By Fr. Bill Kneemiller
Since its humble beginning in Chicago in 2006, Lighthouse Catholic Media, a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation, has grown to be in over 3,500 U.S. parishes and about 700 other parishes worldwide.
President Mark Middendorf estimates that the apostolate has produced and distributed over five million CDs. The apostolate’s concept is simple: supply an attractive kiosk display that can hold dozens of engaging Catholic talks on CDs and keep costs modest with a suggested donation of $3 per CD.
John Muenster started the Lighthouse Catholic Media program at St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport about three years ago, and has distributed about 1,600 CDs. He says many individuals share the CDs, so it has impacted hundreds of parishioners at St. Paul’s. Listeners get acquainted with speakers such as Matthew Kelley and Father Robert Barron and hear conversion talks, the best of new Catholic musicians and inspirational themes for every age group. Some of Muenster’s favorites are Patrick Madrid’s “Why I am Catholic When I Could be Anything Else,” and Fr. Barron’s “Seven Deadly Sins — Seven Lively Virtues.” Muenster also recommends “A Walk Though the New Mass Translation” by Edward Sri.
At St. Joseph Parish in Hills, Terry and Mona Ball listened to the 15 Things to Do in the Midst of Suffering by Jeff Cavins. Terry Ball said: “this CD is a powerful message of giving and uniting your life to God in the midst of your suffering. It was a very encouraging CD. I would highly recommend this CD as we love to hear stories about conversion, grace and increasing one’s faith. There is a superb selection of CDs at our churches that can readily meet a variety of needs for different people.”
Also at St. Joseph’s, Kay Evans states: “I absolutely love the CDs because they allow me to learn about my faith and give me a ‘faith boost’ when I’m driving or running errands. So I can be immersed in my faith no matter where I’m at or what I’m doing. I’m learning so much with ‘The Saving Power of Divine Mercy’ by Father Jason Brooks. Also, I was also very moved by Anna Marie Schmidt’s account of her experience in Auschwitz, ‘To Hell and Back.’ When I listened to ‘Unlocking the Book of Revelation’ by Dr. Barber, for the first time, the Book of Revelation made sense to me.”
At St. Joseph Parish in Wellman, Pam Ockenfels states that Lighthouse Catholic Media “provides our family another opportunity to learn about our beautiful Catholic faith. It’s easy to listen to these tapes in the car, but I have to admit that some of the tapes are so engaging that I’d advise to not listen and drive at the same time! … Many of these CDs have helped me grow in little steps of holiness.”
I’d recommend Fr. Barron’s “Four YouTube Heresies” for high school and college-age students and for middle school and high school students, Christian King’s “Pure Freedom” offers an excellent chastity talk. I also highly recommend “Under the Shadow of His Wings,” the incredible story of a Franciscan seminarian who was inducted in the German army in World War II. The CD relates his journey to ordination in the middle of the war under the most adverse conditions.
Cardinal Francis George of Chicago has encouraged the Lighthouse founders from the beginning. “These CDs are a welcome addition to the faith life and continuing education of our people,” he said on the Lighthouse website.
For more information, visit www.lighthousecatholimedia.org., or call (866) 767-3155.
At the start of the religious education program this year, I picked up a “Theology of the Body” DVD for middle school students from Ascension Press. I started showing it to students’ parents and several of them gave it a thumbs-up. Carol Kaalberg, parish life administrator for St. Joseph Parish in Hills and St. Mary parishes in Lone Tree and Nichols, fell in love with these DVDs and had the seventh- and eighth-graders view them. Our program started by acclamation!
One more plug: if you’re looking for more in-depth treatment of the new Mass responses, try Edward Sri’s DVD set “A Biblical Walk Through the Mass,” also by Ascension Press.
(Fr. Kneemiller is pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Hills and St. Mary parishes in Lone Tree and Nichols.)