New Rediscover: Hour host Conley looks to shine light on God’s work

| January 9, 2017 | 0 Comments

Patrick Conley hosts the Rediscover: Hour at the Relevant Radio studio on Jan. 6. Conley recently became the new host for the weekly show produced by the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis at the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

As an Anglican seminarian at England’s Oxford University during the mid 2000s, Patrick Conley got together with a couple seminary classmates to talk about more traditional aspects of the church they served.

Invariably, the topic of Catholicism came up. All three seminarians found many things about the traditions of the Catholic Church appealing. They didn’t keep it too secret, either, as they invited their cohorts to join their discussions.

“We’d go down to the pub once a week, actually, and we’d talk smart, but inevitably the conversation always rolled back to “what about the Catholic Church?” said Conley, now a Catholic working as the director of faith formation at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul. “If the Catholic Church really claims to be the Church that Jesus founded, the fullness of the expression of the Church Jesus intended, then why would we disbelieve that?”

At the time, the Wisconsin native also served with BBC Radio for the seminary’s ministry placement program. His work mainly consisted of short segments such as interviews and devotionals in the station’s religion department.

“Well, little did I know was that that time was really getting me ready for something else that came along later,” Conley said.

His new radio mission arrived at the end of 2016 when became the new host of The Rediscover: Hour show for Relevant Radio 1330 AM, a Catholic radio station serving the Twin Cities. The weekly show on Friday mornings aims to engage Catholics about the faith and life in the local Church.

“We have a very vibrant and faithful community here of clergy, religious [and] laity who are ready and willing to live out their faith,” Conley said. “And I hope to shine a greater light on that through The Rediscover: Hour.”

Conley had previously worked with Relevant Radio doing voice-over work at its Golden Valley studio. He also served as a guest host several times for The Rediscover: Hour.

“I just appreciated all the work they did, and it was fun to work together with them,” Conley said.

Conley is stepping into the role long held by Jeff Cavins, who launched the radio show in 2014 while serving as director of the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Known for creating “The Great Adventure Bible Timeline” and hosting “Life on the on Rock” on the Eternal Word Television Network, Cavins left the archdiocese in March 2016 to dedicate more time to broader evangelization efforts.

Crystal Crocker, interim director of the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis, invited Conley to be one of the show’s guest hosts in September, when Cavins stepped away from the show, and he continued to host on an interim basis. His first show as the permanent host was Jan. 6.

“Because of the circumstances that surrounded how I was given the position, I really take [it] as a gift from God and within his providence, and it’s not something that I went in search of at all,” Conley said.

People have told him that he has “a good voice for radio” — to which he retorts, “I also have a good face for radio.” But he would add, “‘Well, I’m open to it [working in radio], I’m just waiting for my big break.”

Conley, who joined the Church in 2010, hopes to plant the seeds for big breaks in people’s spiritual lives now on the radio. In his work with the Cathedral’s Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program, he has heard Relevant Radio pop up as a significant reason candidates were looking at Catholicism.

“It’s been a surprise as to how many people actually mention that [Relevant Radio] as they’re talking about how they came to wanting to go through RCIA and exploring the idea” of joining the Church. He added that the main shows mentioned by candidates included “Go Ask Your Father” and “Father Simon Says.”

“My hope is that The Rediscover: Hour can play in really well along side those other shows,” Conley said.

Conley described the program’s focus as to “help shed light on what God is doing here in the local Church and how that can help deepen and strengthen people’s faith” through its various guests. The show covers a wide variety of topics, which Conley enjoys.

“Through the various topics we cover, I hope there is enough of a variety there that people will always be on the cusp of learning something new about their faith [and] hopefully, again, deepening their practice of the faith,” Conley said. “And that can only serve the whole ministry, the whole idea, the whole vision of evangelization and catechesis all the better.”

Conley also understands evangelization and catechesis from a convert’s perspective. He and his two seminary classmates all joined the Church through the process of discussion, study and prayer.

“It was really in that time on my own I became intellectually convinced of the truth of the Catholic Church,” Conley said. “And it was followed later after [he and his wife] returned home [to the U.S.] by that second piece, that heart piece, that conscience piece that really fell into place.”

He told his wife, Kendra, that he wanted to begin RCIA. So did she, which he found providential.

In 2013, Conley began his job at the Cathedral, administering the faith formation program for all ages and teaching. He sees the new opportunity with Relevant Radio as a complement to his work, as it is similar to bringing many speakers to the archdiocese’s mother church.

“I see my role as really facilitating others being able to share about their field of expertise,” Conley said. “To be a good host, in my mind, is to help others share how the Lord has been working in their life and what they see the Lord doing here in the archdiocese.”

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