Salt + Light Television staff are moving into the new Montreal bureau located in the archdiocese of Montreal offices. From left, Khoi Vu, Mireille Haj-Chahine, Billy Chan and Francis Denis. Photo courtesy of Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation

Salt+Light spreads its wings

  • February 15, 2014

Canada’s Catholic broadcaster has opened its first French-language bureau.

Salt + Light Television opened a new bureau in Montreal Feb. 3. It will produce about half of the station’s French-language programming. Salt + Light is based in Toronto and has broadcast in French and English since its inception. It also offers programming in Mandarin and Cantonese.

The French-language bureau will have its own studio in partnership with the archdiocese of Montreal and a team of three with plans to hire one more.

Philosopher and theologian Francis Denis knew he was ready for the challenge of joining the team.

“I was hired to produce Catholic content from Montreal for the French department of S+L,” said the Quebec native, who serves as a journalist and producer for Salt + Light.

The French-speaking Church, he says, is more developed in Montreal than in Toronto.

“The Church is very important in Montreal and in the province of Quebec,” he said, adding that the historical roots of the Catholic Church in Canada are in Quebec. “There is still a lot of life here.”

Now, there will no longer be the need to organize a special team, trips for Toronto staff, booking hotels, etc., to cover a Montreal- area story.

But “it’s a national network, so we’re not going to be completely focused on the archdiocese of Montreal, like Toronto is not focused on the archdiocese of Toronto,” said Denis. “It’s really about all of Canada.”

The team also has plans to visit every diocese in Quebec, produce content for Salt + Light’s Focus Catholique and will occasionally report in English.

Denis said Salt + Light’s broadcasts in both of Canada’s official languages — French and English — are about being “proportionate about Catholic diversity and correspond more to the Canadian reality which is bilingual. That’s why there was always a French department of Salt + Light.”

The French-language department in Toronto has consisted of staff from Quebec and France. But Salt + Light has had a go-to guy, Dinh Khoi Vu, based in Montreal who was charged with broadcasting the daily Mass from St. Joseph’s Oratory and covering stories that a one-man crew could handle. Vu is now part of the Montreal bureau.

“My hope is to produce a lot of content, (so) that the Catholic world in Quebec sees Salt + Light as a reference (for) what’s going on in the Church and development in every sphere of the Catholic faith — intellectual, spiritual and events,” said Denis.

“Because of my expertise, I can help (with) the education of the faith, which is really one of the important areas in the Church. It’s really important that people know their faith... That is my personal goal in that job, and that will be reflected in the content that we will produce.”

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.