It's amazing how an accidental meeting can bring about a wonderful community of new friends. I was at Gamarelli in Rome, the historical clergy supply store - a kind of tourist destination for priests, browsing through their supplies, when a young gentleman and his mother came in to purchase a pair of violet socks for a new archbishop. This gent worked with Fr. Tom Rosica, whom he suggested that I should meet one day, and I very kindly gave a "clerical nod" and said that it certainly would be nice. I never dreamed that there would be a follow up!
So, after a continuing conversation ignited via Facebook with this acquaintance of Fr. Tom and Salt + Light, I find myself in Toronto sitting in a vacationing Frenchman's cubicle at the Worldwide Headquarters of the Salt + Light Media Foundation. What a wonderful experience it has been to encounter so many young hearts who beat for the Lord and his unmistakable call for a New Evangelization. Identifying closely with the vision of Fr. Tom and the crew here, I am honored to be called a friend of Salt + Light.
The podcast that I co-present, catholicunderground.com
, originally began with a desire to set out on the road of the New Evangelization. Finding the intersection between two seemingly unrelated topics, namely our Catholic faith and technology, was the shared interest among those who would go on to contribute to this podcast and we thought that it may interest others as well. We produced our first few episodes in August of 2006 to see if there was an interest. Indeed there has been, since our first day around the microphones, our podcasts (84 episodes as of this writing) have been downloaded by over 140, 651 people! Our active audience is somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 persons across the globe. If that weren't proof enough that God is somehow working though our meager foray into the digital lifestyle, the emails, voicemails, and comments on our website reveal a hungry, savvy, and faith-filled audience. In fact, I don't really call them an "audience" on the podcast, I consider them a part of my extended family, those to whom the Word of God must be preached; that's the plus of being a priest...I don't have an "audience," I have spiritual children, and catholicunderground.com
has proven to be a rather beautiful, if unconventional, birthplace!
My time in Toronto has gone by very quickly. I've been given a crash course in navigating the city, converting metric units into whatever it is we "Americans" call our measurement system, and have been exposed to the wonderful faith life of Canadian Catholics. From the hospitality of the people at Salt + Light, the graciousness of the Missionaries of Charity for whom I have offered Mass this week, and the new friends that I have made, I have seen Christ working through a seemingly accidental encounter. I now see that chance meeting in Italy for what it was intended by God to be: Providence.
I wish Our Lord's blessings to all in Toronto and those to whom the broadcasts of Salt + Light extend!
Fr. Chris Decker
Priest of the Diocese of Baton Rouge
Presenter, catholicunderground.com podcast
-Photo courtesy of catholicunderground.com