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WATERTOWN -- What can a media organization do to help viewers in a time of crisis? The staff of the CatholicTV Network is about to find out.
On Nov. 6, iCatholicMedia Inc. president and CEO Bishop Robert Reed, CatholicTV general manager Jay Fadden, and senior producer Kevin Nelson appeared on the network's talk show "This is the Day" to announce the launch of a six-month campaign for penance and renewal in the Church, entitled "Together We Rebuild." It began on Nov. 6 and will culminate on Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019.
Speaking to the Pilot on Nov. 5, Fadden said the idea for "Together We Rebuild" came from Bishop Reed's 24-hour vigil at Good Shepherd Parish in Wayland, where the bishop serves as pastor. Bishop Reed fasted and prayed before the Blessed Sacrament from Sept. 24 to Sept. 25, beginning and ending his vigil with the celebration of morning Mass.
"From that, we decided it would be good if CatholicTV did something at an even larger scope," Fadden said.
He has attended listening sessions in local parishes and has seen how people are reacting to the crisis.
"I have found that people just don't know what to do. They feel absolutely helpless. They want something to be done, and this is a faith, not only that they grew up in, but that they love. And it seems that we've lost focus in the sense that we should be focusing on prayer and the Eucharist, and we should be helping people who have had their faith shaken or have been abused and there needs to be action," Fadden said.
After meeting "numerous times" to discuss ideas, the CatholicTV staff realized "that we really are a very powerful prayer community, and so our response should be, at least at its heart, one of prayer," Bishop Reed said, speaking to the Pilot on Nov. 2.
"We felt like we had the ability to reach out and be an instrument of renewal and hope during these difficult times," Angela Hanafin, director of marketing and public relations for CatholicTV Network, told the Pilot Nov. 1.
During this six-month period, CatholicTV's multimedia platforms will offer programming and resources to prayerfully accompany people struggling with the clergy sexual abuse crisis. Each month will have a guiding theme and a patron saint who helped reform the Church during their lifetime. Every Mass celebrated in CatholivTV's Chapel of the Holy Cross will be offered with three intentions: reparation for the sins of the clergy, healing for victims of abuse, and the purification of the Church.
CatholicTV will also share testimonials sent in by viewers answering questions posed by the network. These questions can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bishop Reed said he thinks connecting people through different platforms for the purpose of prayer is "pretty unique." CatholicTV's television programming is available on cable, satellite, the Internet, and streaming devices such as Roku. The network also has a monthly magazine, the latest issue of which features stories of people leaving and returning to the Church, Bishop Reed announced on "This is the Day."
"We have many different platforms, and we're going to use them to the best of our ability to help people regain their faith, to help those who have been abused to feel as if they're not alone, and to give a voice to people who otherwise feel as if they're not being heard," Fadden said.
"We hope that it will be a strengthening for the Church," said Bishop Reed.
He added, "If we're going to say prayer is powerful, if we're going to say the Eucharist is central to our lives, then we need to practice that."
The network is inviting viewers to join in a Novena of Penance and Prayer that will be held Nov. 11-19. Fadden said on "This is the Day" that the network has sent pamphlets with instructions for the novena to all the parishes in the archdiocese. The pamphlet can also be viewed on the CatholicTV website, catholictv.org.
The novena will end with a 12-hour Day of Penance and Prayer on Nov. 19 broadcast live from CatholicTV's Chapel of the Holy Cross. This event will include Mass, recitation of the rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet, eucharistic adoration, and testimonies.
"I think it's going to be a great day in the history of CatholicTV," Bishop Reed said on "This is the Day."
The time frame of the novena will encompass the Fall General Assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Nov. 12-14 in Baltimore, Maryland, where addressing clergy sexual abuse is expected to be a central focus.
"That novena will be very much for the bishops and for all those who collaborate with them, that good will come out of that meeting," Bishop Reed said on "This is the Day."
CatholicTV will be present at the USCCB assembly to share information and answer questions about the "Together We Rebuild" campaign.