Thursday, March 29, 2012

A patron saint of podcasts - and an Irish link

Two trainee priests from Oscott College in Birmingham have decided to adopt an unofficial patron saint of podcasts for their very successful Vocationcast series, produced and directed by seminarians for all those discerning their call in life.  

The dynamic duo, Dan Fitzpatrick, a youth worker before he entered the seminary (currently in his fifth year at Oscott) and Frankie Mulgrew, a former comedian, (also in his fifth year and soon to become a deacon) began Vocationcast in September of last year as a response to Pope Benedict’s call for priests to engage with the digital continent.

Explaining why they felt the need to adopt an unofficial patron saint for their work, Dan and Franki said, “We pray before we record and at other times too, asking the intercession of St. Maximilian Kolbe who is associated with media. However, we recently looked for a patron saint of podcasting who we could ask for intercession. We were shocked to discover that there is no saint associated with podcasting. So we began to look at saints’ lives to see if one would be suited to podcasting. We came across St. George Preca, a Maltese priest involved in spreading the Gospel.”

St George Preca was a Roman Catholic priest who was born in Valletta, Malta in 1880.  

He founded the Society of Christian Doctrine, a society of lay catechists.  

He is affectionately known as "Dun Ġorġ" and is popularly referred to as the "Second Apostle of Malta,” after Paul of Tarsus.

It was around 1910 that Dun Ġorġ had a very powerful mystical experience of, “the extraordinary vision of the child Jesus.” 

One morning he suddenly saw a twelve-year old boy pushing a low cart with a bag full of manure.  

The boy turned to George and ordered him, “Lend me a hand!” 

The moment Fr. George put his hand on the cart he felt an extraordinary spiritual sweetness.  

He later understood that the boy was Jesus and that the Lord was asking him and his followers to help him with nurturing the Lord’s field and vineyard with sound doctrine and formation.

Fr George Preca worked unceasingly to spread the values and teaching of the Gospel in the Maltese islands until his death in 1962.  

He wrote a great number of books and published numerous prayer booklets. He was undoubtedly a great apostle of the Gospel, which he used to call The Voice of the Beloved.

They continued, “It is for these reasons that we ask St George to pray for podcasting, a modern media format that can be used effectively to preach the Gospel and be a ‘voice of the beloved’ to all people.  We pray that he will be the patron of all podcasters, so that his example may inspire and encourage their efforts of communicating to mass audiences.”

In an interesting link with Ireland, St George was canonised by Pope Benedict on Sunday, June 3 2007 in the same ceremony during which the Pope canonised St Charles of Mount Argus, the first saint whose remains are in Ireland, at the Passionist church of Mount Argus in Dublin, since St Laurence O’Toole.