Fr. Roderick Vönhogen and the author in St. Peter's Square.
by John Paul Shimek | Catholic World Report
Known as the “podcasting priest,” Fr. Roderick Vönhogen is a pioneer in the new social media. His podcast program “The Catholic Insider” draws an audience from around the globe. Each week, listeners in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand tune in to his hour-long show. It was his audience’s enthusiasm for the show that inspired him to launch the Star Quest Production Network (or, SQPN), one of worldwide Catholicism’s most popular media platforms in the service of the new evangelization.
Last week, I had a chance to sit down to dinner with Fr. Roderick near the Vatican. Over Italian pizza, pasta, patate fritte, and vino rosso, we talked about the challenges and promises of a digitized Church.
Although Fr. Roderick hails from Holland, his English is flawless and his imitations of Australian and British accents are pitch-perfect. While he can proclaim the Gospel in numerous national languages – he speaks Dutch, German, French, and Italian – it is his infectious cheerfulness that best communicates the message of Christ and the Church. Several times, our dinner table shook as we busted up laughing. More than a media mogul with exceptional talent, Fr. Roderick is a priest alive in Christ Jesus – a man who has been surprised with the generous love of God. And, he communicates the goia Christiana like few others.
Since Fr. Roderick launched his English-language podcast program in 2005, he has traveled the world, broadcasting Christ’s message to countless listeners. He has done shows in his native Europe, North America, Latin America, and Africa. He will be in Rio de Janeiro for the 2013 World Youth Day, which is scheduled for July 23-28. Along the road, Fr. Roderick has had some surprising adventures and he has encountered some demanding challenges, as well. In 2005, just moments after Pope John Paul II died, he broadcast a high-speed bike chase toward St. Peter’s Square where he joined pilgrims beneath the windows of the papal apartment.
Fr. Roderick got started in media when he studied social communications at the Pontifical Gregorian University here in Rome.