July 1, 2018, marks the 15th anniversary of the first broadcast of Salt and Light Television Network. Born on the wings of the 2002 World Youth Day in Canada and launched in July 2003, Salt and Light is the first national Catholic television channel in Canada. The network was the dream and vision of the late Gaetano Gagliano, an Italian-Canadian Catholic business man who had a passion for communications and saw it realized at the age of 86 with the establishment of the Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation. Gaetano died in 2016 at the age of 99.
The channel airs programming in several languages, predominantly in English along with several French programs airing under the brand Télévision Sel et Lumière as well as Italian and Chinese programs in both Cantonese and Mandarin. Salt and Light operates on numerous media platforms, including radio on the Catholic Channel on Sirius Radio, on YouTube, ROKU, and Social Media.
The name of the station is drawn from the theme of World Youth Day 2002, "You are the salt of the earth... you are the light of the world," part of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:13-14). Following my work as National Director and CEO of WYD 2002, I was invited to become the founding Chief Executive Officer of Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation. Salt and Light programs range from daily news and current events to special features, cultural programs and films. Most programming falls into one of five categories:
- National and International Stories of Catholic Action and Social Justice
- Stories of Catholic Communities
- Learning and Faith Development
- Prayer, Devotion, Meditation and Stories of the Saints and Blesseds
- Liturgy, including daily Mass, Vatican ceremonies and Vatican events
Salt and Light serves the francophone community in Canada and around the world through its branch office in Montreal, made possible through the generosity of the Archdiocese of Montreal. Soon we will have a small office in New York City.
Our connectedness with the Church and her message is our authentication of our teaching, story, and message. What we have to say, what Salt and Light presents, is verified by its communion with the teaching of the Church and its identification with the rock that is the touchstone of that teaching. We have had the unique privilege of serving three Bishops of Rome since our foundation. We hear on the lips of the Successors of Peter different accents but always the one true voice of the faith. Whether it was Pius XII, Saint John XXIII, Blessed Paul VI, John Paul I, Saint John Paul II, Benedict XVI or now Francis, we recognize Peter.
We strive to teach others to echo Christ with a Roman heart so that our message rests firmly connected to the rock of the Church. This is the trademark of Salt and Light. One great privilege we have had has been to serve the Universal Church from inside four Synods of Bishops at the Vatican, in 2008 on the Word of God, in 2012 on the New Evangelization, and the 2014 and 2015 Synods on the Family. We brought the world the sounds and visions, the daily messages of these very important ecclesial assemblies of Bishops.
What distinguishes us from many other Catholic Television Networks and broadcasting platforms is the youthful presence, leadership, and vision of the staff of Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation. We were born from the dynamic vision, energy, and spirit of World Youth Day 2002 in Canada. If we are still here today – despite so many challenges that accompany a bold project of this magnitude – it is a testimony to the Lord, who wishes us to be here, and to your unfailing generosity, friendship, encouragement, and support. Thank you for believing in us, supporting us, and praying for us as we continue bearing the flavour of the Gospel and the Light of Christ to Canada and to the world. Join us in praying our special prayer:
God our Father,
on a hillside in Galilee,
your Son Jesus called us to be the salt of
the earth and the light of the world.
Give us strength and wisdom to become
the people of the Beatitudes in our day,
so that our words may season the world
with the flavour of the Gospel and
our lives be shining examples of Jesus,
who is the true Light of the World.
We ask you this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.