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Presence Radio ‘strengthens’ listeners, holds pledge drive to raise funds

Bishop Deeley during the “Light in the Darkness” pledge drive at Presence Radio. The drive helped raise funds for the network’s seven stations in Maine.
Courtesy of Dave Guthro

Bishop Deeley celebrated a morning mass inside the Presence Radio Network studio Wednesday, Sept. 27 during the pledge drive.
Courtesy of Dave Guthro

By Dave Guthro

Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland

AUBURN—“We’re so grateful for the mission of Presence Radio, which makes it possible for us to be reminded of our faith and to deepen it. It reminds us of our commitment to do the good things that God has sent us to do.”

With volunteers and staff seated before him, Bishop Robert P. Deeley celebrated a special morning Mass inside the Presence Radio Network studio in Auburn on Wednesday, Sept. 27. The Mass helped launch the “Light in the Darkness” Pledge Drive to raise funding for the network’s seven radio stations in Maine.

“Presence Radio strengthens all people in their knowledge that they are not alone,” said the bishop. “They know that there are other people who want to live life like they do. That’s important in such a big state like Maine.”

The improbable story of Maine’s only Catholic radio network started with a small group of dedicated people who believed Catholic radio programming could succeed in the state, and it continues with the many donors who generously offer financial support to keep Presence Radio on the air.

Launched on July 7, 2010, with a single station in Portland (106.7 FM), the network can now be heard in Springvale/Sanford (105.7 FM), Fort Kent (97.5 FM), Bangor (90.3 FM), Bath/Brunswick (89.7 FM), Augusta (89.5 FM), and northern Maine (1390 AM). It is also available online at www.thepresenceradio.org, on smartphones by downloading the Presence Radio app, or by calling (605) 475-8037 to listen on cell phones. Presence Radio is a non-profit, non-commercial, independent lay apostolate.

“We are constantly reminded of a quote from the late Mother Angelica, founder of EWTN: ‘Unless you are willing to do the ridiculous, God will not do the miraculous. When you have God, you don’t have to know everything about it; you just do it.’ I think we accomplished, by the grace of God, the ridiculous!” said Cynthia Nickless, executive director of Presence Radio.

At every turn and challenge, the small staff and volunteers say they’ve seen “the miraculous.” The journey of Presence Radio is full of unexplained moments of good fortune, favorable breaks, and the answering of prayers.

“I remember when the Augusta station needed a ton of work and upgrades,” said Debbie Littleton, a donor relations consultant for the network. “We prayed for the $30,000 needed. Not long after, the Knights of Columbus Council 148 in Waterville came by with a check for $30,000 on the dot. There have been so many miracles to help along the way.”

Through it all, the mission of Presence Radio has remained the same: to strengthen faith, inform non-Catholics and invite fallen-away Catholics to return home to the Church.

“Presence Radio plays another important role,” said the bishop during a live appearance during the pledge drive. “Maine is very secular. Our young people find themselves criticized because they are believers. Presence Radio is one of the things that allows them to recognize that there are other people drawing strength from the message and joy of the Gospel.”

The real difference the network has made since its inception can be measured in the countless testimonials from listeners that air on the stations. In these inspiring stories of families reunited, faith restored, and lives improved, the common threads of gratitude and the hope that Presence Radio will survive and thrive, can be found.

“Share the gift of Presence Radio with your friends,” said the bishop. “That’s how people will find out what a gift it is. Drawing people to Presence Radio is drawing them closer to Jesus.”

  To donate to the Presence Radio, call 1-855-955-PRAY (7729); visit www.thepresenceradio.org; or mail a check/money order to: The Presence Radio Network, P.O. Box 10660, Portland, ME 04104. For more information, contact Dave Guthro, Communications Director for the Diocese of Portland, at (207) 321-7810 or dave.guthro@portlanddiocese.org.

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