The USCCB affirms that the New Evangelization "calls each of us to deepen our faith, believe in the Gospel message and go forth to proclaim the Gospel."
With this understanding of our mandate to share the Good News, we need to find ways to present the gospel and news of the Catholic faith to all by any reputable means necessary. With so many ways of sharing information, It is incumbent to find what is relevant and accessible to our culture.
I started blogging in 2015 and shared my "thoughts" on the Bible, Christianity, and popular-culture through my WordPress account . Toward the end of 2018, influenced by a surge of millennial content creators and my confirmation into the Catholic Church at Easter Vigil that year, I had an idea of creating a podcast.
My first project, Priestly Passion, is dedicated to interviewing priests in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston about their vocation. Though the interviews have waned due to COVID-19, the conversations speak volumes about the nature of the sacrament of Holy Orders.
For example, I interviewed Reverend Rodney Armstrong, pastor at Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church, and he gave a powerful testimony on what it means to serve as a Black Catholic priest in the Society of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart—more commonly known as the Josephites.
Having the opportunity to speak with a priest dedicated to the advancement of Black Catholics and to their social and spiritual care spoke immensely to my desire of starting an outreach to Black Americans about the Catholic Church.
Similarly, I spoke to Sister Odessa Stanford, shortly before COVID-19 started, about her vocation in the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. She too shared a profound glimpse into what it means to be a Black Catholic. Through her life story and remarkable experiences as an educator, her faith journey is an influential force, as it reinforces that resilience found in the fabric of our ancestral Catholic roots.
Having one engaging podcast, I decided it was time to expand and do something different. I got an idea to showcase everyday Catholics that are living their faith through a particular passion and concentrate on Catholic faith stories.
As a result of much planning and critical feedback, Saintly Witnesses was formed.
Currently, with 24 episodes, I've managed to interact and establish transformative relationships and spread the Catholic faith through interviews. With each dialogue, there's a unique way God has worked in their lives.
Episodes stretch across the spectrum: disability advocacy, computer science, law, public office, history, and education—to name a few. Moreover, I am proud that I've managed to snag bold Black Catholics that are performing tremendous works of Christ-like love in their respective fields.
I can't stress enough the lack of diversity in the Catholic podcasting universe. And while it is a problem, I'm excited to give Catholics a platform to share their stories, vocations, and passions.
I thrive on connections and forming relationships, and this gift has been the catalyst for my professional work and hobbies, so I am immeasurably grateful to interact with members of the Body of Christ that have diverse spiritual strengths.
Everyone has a story to tell and I am privileged to listen and share God's manifold blessings.
Efran Menny is a husband, father, and small-time writer. He’s a passionate educator, student of social work, and host of the "Saintly Witnesses" podcast.