Father and son journey together – 2022 Winter Messenger
“I gave my life to God and He took me seriously,” declares Michael Shanks. “It was St. Gabriel Radio that woke me up. I discovered a continual hunger that I couldn’t satisfy until I returned to Mass and Holy Communion.” Michael found St. Gabriel Radio through his parents, John and Christine Shanks, two life-long devout Catholics. “Both of my parents have had St. Gabriel Radio bumper stickers on their cars for years.
“I didn’t think much about the Catholic radio option until a year and a half ago,” Michael explains. “In 2020, I was deep in politics on talk radio shows and podcasts. The shows and the politics became toxic. I was miserable and felt so hopeless with the media that I was consuming.”
Michael decided to strike out on a different path, to focus on his spirituality. “I realized that what I was missing was the Catholic Faith. My dad suggested that I try a different kind of radio show, St. Gabriel Radio. I began replacing political media with Catholic media at his suggestion. For almost two years, St. Gabriel Radio is now on all day in the car, at work, and at home. The reintroduction to the Faith through Catholic radio has branched me out and is very rewarding.”
“My dad suggested that I try a different kind of radio show, St. Gabriel Radio.”
CHANGE THE CHANNEL TO FAITH
“I saw my son diving deep into the political spectrum a while back and that stressed him,” relates John, Michael’s father. “So I made a suggestion to him, ‘Listen to the news on St. Gabriel Radio so that you know what to pray for and are informed about voting issues.’ This led my son to finally dial into AM 820. In turn, this led him to return to the Church.”
Michael’s father is a long-time listener. “I discovered St. Gabriel Radio through a bumper sticker about 10 years ago,” John says. “Before Catholic radio, I used to drive in silence, just enjoying the quiet time on my half-hour drive to work, because I’d grown tired of programming and commercials on other stations. I discovered that Catholic radio fed my soul. I’ve often enjoyed ‘parking-lot time’ with St. Gabriel Radio programs. I recall initially hearing Mother Angelica’s program – she was always humorous and on point. I always find something I can apply to my life in her reruns.”
John continues, “St. Gabriel Radio programs bring peace to my day. I now regularly follow Fr. Riccardo’s program, Christ is the Answer (7 A.M. weekdays). His insights and speaking style resonate with me and give me particular things of the Faith that I need to apply. Now I also stream Fr. Riccardo on apps. On my drive home from work, I often catch the weekday programs like Catholic Answers Live (6 P.M.). I like the way they take aggressive questions and answer with calmness and depth. I also like Dr. Ray Guarendi (1 P.M.), Dr. Anders (2 P.M.), and Teresa Tomeo (9 A.M.). Each strikes a different chord. I try to apply what I learn to everyday life with my wife and family.”
“ St. Gabriel Radio programs bring peace to my day.”
MOM AND DAD PRAY TOGETHER
“To me, it’s miraculous that Michael, who is my oldest son, has been catapulted forward by St. Gabriel Radio.” After high school, Michael took a wayward journey through some very rough times that included drugs and mental illness. “My son is in a much better place after such a bumpy ride.”
Michael says, “I am a cradle Catholic. In hindsight, I couldn’t have been given a greater gift from my parents. My parents are very devout. Their example of the Faith in marriage and their prayers have played a huge role in my life. Together, they pray the rosary and attend adoration. As I was growing up, my parents encouraged me, my brother, and sister to get involved in positive activities in the community like the Boy Scouts. I now see how they sacrificed. But at the time, I didn’t understand how much they sacrificed to put me through parochial school, St. Matthew primary school in Gahanna and St. Charles Preparatory for high school. The values didn’t sink in until later. I know that my mom spent many hours in adoration and prayed many rosaries especially for me. “After I graduated from high school, I lived recklessly and abandoned everything. I even lost the love of life and love of self.” Michael reached a dead end where he could find no answers. “I just prayed and in tears, surrendered, ‘I can’t take this anymore. Lord, take my life out of my hands and do what You will.'”
“ Lord, take my life out of my hands and do what You will.”
GOD SENT AN ANGEL
As only God can do, He sent an angel. Fifteen minutes after Michael’s heartfelt plea, his sister whom he hadn’t seen for more than a decade called out of the blue. “The Holy Spirit spoke to me through my sister. I listened to her and decided to turn for help to people who knew better than I.” The first person Michael reached out to was his mother. Michael became involved in a 12 Step program and stuck to it. “I went from doing criminal things to feed my habit and dodging bill collectors, to managing a halfway house in Florida and
correcting my credit score.”
Michael progressed into working for a rehab facility. “I realized that I wanted to do something more with my life. As the doors to college seemed to be shutting on me, another educational door opened. Three years into sobriety I was able to recognize the path that God was opening to me. I was contacted by a school where I could train to become a funeral director and mortician. This profession had interested me since childhood.” In 2019 Michael graduated from with a Bachelor of Funeral Services Administration and Mortuary Science.
MICHAEL PRAYS FOR THE DECEASED
Michael works as a funeral director in the Columbus area. “I have come to accept that this is my vocation. It’s a very humbling and purposeful experience. I have a spiritual obligation to my job. As a funeral director, I embalm the deceased. It’s a process that takes one-and-a-half to four hours. Early in my career, I worked with other embalmers who listened to sports or political radio as they worked. As I work, I put on the earbuds and listen to St. Gabriel Radio. I’ve also started praying for God to use my talents during a person’s final hours on earth in a reverent, spiritual place. I pray for the person. I pray that I might plan the arrangements and perform the embalming the way the family and the deceased deserve.”
He believes that during this journey over the past six years, his faith has matured. He now makes the Faith his primary interest. “I discovered that St. Gabriel Radio is the tip of the iceberg,” Michael explains. “I now ask myself, ‘Am I applying this to my life?’ Someone can listen to Gregorian Chant all day but that doesn’t bring him to God unless the listener takes action. So, I began to investigate my personal relationship with the Catholic Faith.
“ As I work, I put on the earbuds and listen to St. Gabriel Radio.”
Michael loves to write, especially poetry. He hopes to use that talent to God’s purpose. He is engaged to be married in October of this year.
One of Michael’s favorite sayings is, “It’s not the details of your struggles that matter, but that you rose up to meet the struggle, learned from it, and grew in ever further faith and love of God because through it all you relied on Him.”
John concludes by saying, “I’m very grateful for Catholic radio and believe it is a miraculous resource for building faith.”
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