Editor Emeritus - Ed Wilkinson

NET-TV Treated Us to Sights And Sounds of Papal Trip

I hope you had a chance to watch NET-TV’s coverage of the papal trip to Chile and Peru. I was happy to be one of the guest commentators during the six days of following Pope Francis’ every move and word in South America.

I was thrilled at how it all played out. Not only was the trip a visual delight, but the work of our local DeSales Media staff deserves a pat on the back. No one covered this apostolic journey from start to finish the way we did. Not only did we have expert commentary in the studio from Jorge Dominguez, our Nuestra Voz editor, and Father Gerald Murray, pastor of Holy Family parish in Manhattan, but our troops on the ground were superb in every way. Crux Editor John Allen joined us on the phone from the Vatican. Crux reporter Inés San Martin was on the papal plane and called in a couple of times to offer up-close insights, and Tablet national correspondent Christopher White stopped by to give us his interpretation.

In addition to the faces on the screen, there were tons of hard-working employees making sure the sound was right, the transmission was flawless and messages were going out from social media. It was all hands on deck, with many folks working 12- and 13- hour days over the weekend.

The Holy Father had gone to Latin America for the sixth time in his five-year pontificate to call attention to the plight of the local indigenous people, shine a light on the unique ecological value of the area and bolster the faith of the local churches there.

As we watched, we were treated to the sights and sounds of the native peoples and the colorful traditions of the established religions. We moved with the rhythmic music and marveled at the magnificent cathedrals. We learned about St. Alberto Hurtado, St. Rose of Lima, St. Martin de Porres and our personal favorite St. Turibius, a former archbishop of Lima. We were introduced to the Mapuche people in Chile and the sufferings of the people of Trujillo, Peru.

A local controversy erupted in Chile over a sex abuse scandal and threatened to derail the pope’s message. But Pope Francis managed to get the journey back on track by the time he got to Peru. On the plane ride home, he offered an apology for his choice of words in dealing with the local situation.

Some might wonder why we bother to continue showing these papal trips. After all, hasn’t the novelty of a pope’s visit faded away by now? Judging from the size of the crowds that continue to turn out to greet the pope, the answer is obvious.

In the fall of 2019, the world’s bishops will gather in Rome for an International Synod on the people and the lands of Amazonia. You haven’t read or seen too much about this in the secular press. Yet, these are important topics of interest to people around the world.

As we approach the celebration of Catholic Press Month in February, it might be appropriate to appreciate the value of the ministry of Catholic journalism, print, electronic and in the clouds. We need to promote Catholic evangelization. In the Catholic newspaper and on Catholic television, you’ll learn more about all the things you really care about.