On Preaching & Media Production: A Case for Sunday to Sunday, the Preaching Journey
By Father Mike Russo
In his “Joy of the Gospel,” Pope Francis reminds us that Christ is present in the preached word, the very opportunity to encounter Christ.
As a universal pastor, Francis gives every reason to extend our time and talent to bring to light the very best gifted preachers and to reflect on the art, craft, and spirituality of preaching.
My familiarity with the preaching ministry comes from my years as a parish priest, college professor, and television producer. Each of these aspects of my ministry has provided the guidance and the occasional wisdom to see the importance of my current work.
An online and cable TV program Sunday to Sunday identifies a series of case studies about preaching by listening to preachers in their own words and hearing samples of their efforts. Our complete 28-minute episodes appear on this website. The 8-minute profiles of “great preachers” are a feature of the online edition of America Magazine. In June of 2019, the Catholic Press Association awarded Sunday to Sunday with the Gabriel Award for the “Best TV Series & Storytelling.”
As we take this preaching journey we explore how the homily is an occasion for hearing the diverse voices that witness to the gospel today in the lives of priests, deacons, lay-women, and youth ministers.
Our intent is to listen to accomplished preachers pass along their ideas about the ministry, observe examples of preaching genre so to stimulate conversation about witnessing to the word of God. By slowing down the process and by examining a particular homily or sermon, we hope to build confidence in our viewers and thereby lend more significant commitment to this vitally crucial pastoral task.
This essay is a prologue to Sunday to Sunday, the preaching journey.
Father Mike Russo is the host of Sunday to Sunday, the preaching journey. He is a Roman Catholic priest and a retired professor of Communication Studies at Saint Mary's College of California where he taught journalism and political communication.
Since his college days at Seton Hall University, he was closely associated with CBS News as a producer and consultant on the news of religion. In July 1969, he was a desk-assistant to Walter Cronkite for the special events broadcast coverage of Apollo 11. He traveled to Rome to report on the death, election and funeral of Pope John Paul II, and the election of Pope Benedict XVI. He reported for both national and local media on the resignation of Pope Benedict, and the election of Pope Francis, and Pope Francis’s 2016 visit to the United States.
He holds a doctoral degree in American political and cultural history from New York University where he was awarded the Bayrd Still Prize in historical writing; and in 1990 he was appointed a “Joan Shorenstein Fellow” at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He has written widely and has taught courses on the intersection of religion, politics and culture at the Rome campuses of John Cabot University, and the Loyola University of Chicago.
His homilies, news of religion commentary, and essays are found at www.francisfactor.com.
He lives in Monterey, CA, where he assists the Diocese of Monterey, the San Carlos Cathedral; presently he is chaplain to the Santa Catalina High School.