The Valley’s first Catholic radio station in Spanish, En Familia, is celebrating its first anniversary Jan. 15-22.
The non-profit radio station, located at 740 AM, debuted last year with local and outside programming aimed at deepening or re-awakening the faith of Spanish-speaking Catholics in the Diocese of Phoenix. Several local priests are regular guests on the one-hour Monday through Friday program known as Esencia de Fe, or Essence of Faith.
Fr. Charlie Goraieb, pastor of St. Timothy Parish in Mesa, hosts “Hora de Oración” or “Hour of Prayer” in the afternoons. He said that Catholic radio in Spanish is an important part of the New Evangelization. With many local Spanish radio stations coming from a non-Catholic perspective, En Familia’s mission is crucial.
What: Anniversary Mass of Thanksgiving and Concert for En Familia 740 AM
When: 6:30 p.m. Jan. 22
Where: St. Vincent de Paul Parish, 3140 N. 51st Ave., Phoenix
“It’s true that there are a lot of stations in Spanish from our separated brothers and they are always trying to influence Catholics in their programming,” Fr. Goraieb said. “It’s great to have a station where we can provide the teachings of the Catholic Church and provide answers to questions raised.”
Arturo Villareal, general manager of En Familia, said the biggest success of the radio station was its continuing to exist in spite of the fact that it subsists on the financial support of listeners.
Some 2,800 donors support the work of En Familia, Villareal said.
“We rely on Divine Providence and on generous hearts that allow us to maintain the station. We’re just starting out — we’re young, but we can do it,” Villareal added.
Sharing the Catholic faith and evangelizing listeners is the principal work of En Familia.
“The main thing is communicating the word of God every day to families in the Valley of the Sun,” Villareal said. “Our success is having the opportunity to transmit the word of God to so many homes and through that word, to bring about more conversion and more love for Christ.”
There will be a variety of activities to mark En Familia’s anniversary. A Mass and concert will take place Jan. 22 at 6:30 p.m. at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Phoenix.
The station will begin transmitting over the Internet Jan. 22, too, Villareal said. He has set goals for the station for its second year as well.
“Right now we’ve got a mix of programs that are ours and that are produced by the station,” Villareal said. “We’d like to add more local programming during the afternoons and on the weekend.”
Cristofer Pereyra, host of “C Mayuscula,” a local news-talk program that looks at world, national and local events through a Catholic lens, said that when En Familia first started, there were only a couple of local shows that were repeated later in the day.
“Now nothing is repeated and we have a lot of local programming with many programs that come from the outside, some from priests that are internationally recognized,” Pereyra said. “The programming is very solid.”
The station’s first radio telethon was held last September and was a success, Pereyra said. Another is planned for the coming year.