The Roman Catholic Diocese of Johnstown-Altoona is taking to the airwaves with two new television programs on the Public Access Channel, and possibly on local television as well.
The first program, "Answering the Call," will be hosted by Tony DeGol, communications director for the diocese, and Father Allen Zeth, director of vocations for the priesthood. It will focus on vocations in the diocese and will feature different guests each week.
The second program, "Faith Alive: A Teen Perspective," will be hosted by Father John D. Byrnes, pastor of Mount Aloysius Parish in Cresson and is geared toward 13- to 18 -year-olds.
(Mirror photo by J.D. Cavrich) Participating in the first “Answering the Call” program are (from left) Tony DeGol, director of communications for the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, Father Allen B. Zeth, director of vocations, and Bishop Mark L. Bartchak.
The programs will debut at 9 and 9:30 p.m. Sunday. The diocese is negotiating with a local television channel to also air the show.
Speaking about "Answering the Call," DeGol said, "I know we have so many wonderful stories to highlight when it comes to vocations. The point of the show is to highlight the vocation opportunities available in the diocese and share the stories of the men and women filling those vocations."
The guests will share what drew them to religious service and what they do on a daily basis.
DeGol hopes to portray the full lives of priests, religious sisters, permanent deacons and others filling religious roles.
Father Brian Warchola of Holy Name Parish in Ebensburg will be a guest on an upcoming show.
"We wanted to talk to him about his past. He had graduated [from business college] and was in the workforce, and he decided to become a priest. We thought he brought an interesting perspective from that end," DeGol said.
Warchola, 29, grew up in Central City and was an altar server as a child. When he was about 11, Warchola started considering the priesthood.
"I was very involved in my parish," Warchola said. When he was 23, he entered the seminary at St. Vincent in Latrobe. He was ordained June 4.
"I love celebrating the sacrament and getting to meet more and more people every day," Warchola said. "I just want to be available sacramentally for everyone in the parish and maybe do some work at the high school. I will be open to however I can best serve the parish and the diocese."
About the second program, DeGol said, "Clearly there's an effort on our part to reach out to teens and make sure they are staying energized in their faith. We think they have wonderful stories to share and can be a wonderful inspiration to other teens."
Teen guests on the first segments are Brianna Watt, a Bishop Guilfoyle High School senior, and Jared Fee, an Altoona Area High School senior.
"Both teens have been very active. They were able to come in and talk about their experiences," DeGol said.
During the first segment Watt and Fee will talk about summer camps, Camp Zacchaeus and Camp Timothy, and Shycon 2011, a youth event for teens.
A second segment will focus on keeping faith in college and is geared to students who are getting ready for the transition.
"Our hope is that it will be a conversation with our young people who are active in faith-based activities within the diocese and the parishes," said Byrnes who also is judicial vicar for the diocese.
"The hope is that it is to be a program to speak to them about their own experiences," Byrnes said. "It's the same type of conversation I would have with students in my own parish religious programs."
Future shows will focus on issues affecting teenagers, and the perspective of the Catholic church. Dating and social issues might be a focus, but also areas of Catholic faith and the liturgy.
"It's not specifically geared to difficult issues. It's an opportunity for people to see young people who are interested and active in faith life, teenagers, really anyone," Byrnes said.