Update: Episode of local seminarians competing on national Bible game show airs May 22

| Jennifer Janikula for The Catholic Spirit | May 21, 2014 | 0 Comments
Seminarians Deacon Marc Paveglio (from left), Mark Pavlak and Chad VanHoose pose on the set of Game Show Network’s “The American Bible Challenge.” Their team, Sons of Thunder, will compete on Episode 5, scheduled to air at 7 p.m. on June 19. Photo courtesy of Game Show Network

Seminarians Deacon Marc Paveglio (from left), Mark Pavlak and Chad VanHoose pose on the set of Game Show Network’s “The American Bible Challenge.” Their team, Sons of Thunder, will compete on Episode 5, scheduled to air at 7 p.m. on June 19. Photo courtesy of Game Show Network

Three men from the St. Paul Seminary will showcase their knowledge of Scripture during the upcoming season of “The American Bible Challenge” on Game Show Network.

Update: The team will compete on the premier episode at 7 p.m. May 22. To find Game Show Network on your TV, use the channel finder online.

Seminarians Deacon Marc Paveglio, Chad VanHoose and Mark Pavlak joined forces last September after VanHoose got a call from a friend employed by the game show’s casting agency. She encouraged VanHoose to create a team and audition for the show.

With enthusiastic support from seminary leaders, Deacon Paveglio, VanHoose and Pavlak decided to compete using the St. Paul Seminary’s team name “Sons of Thunder.”

They prepared for three months, even enlisting the help of Jeff Cavins, director of the archdiocesan Office of Evangelization and founder of the Great Adventure Catholic Bible Study.

‘Happy Catholics’

In November, the team traveled to California to compete. After a few days of filming, the seminarians returned to Minnesota contractually obligated to remain silent about the results while producers and editors prepared the show for the May 22 season three premiere.

Of the 54 contestants on set, the Sons of Thunder stood out as the only Catholics.

When time allowed, the clerics invited questions about the Catholic faith.

“It was a really great opportunity to give a good, positive image of the faith and to show that we are happy, authentically Catholic and study Scripture,” VanHoose said.

To limit contestant interaction and maintain secrecy, producers sequestered contestants in small rooms by team. To prevent cheating, contestants were forbidden from bringing books into the rooms.

But to pray the Liturgy of the Hours during the long days on set, the seminarians needed their breviaries (a book of prayers, hymns, Psalms and readings). Producers accommodated the seminarians by supervising their prayer time with the breviary.

“They said, ‘Let us know when you want to pray. We’ll bring [the breviaries] in, watch you pray, then you can hand them back,’” VanHoose recalled.

“The American Bible Challenge,” recently nominated for two Emmy awards, draws millions of viewers each season.

“No other show represents faith and Christian values in as entertaining a format as this show,” noted David Schiff, senior vice president of programming and development at Game Show Network.

The Bible-based, family-friendly game has a charity component?— teams don’t play for themselves, they play for others.

“The teams have great stories,” Schiff said. “You get to know the teams and their charities. You get to know who they are and what Christianity and faith means to them.”

After three seasons, Game Show Network has donated more than $1 million to various charities on behalf of “Bible Challenge” teams.

Sons of Thunder chose NET Ministries as their beneficiary. VanHoose worked with the West St. Paul-based Catholic youth retreat ministry organization for six years and hopes to promote its mission.

Tune in to find out if Sons of Thunder will advance to the semi-finals and raise thousands of dollars for NET Ministries.

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