Hispanic Heritage: Spreading the ‘good word’ through a local Spanish Catholic radio program

Hispanic Heritage Month

SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The Diocese of Scranton is using radio to reach Hispanic worshippers. A weekly program spoken in Spanish is helping making the connection.

What you are hearing in the video above is history in the making; the first-ever locally produced Spanish Catholic radio program in the Diocese of Scranton.

The weekly broadcast is the brainchild of the program’s facilitator: Jose Flores, who serves as coordinator for Hispanic Ministry in the Diocese. Flores had an epiphany of sorts when he moved to northeastern Pennsylvania in 2020.

“I realized that the radio could be a good tool, a means to get to people and evangelize through it,” said Flores.

The 26-year-old Flores developed the one-hour Spanish spoken program on Saturdays to essentially discuss Catholic faith fundamentals. To do that, he needed a little help which Flores found in some fellow Hispanic worshippers at St. John Neumann Parish in Scranton.

“He approached us all to tell us about the idea and I say, I will join. Excellent,” said program co-host Rufino Cano.

Cano and his wife are two of the radio team’s five members. None of them had radio experience, including Flores, when they took to the microphone for the first time in mid-August.

Eyewitness News asked what it felt like.

“Nervous of course but at the same time we were all excited,” Flores said.

“We were very nervous that first day and we don’t know what to expect, what we want to say and we were like just, like just trusting,” said program co-host Ana Maria Becerril.

The radio team meets weekly to plan their next radio broadcast. September focused on Books of the Bible and their importance. The team has also taken up topics like matrimony as both a Sacrament and Vocation.

Cano says they’ve covered a little bit before 100 B.C., after 100 B.C., Matthew and Luke.

Cano took a leap of faith as a first-time radio co-host recognizing the need far outweighed any apprehension he may have.

“In the past, the Diocese didn’t know about the reach of our culture and how it’s expanding year after year,” said Cano.

Flores says in time, the broadcast may include live callers but in the meantime, he and his fellow broadcasters hope their message is received so that they may build a bridge of spirituality in the Hispanic community.

“We have gotten to people that we had no idea we could have,” said Cano.

“My sister-in-law came up to me. She say, ‘We all listen to you guys and the radio is so beautiful and so enrichment…’ So it was for me the answer that the people need this,” said Becerril.

A personal impact Flores describes in two words: “Very meaningful. Definitely, to be able to be an instrument to get to people and share the good news and share the gospel,” said Flores.

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