I'm going back to the beginning -- to the first blog published on themissionreport.org, that is.
In that commentary, I mentioned that we had just launched during the May meeting of the Catholic Press Association and Catholic Academy of Communications Arts Professionals our new series of audio messages, Mission Lessons, for use on radio (including Internet and satellite), as well as for podcasting. These "moments from the Missions that teach and inspire" are reflections on my own pastoral visits to the Missions -- on the life-giving service of priests, Religious Sisters and Brothers, and lay catechists -- and on what I've heard and learned from missionaries throughout the years. These 60-second spots then relate those experiences to the "lessons" they hold for our everyday lives.
These spots continue the legacy of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, national director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, one of the four Pontifical Mission Societies, from 1950 to 1966. Archbishop Sheen masterfully used the media to proclaim the "Good News" of Jesus and the teachings of the Church. It is most fitting that we return to our roots here, while utilizing the technology in this area available to us today. In 1930, Archbishop Sheen started a weekly national radio broadcast, The Catholic Hour. Two decades later that program had an estimated audience in the millions.
Media professionals who were present at that spring meeting were supportive and affirming of our efforts in this area, and we were then most excited about the possibilities.
Well, the results are in -- and they have surpassed our expectations. The report on the release of the first 10 Mission Lessons indicates that 85% of Catholic stations are airing them, reaching a potential Catholic audience of four million! We're on the air from KBLE station in Seattle, Washington to WISP in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and countless others in between. We're in cities, big and small. We're being broadcast in four of the five top radio markets -- New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Dallas / Fort Worth. All the major national Catholic radio networks -- EWTN, Ave Maria, Relevant and The Catholic Channel -- have been broadcasting these radio messages. And regional networks, like Guadalupe Radio, Immaculate Heart Radio, and Radio Maria have also provided their listeners with the opportunity to learn more about the Missions and the Pontifical Mission Societies -- not to mention to discover the lessons life in the Missions holds for our everyday lives.
A big "thank you" is sent to Sherry Kennedy Brownrigg of the Kennedy Brownrigg Group is the producer / distributor of our spots. A true professional who brings the best to the project, she also draws the best out of all involved. Her guiding hand and sound advice, supported by her years of experience in the audiovisual media, made our venture into radio a most successful one, and one that helped us live up to the legacy of a master communicator in our history, Archbishop Sheen. Our gratitude as well to our friends at Instructional Television of the Archdiocese of New York, where we have recorded the first three sets of these radio messages, 30 in all. And above all our profound appreciation to radio stations and networks who embraced our message and, in so doing, embraced the world's Missions as well.
The second set of 10 Mission Lessons will be distributed in September, and the final group of 10 for the year will be released this December. And this fall, around mid-September, we'll be publishing bookmark versions of these "moments from the Missions that teach and inspire" that you can download free on our web site at www.iamamissionary.org. All our audio messages are there for free download as well. Keep "tuning in" -- online and on the air!
The Pontifical Mission Societies include the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Holy Childhood Association, the Society of St. Peter Apostle, and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious. These Societies promote a prayerful missionary spirit among baptized Catholics and to gather a fund of support for the evangelizing and pastoral programs of more than 1,150 local churches of the Developing World.