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Canada Jul 24, 2017

Radio Maria Canada gets new director

By Agnieszka Krawczynski

Father Charles Michael Grech (right) takes the helm of Radio Maria Canada as former director Father Augusto Menichelli moves on. (Photo courtesy Radio Maria Canada)

VANCOUVER—Radio Maria Canada has welcomed a Franciscan friar as its new director.

“Spreading hope and the Gospel is more important than ever,” said Father Charles Michael Grech, who took the reins of the national online station July 1.

“I am thrilled to work with the volunteers and staff who earnestly put all their energy to ensure the station runs smoothly and provides our listeners with a needed ministry.”

Radio Maria Canada is the Toronto-based branch of World Family Radio Maria, an international Catholic broadcasting network originally launched in Italy in 1987.

Religion teacher and Italian immigrant Luigi Pautausso brought Radio Maria to Canada in 1995. At first, the new station aired mostly Italian content, plus 20-minute catechism lessons by Pautausso himself.

He died in 2013 and Father Augusto Menichelli, a Toronto pastor with a master’s degree in theology and communication, took over as director in 2014. Father Menichelli led the Canadian station through its 20th anniversary, the construction of a new studio, the launch of English programming, the creation of a new app, and a website revamp.

Father Grech, a Franciscan friar of St. Paul the Apostle Province, Malta, succeeded him as director July 1. He has taught in Catholic schools, provided spiritual care for the elderly, and served people with terminal illness.

“Being asked to take over as new director of Radio Maria Canada was a big surprise to me, one that I gratefully and humbly accept,” the Franciscan friar said in his first radio message.

He said he looks forward to “building on” the efforts of Pautausso and Father Menichelli. Radio Maria Canada now averages about 1,000 listeners a month. It is not available on AM/FM frequencies, but can be heard online at www.radiomaria.ca.