As a youngster, Mark was one of the early St. Gabriel Radio listeners. Now, at the age of 26, he recalls, “I grew up listening in the back seat of the family car. My Dad supported the station from the get-go, back in 2005. St. Gabriel Radio was the only station he played when driving. So we kids heard it, like it or not, as we went with Dad on adventures, road trips, and around town! To me, as a child, it seemed like a lot of adults talking about adult things.”

Yet, Mark notes, “I was drawn to spiritual questions from an early age. Our neighbors were Muslims from Egypt. I played with their kids. At prayer time, my pal Muhammad always disappeared to pray. I found it confusing at a young age that we wouldn’t pray together if we believed in the same God. So we did. I checked out Islam later out of curiosity and appreciate their traditions. In fact, like many young people, I took a side trip from the Faith during high school and college and looked into other meditative spiritualities like Yoga, Chi Gong, and Buddhism.”

In the process, Mark explored other dangerous choices as well. Today, he reflects on St. Paul’s advice, “Test everything.” When taken out of context, this advice can end in tragedy, especially for young people in today’s culture of “Do it if it feels good!”

“Like many young people, I took a side trip from the Faith during high school and college.”

It was by the grace of God that Mark made it back home alive from these detours. But before Mark returned to Catholicism, his side trips led him to what he recognizes as “some very dark places.” He had to work hard to climb out of the hole he had dug in his late teens.

During Mark’s years in the U.S. Army, including a year’s service in the Middle East, he used his free time to read faith-based books. “Back then, in Iraq and Saudi Arabia, we didn’t have access to U.S. radio programs.” But Mark did have access to the books of EWTN show hosts — Trent Horn, Scott Hahn, Brant Pitre — harbingers of Mark’s return to St. Gabriel Radio.
The words of St. Gabriel Radio in the background of his childhood continued to reverberate in his subconscious as he struggled to find his way as a young man. It became clear to him that all of those practices outside of Christianity lack the essentials — Christ, and His bride, the Church — and the Judeo-Christian ethic.


“I would have called myself an agnostic for a time,” he admits while giving encouragement for others. “When it came time to test these things against the Truth of Christ, St. Gabriel Radio was such a crucial resource for me to find answers anytime I was in the car.”

Mark spent a lot of time reading about the Faith, listening to others talk about faith, and debating faith with people. “On Catholic radio, I listened to one debate between Patrick Madrid and James White on sola scriptura. Patrick Madrid’s argument sold me logically. Then, in a grace-filled, transcendent experience, my heart was opened to the discovery that Christ is the most liberating form of spirituality.

“Returning to Catholicism was the last place I would have imagined myself. It took a lot to get here, both spiritually and mentally. My reversion has been a marathon, and I’m still running my race into the loving arms of Christ.”

In a Lutheran church along the way, Mark connected with his high school sweetheart and they married in a Lutheran service. It was in this Lutheran church that Mark’s heart was convinced of Christianity. But the Lutheran doctrines didn’t ring true for him. He decided that he needed to make a decision and returned wholeheartedly to the Catholic Faith. At the time, his wife didn’t share this interest.

In a grace-filled transcendent experience, my heart was opened to the discovery that Christ is the most liberating form of spirituality.”


“I started listening to Catholic Answers (6-8 P.M. weekdays). That program drew me in to listen to other programs.” Soon, Mark had St. Gabriel Radio on daily. Weekday shows like Called to Communion (2 P.M.), The Doctor Is In (1 P.M.), and Christ is the Answer with Fr. Riccardo (7 A.M.) became favorites. “Dr. David Anders is so graceful and offers so many sources of information. Fr. Riccardo explains Scripture in a way that inspires me.”

While Catholic radio wasn’t the first choice for Mark as a teen, today he believes that the experience that his Dad gave him early on as an active listener and supporter of St. Gabriel Radio led Mark to the support that he needed to turn his life around as an adult. “In retrospect, Dad’s enthusiasm for St. Gabriel Radio gave me a big advantage because, as an adult, I knew where to go for the Truth. Just turn on AM 820,” confirms Mark.

Mark says that his Dad has been deeply influenced by St. Gabriel Radio. His Dad’s example of a faithful Catholic, well-studied convert, involved father, and most importantly a loving husband, made a huge impact on Mark. “I have five brothers and sisters. The whole family prayed the Rosary at night together when I was growing up. Any time I came home late at night as a teen or adult, I would find my parents praying together — and they would invite me to pray with them. Their example led me to a belief in the importance of daily prayer.”

It took courage to put faith in the institution that he now believes Christ started, the Catholic Church. It was hard for his wife to understand the change that she was witnessing, but Mark didn’t give up. “My Faith allowed me to show my wife true sacramental love. My faith and the witness of many great Christian men in my life spurred me to step up as the spiritual leader of our home through prayer, faithfulness, and example.

“My wife entered the Catholic Church after eight years of being unconvinced and three years of arduous discernment. It’s still hard at times. There are cultural and theological differences to get used to. Radio stations like St. Gabriel have been there to keep us grounded through the easy times and hard times.”

Dad’s enthusiasm for St. Gabriel Radio gave me a big advantage because, as an adult, I knew where to go for the Truth.”


Mark wants the Faith to play the most important role in his family’s life, following his parents’ example. “I want my family to have the advantage of lively parish life. I want to continue with my commitment to a meaningful prayer life, RCIA sponsorship, volunteer service, and sharing the Faith with non-Catholics in ecumenical dialogue. I want to invite God into the everyday life of my marriage and family.”

St. Gabriel Radio programs support Mark in living his commitments. “The Doctor Is In with Ray Guarendi gives me insights on parenting and discernment in marriage questions. I’ve even called him. It’s like free counseling! I also like to listen to Take 2 with Jerry and Debbie (12:35 P.M. weekdays).”

“St. Gabriel Radio has great on-air and on-demand programs about things that really matter. The programs aren’t just consumption of information; they’re edifying. St. Gabriel Radio points to the Real ‘Super-Substantial’ food!” Mark concludes with enthusiasm.