Catholic Free Press

Catholic Free Press Digital Edition

  • Nov
  • 29

Public comes out to welcome WQPH 89.3 FM

Posted By November 29, 2012 | 1:11 pm | Lead Story #2

By Patricia O’Connell
CFP Correspondent

FITCHBURG – The signal for WQPH 89.3 FM is reaching as far as Interstate 495, and people are tuning in, visitors learned last Sunday during a ribbon cutting and open house for the new Catholic radio station.
The station, an EWTN affiliate based at the Madonna of the Holy Rosary Evangelization Center, officially went on the air Nov. 1.
“We got a letter from a prisoner as a result of past coverage,” said Mary Ann Harold, national director of Prayers for Life, a Medford-based group, who spearheaded the effort to bring Catholic radio to Fitchburg. Plans for the station have been in the works for several years.
Mrs. Harold was joined in her efforts by St. Joseph parishioner Rosemary Reynolds and a group of other volunteers. The station is licensed to Massachusetts Prayers for Life, run by Worcester resident Christine Toloczco.
Madonna’s church hall last weekend was filled with well-wishers, a mix of local people and Mrs. Harold’s family and friends from Greater Boston.
Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong spoke briefly to those who had come to the dedication ceremony. She said it was the result of “a lot of hard work.”
“I’m excited,” she stated. “I want to thank all of you for supporting this new venture, this radio station, the Catholic radio station of North County.”
Former Fitchburg Mayor Mary Whitney echoed her sentiments. “It is very exciting to have a Catholic radio station, not only in the area, but in the City of Fitchburg.”
Mrs. Whitney said it will be especially beneficial for the elderly and those confined to their homes.
“I think it’s hopeful for the people in this economy to look forward to the radio station,” she added. “We’re not used to something like this in the area.”
Fitchburg resident Susan Day, who works in Eastern Massachusetts, said she listens while commuting. Although there is another EWTN affiliate in the Boston area, Mrs. Day loses that signal as she travels west on Route 2. Now, though, she picks up WQPH when the other coverage ends.
Chrstine Hanley, chair of the Fitchburg/Leominster chapter of Mass Citizens for Life, tunes in “whenever I’m driving in this area.” So far, she’s heard a broadcast of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, as well as some question and answer forums.
Mariam Maluf of Still River, 20 miles east of Fitchburg, said the radio signal is clearly heard in the hilltop convent where she lives.
“I enjoy it so much,” said Miss Maluf, who listens while she drives. She said the programs on Catholic apologetics are “very, very good.”
Lubica Vidrine of Leominster said she is happy a Catholic station is in Fitchburg. She listens to it on her way to work.
Joan Conroy of Fitchburg, a WQPH board member, has spent at least two years promoting the station. She noted that the Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which came to Fitchburg and Leominster in 2010, was part of this effort. Mrs. Harold’s organization, Prayers for Life, has also conducted spiritual retreats, which Mrs. Conroy said also paved the way for the new station to get on the air.
About a year ago, John Trainor of Lunenburg, a retired social work supervisor, joined the effort.
“One of the big goals is evangelization, directed primarily toward Shirley, Fitchburg and the surrounding towns,” he added. “This station is something this area has needed. It’s been very, very needed.”
Mr. Trainor expects it to have a big impact. He believes the parishes, CCD programs and “parish life in general” will all be positively affected.
He said the station still needs a lot of “prayers and participation by the listening audience.”
This was a thought shared by Father Daniel Becker, pastor of St. Paul parish in Warren and St. Stanislaus parish in West Warran. He spoke briefly before giving the final blessing.
He urged people to support the new station because he believes it has the potential to save many souls.
Mrs. Harold has outlined an ambitious program of promotion and events. She said Catholic singer Randy Albright will tour the North County. It was also announced a relic of Saint Andre Bessette, a piece of his heart, is coming to Fitchburg.