line or on-the-go. Find out how.’s The Commons coming to S+L TV

Learn about your favourite contemporary Catholic artists at’s The Commons.

Meet Robert Feduccia, Jackie Francois, Josh Blakesley, Tom Booth, Matt Maher, Sarah Hart, Jesse Manibusan, Curtis Stephan, Trevor Thompson, Ike Ndolo, Sarah Kroger and many others (many slRadio supporting artists), as they give casual and candid interviews, and offer unplugged performances of their songs.

Launched in 2003 by Oregon Catholic Press, as a fruit of their very popular youth hymnal Spirit and Song, is a place where Christians of all ages can experience faith-building music, online prayers, devotions and much more. is the place to go to for contemporary Catholic music. This is the place where you can listen to music all day long with their various playlists, download songs, and get updates on new releases.  You can also meet the artists behind the songs, learn about what they’re up to and book them for your events.

The Commons is one of their initiatives now coming to Salt + Light TV, starting tonight at 9pm ET (6 and 10pm PT).

Salt + Light TV and slRadio are very happy to continue our relationship with OCP and with this new partnership, as together we support Catholic artists and their ministry, help you find the music that you love and will help build you up, and together help build the Kingdom of God.

Watch The Commons, every Tuesday at 9pm ET (6 and 10pm PT).

What’s bad in Boston?

By Mark Matthews, Salt + Light Radio’s Hollywood Undercover Missionary

You’ve heard from me often about what’s good in Hollywood. Today I thought I’d write about what’s bad in Boston!

“The Celtics? The St. Paddy’s day parade? C’mon, why you hatin on the Bostonians?”

I recently visited Boston and while there I made a pilgrimage to a highly esteemed institution I’ve always longed to see. No, it wasn’t MIT (although it’s very close to my geeky heart) but the Museum of Bad Art!

Boston is home to MOBA, the Museum of Bad Art – an institution dedicated to collecting and displaying horrible works of Art. Or as my university art professor put it, “They won’t take any old black velvet Elvis painting – just the worst of the worst!”
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