Mater Dei Radio
Archbishop Alexander Sample records one of his weekly broadcasts, “The Voice of the Shepherd.”
Mater Dei Radio
Archbishop Alexander Sample records one of his weekly broadcasts, “The Voice of the Shepherd.”
For the past six months, Portland’s Catholic radio station has sustained a new set of local shows, including a weekly conversation with Archbishop Alexander Sample. Mater Dei radio is in the air at 88.3 FM in the Portland area and Salem and at 94.9 and 100.5 in the Eugene area.

Living Stones, Mondays at 7:30 p.m., is a conversation between two Oregon Catholics who love their faith — and know a lot about it. Ken Hallenius is a University of Portland assistant alumni director who holds advanced degrees in theology and has a wit well known around campus. He teams up with Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, a Portlander who appears regularly on EWTN in other national Catholic media. The two often discuss practical ways to grow in faith, participate more fully in liturgy, and practice charity towards all.

“It is a conversation about living an authentically Catholic faith,” says Burke-Sivers. “We have a lot of fun and genuinely like each other.”

To start out, the men discussed aspects of Archbishop Sample’s pastoral priorities: faith formation, divine worship and the service of charity.

The show welcomes guests sometimes. In the near future, the show will be focusing on men’s spirituality, a topic on which Deacon Harold has written.

Hallenius, who has wanted to work in radio since childhood, says the medium has an appealing serendipity. People scanning through the FM dial, down near public radio and classical music, probably run across Mater Dei by mistake all the time. For Hallenius, that’s a rare opportunity.

“You just never know who is going to be listening,” he says. “It could be mere chance.”

Burke-Sivers and Hallenius have been friends since the days when Burke-Sivers also worked at the University of Portland as director of security.

“Getting to be in studio with Harold is better than an hour of therapy,” Hallenius says. “We genuinely like each other and we are both in love with our faith. We want people to understand that the faith is a joy; we are invited into relationship with Christ.”

In The Voice of the Shepherd, Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 7:30 a.m., the archbishop spends a half hour discussing topics like the Year of Mercy, Advent, the sacraments and even current events like the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg. Each episode begins with prayer.

“When I was hired as executive director of Mater Dei Radio, I knew that my first order of business was to get Archbishop Sample on the air more often,” says David Renshaw, now director of communication for the Archdiocese of Portland. Renshaw still hosts “The Voice of the Shepherd.”

“Archbishop Sample really understands the power behind the use of mass media,” Renshaw says. “Now as the director of communications for the archdiocese, I have an even greater appreciation for what “The Voice of the Shepherd” means to the faithful in the Archdiocese of Portland.”

Answering the Call, Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m., puts the Archdiocese of Portland’s vocations director on the air. Father Jeff Eirvin interviews priests and seminarians about their call
and their ministry. Talk often gets into family and home life.   

“When I am working with guys who are discerning, or in my own discernment back when, I always wanted to understand how people heard the call or took the steps to answer,” Father Eirvin says. “It’s very powerful for men to know there are other guys out there growing in their faith. How do you take that next step? My job is to draw out stories.”

Faculty from Mount Angel Seminary and Pastoral Center staff also appear on the show. Families of seminarians and priests also get interviewed.

Father Eirvin never imagined he’d be a radio host, but has gotten coaching from Mater Dei staff.

“It could bear fruit,” he says. “Young men might hear.”

The new shows join the longstanding local content from Dina Marie Hale, Mater Dei’s on-air personality and programming director. Each weekday, Hale hosts an hour of drive-time, 7 a.m.-8 a.m., with local inspirational stories and announcements. From 8 a.m.-9 p.m. each day, and repeated 8 p.m.-9 p.m., she interviews local Catholic personalities. Guests have included Archdiocese of Portland workers like Matt Cato of the Office of Life Justice and Peace, Greg Baker of Blanchet House and Tom Fullmer of The Grotto.  

Mater Dei broadcasts the Rosary at 6 a.m, 6:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. currently – plus a 2:30 am rosary by EWTN.

The station carries other programming from EWTN, including a chaplet of divine mercy at 2 a.m., Mass from the EWTN chapel at 5 a.m. and repeated at noon, and the call-in show Catholic Answers Live 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m. There are talk shows on prayer, evangelization, living out the faith and music.   

Links to recordings of Mater Dei content are available at the website, materdeiradio.com.