Couple celebrates 300 episodes of ‘Being Catholic’ on Catholic Spirit Radio
BLOOMINGTON — In bowling, a score of 300 is a cause for celebration. In local Catholic radio, Bob and Lynn Johnston are being celebrated for reaching 300 episodes of sharing the joy of “Being Catholic” each week on Catholic Spirit Radio.
“Thank you for everything you’ve given not only to the radio station, but to our faith,” said Deacon Al Lundy in bestowing a blessing on the couple at the close of the milestone episode’s taping Feb. 11 at the station’s Bloomington studio. Deacon Lundy called the Johnstons — members of Epiphany Parish in Normal who will mark 63 years of marriage this summer — “wonderful examples of real Catholic faith.”
“I’ve learned an awful lot doing the show,” said Bob Johnston, an avid reader who for 10 years with Lynn taught the Catholic faith to those wishing to enter the church through Epiphany’s RCIA process.
Likewise, “Being Catholic” aims to share the uniqueness of the Catholic faith as “the fullness of Christianity” in each hourlong weekly broadcast. The Johnstons do so by reflecting on topics of the day, sharing from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as well as current periodicals and books, interviews with invited guests, and spirited question-and-answer segments.
“We hold the full deposit of faith,” said Bob of Catholicism, also noting the church’s positive impact on culture through the centuries. “Catholics need not be afraid to emphasize that — that we’re not just one religion among many.”
FIRST LOCAL PROGRAM TO AIR
Bob spent much of the hourlong program’s first segment on Feb. 11 thanking others who have had a role in supporting the station and the program. Among those on his long list were Jon Hall, founder of Catholic Spirit Radio, who records and edits the episodes; Ann Weber, station secretary; members of the station’s advisory board past and present, many of whom joined the couple for the program’s final segment; and, as always, donors — including the local Knights of Columbus.
Bob begins every “Being Catholic” weekly broadcast “from good old McLean County” by reminding listeners the show is “brought to you by you.”
“Being Catholic” was the first local program to air on Catholic Spirit Radio, with the debut episode recorded on Dec. 4, 2014.
(To find “Being Catholic,” see the text that follows.)
“It seems like yesterday,” said Lynn, a Secular Franciscan and former nurse who considers the program a mission and ministry.
“I didn’t even imagine doing this in the first place,” added Bob, who had an early career in teaching literature and speech in high school and later partnered in an independent insurance agency.
In fact, he was unfamiliar with Catholic radio until he learned during an Epiphany ministry fair there was a possibility a local station might be coming to the area.
The Johnstons — parents of three adult children, grandparents of six, and with five great-grandchildren — were among the first to assist in fundraising for the project. And in 2014, station founder Hall — knowing the couple’s RCIA involvement and Bob’s speech background and interest in Catholic theology and apologetics — asked the couple if they would be willing to host a locally produced program.
The title “Being Catholic” was suggested by station supporter Beth Agnew.
“They asked if that name would be OK, and I said ‘yes,’” recalled Bob. “I didn’t even know what I was going to do!”
He also didn’t realize the show would be produced every week.
ON TO 400?
At first “Being Catholic” was a half-hour, and Bob wrote out an entire script to read. Now he and Lynn work off of talking points penned on a legal pad, and the result is a more conversational, spontaneous, and often humorous show.
“Catholicism has an awful lot to offer and our society needs it, that’s for sure.” — Bob Johnston
Recent topics have ranged from the rosary to pro-life issues, the war in Ukraine, and one titled “Bob and Lynn discuss the current madness in the world.”
“We hope it will be something that will be helpful and inspire the lives of the people out there,” said Bob of each episode.
Bob begins every show by announcing “We’ve got a great show for you today.”
“I always think, ‘How do you know that?’” said Lynn with a laugh.
Each show ends with the couple offering the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.
“We need his protection in this day and age of being Catholic,” said Lynn.
In thanking the Johnstons for all they’ve done for the station, Hall acknowledged “we wouldn’t be on the air without you.”
“All the listeners leave the program learning something and certainly touched by your passion and faith,” added Weber. “We all hope to be here at the 400 mark.”
The Johnstons enjoy hosting the show and hope to continue “as long as we can.”
“It keeps your mind sharp,” said Bob. “I think it’s important. Catholicism has an awful lot to offer and our society needs it, that’s for sure.”
How to listen to “Being Catholic”
“Being Catholic” airs on Saturdays at 2 to 3 p.m. and again on 10 to 11 p.m. as well as Sundays from 4 to 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. to midnight on Catholic Spirit Radio.
Catholic Spirit Radio broadcasts in communities in and surrounding Bloomington-Normal (on 89.5 and 92.5 FM); Pontiac (88.3 FM); Lincoln (97.1 FM); DeKalb (89.1 FM); and Morris and southern Joliet (89.3 FM).
The programs are also archived as podcasts at catholicspiritradio.podbean.com.