Fr. Charles Grech assumed the editorial director position at Radio Maria Canada July 1. Photo by Jean Ko Din

Radio Maria’s new director putting emphasis on youth

By 
  • August 11, 2017

Fr. Charles Grech arrived from Malta a year ago with experience working with youth and a background in radio. They are skills he plans to put to good use as the newly installed director of Radio Mario Canada.

Grech believes the future of Radio Maria lies in young people. As the Church population ages, Grech says it is vital to bring a new, younger audience to Canada’s 24-hour Catholic radio ministry.

“Why youngsters? It’s because, as I always say, they are the future of our Church,” said Grech. “Like a fisherman, the fish won’t come to him. We must go to them.”

Today’s Church can no longer just preach from the pulpit, he said. The New Evangelization calls for modern methods of outreach. Radio Maria’s invigorated online product, Grech said, is one such key to reaching younger generations where they are.

Since assuming the role of editorial director July 1, Grech has been consulting with community partners and volunteer staff about ways to add youthful ears to the Toronto-based station’s 17,000 monthly listeners. Next month, a survey will be launched online and distributed in parishes across the Archdiocese of Toronto. Grech wants feedback from young people about the kind of content they’d like to hear.

“We want to form a team of hosts and programs that can cater to their needs,” said Grech.

He intends to continue to build on the work of his predecessor, Fr. Augusto Menichelli, who made two significant changes to Radio Maria’s platform earlier this year. A mobile app was launched in February, allowing users to listen to live programming and record shows on an Apple, Android or Windows device. In March, Radio Maria’s English programming unveiled an entirely new lineup of more than 20 shows.

“The more we expand, the more we can have people benefitting from the Church’s teachings,” said Grech.

Grech brings a wealth of experience with young people. He worked as an educator and chaplain at De La Salle College in Malta, where he ran a community radio station called La Salle FM. He worked with students to develop daily educational and catechetical programming for the local community.

Grech was ordained in July 2002 under the Franciscan Friars’ St. Paul the Apostle Province in Malta. He moved to Canada last year to become associate pastor at St. Jane Frances Parish in North York, Ont., under the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate Conception province, which is based in the United States.

He had no idea at the time that he was being considered for the position of Radio Maria director.

“My pastor, Fr. Amedeo Nardone, he asked me to come over (to Canada) — nothing else. I was not told what else they had in mind,” said Grech. “I thought I was to take over his weekly (radio) program.”

After a few meetings with Menichelli and Radio Maria’s board members in Toronto and in Italy, he was formally offered the position in May.

“Being director is a sense of responsibility,” he said. “And I intend to take it with full humility to make sure that what has been entrusted to me be fruitful in the near future.”

Radio Maria Canada (radiomaria.ca) is a 24-hour online Catholic radio branch of World Family Radio Maria, an international Catholic broadcasting network based in Italy. It was brought to Canada in 1995 by religion teacher and Italian immigrant Luigi Pautasso.

Originally, the station primarily aired Italian content. But today Radio Maria Canada broadcasts in both English and Italian from studios in Toronto and in Montreal.

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