Program #0521 for Friday, May 3, 2013: Farewell to Rick Heil

May 3, 2013

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Farewell to Rick Heil

Farewell to Rick Heil

Summary of today’s show: After 520 shows, The Good Catholic Life’s producer Rick Heil is moving on to new opportunities in life. Scot Landry and Fr. Mark O’Connell are joined by Fr. Chip Hines and Rick’s mom, Maureen Heil, from the Pontifical Mission Societies, to talk about Rick’s work in helping create the show fresh out of college, his remarkable technical background — he’s built not one, but three radio studios —what he’s learned about his faith through the show, how he’s changed because of it, and then they reminisce about some of their favorite memories over the past two-plus years of The Good Catholic Life.

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Today’s host(s): Scot Landry, Fr. Chip Hines and Fr. Mark O’Connell

Today’s guest(s): Maureen Heil

Links from today’s show:

Today’s topics: Farewell to Rick Heil

1st segment: Scot Landry welcomed everyone to the show. He said today was a big day at St. John’s Seminary where the director of spiritual development, Fr. Michael Barber, S.J., has been named by Pope Francis to become bishop of Oakland, California. Fr. Mark O’Connell noted that it is unusual for a man to go from priest to bishop of a large diocese, without being an auxiliary bishop somewhere first. Fr. Chip Hines said it was so unexpected and he thinks we’re in for more surprising appointments. Scot said Fr. Barber’s mother was born in Oakland and his father was born in San Francisco. He entered the Society of Jesus and has held a variety of assignments, including chaplain in the Naval Reserve and since 2010 has served at St. John’s Seminary. He will ordained to the episcopacy on May 25, which is very quick. Fr. Chip noted that it leaves a hole at St. John’s for a very important job.

Today is also momentous because our producer Rick Heil will be leaving us to become a full-time Genius at the local Apple Store. Scot noted that Rick has worked there part-time and they have pursued him for full-time for some time. Scot thanked him for helping to get Catholic radio in Boston off the ground and especially The Good Catholic Life. Rick talked about how difficult it is to leave a job you love.

Scot said Rick was given free rein to shape today’s show and he asked his mom, Maureen Heil, to be on the show. Maureen talked about Rick’s radio equipment that fills her basement, more than some radio stations. She said he started as a young musical prodigy, reading music before he could read words. Rick’s dad is an engineer and so he’s always had an interest in building things and taking things apart. Maureen talked about how reading was important in their house and they would read a saint of the day every morning at breakfast. She remembered when Rick was in second grade at a class Mass at school. The priest said he was sure none of the kids would know who the day’s saint was, and Rick’s hand shot up and told him St. Scholastica. Maureen said Rick has always been a quick learner and absorbed things so well.

Fr. Mark said Rick was always quick to share his talents. He said Rick helped with a tape that he wanted to play at his own father’s funeral. Scot said he’ll remember the homily Fr. Mark gave because he was able to play that audio of his father at the funeral Mass. Maureen said he isn’t always looking for the credit, but works behind the scenes.

Scot talked about the kickoff Mass for Catholic radio in Boston on All Saints Day in 2010, where they did a half hour interview with Cardinal Seán and some radio folks. There Cardinal Seán told Scot that we needed some local programming as well. In talking with WQOM’s Jim Wright it became clear that he would do it if Scot was the host. Scot was worried about whether he would have time to do it. At the time, Rick, who had interned with us, came back and said he’s looking for a job and he gives him a resume that right in the middle says that Rick had built a radio studio in college. It became clear in conversation that Rick really knew what he was talking about. That led directly to The Good Catholic Life getting off the ground. Scot said Rick built the entire studio and while Scot doesn’t know the technical intricacies, Rick has been able to keep the show on the air every day.

Rick talked about going to college and how in his senior year in high school was wondering what he wanted to do for life. He decided on music production and went to State University of New York at Oneonta. About three weeks into his freshman year, he walked into one of the buildings and heard music playing. He found the college radio station WONY. He volunteered there for his four years and has maintained ties to the station. It taught him how to be a self-starter. There were no academic credits, no one pushing him. That self-motivation helped him when he came to The Good Catholic Life. Maureen pointed out that Rick built a radio station and a cable TV station in his high school as an Eagle Scout project when he was in school there.

Scot asked Rick’s highlights from his 521 shows of TGCL. Rick said some shows are memorable because he couldn’t stop laughing, like this past Tuesday where Fr. Chris O’Connor and Fr. Wayne Belschner talking about burning the rectory kitchen. The show about My Brother’s Keeper is one of his favorites in a different way. He loved the Friday shows where we profiled so many priests and he got to know so much about the Boston area. Some of the best shows, though, are those that came together at the last minute.

Scot noted that Rick is both producer and engineer. Rick said the sheer volume of email he gets might surprise listeners. He gets about 150 emails per day. He’s also never read this many books, even in college. These books come in from publishers and publicists for potential interviews on air. Some authors are well-known and you know they would be great, but for new authors you want to read them and see if the listeners would grow in their faith by this story they have to tell. Scot said within Catholic radio we have a unique show because we go 56 minutes on one topic or one guest. He said some authors after the interview say that this is the most thorough interview they’ve had about their book. The word has gotten out and we get so many books and we ca n’t just do interviews with authors. About one in 5 books pass muster.

Rick said there are many times that he’s listening to the show for technical matters and can’t listen for content, so having done the research for the topic and guest ahead of time has helped him. He said radio is about people and meeting the guests has been a lot of fun.

Scot said he always knew Rick was smart technically, but it quickly became clear that Rick knew the faith and knew a lot about he Pontifical Mission SOcieties, because of Maureen’s work in the mission societies. Maureen said she’s raised her children to live their faith in a public way and missionaries are the finest example of that. She said it’s been a pleasure to see them take that on. They’ve all gone on mission trips. They’ve seen all kinds of missionaries came through their lives. They’ve seen Maureen have to stand up for the faith in the face of challenge.

Maureen talked about the topics that haven’t been covered on The Good Catholic Life yet about the missions. She said people might want to hear how people are living the faith around the world. The Catholic Church is alive and flourishing in the world, where the rubber meets the road, and she wants to bring that Good News to all of us. She said a person will listen to a witness before they listen to a teacher and if they listen to the teacher it’s because they are witnesses.

Fr. Chip talked about the loss of Rick not just for what he does, but because he’s also a good guy. You can hire people to do technical stuff, but Rick is good with people and that’s a good skill to have in life. He wishes Rick luck, but wishes he was staying. He said Rick has always been reaching to Fr. Chip to be involved. He said his favorite show was with Lino Rulli, The Catholic Guy, and he was very happy to be part of it.

Scot asked Rick about his new job. Rick said his new job is repairing devices, but also repairing how you feel about your devices. When something that’s an important communication tool in their lives, it can be very unsettling and disappointing. Maureen said it’s about repairing relationships. It’s not about technology.

Scot said Rick started working at Apple part-time a few years ago. What does he love about working there? Rick thought he had been applying as a part-time technician job on weekends. It turns out he was applying for a part-time retail job on weekdays. As he’s been there, he’s grown to know the team there. It’s a unique place to be where people challenge either to improve. You’re working with people who have been hired because they’re very smart. It’s easy to be the geek in the room, but it’s challenging to work with people who know this stuff more than he does. Every customer is a different challenge and he loves troubleshooting challenges.

Scot said every day of the show has a different feel to it. He thinks our Friday show is the lightest, partly because of Fr. Mark’s personality and also partly because it seemed to be the most available for priests to come in. Fr. Mark said he remembers the show where he was paying too much attention to Rick trying to troubleshoot a problem instead of paying attention to Scot. They lost their guest who was on Skype and while Scot continued to talk, he asked Fr. Mark a question and Fr. Mark admitted that he wasn’t paying attention to him.

Fr. Mark said priests now realize how much respect they receive on the show and those have been his favorites in letting people know them in a different way.

Maureen said she will miss for Rick having be able to be in the room listening to the show. As his mom, she’s loved that he can hear all the guests and the great conversations. It’s been a blessing to see how it’s affected him.

Scot said he’s surprised by how people have said to him that they listen to the show. He thinks regular listeners feel a sense of community with those of us on the show and they may be feeling a loss that Rick is leaving. Scot said he never expected Rick to be here forever just because there isn’t a career path here up the ladder, but that Rick is moving on to something new and bigger.

Rick said today feels like the first time he stepped onto Bus 12 on his way to kindergarten. It’s a very big step and he’s not used to it. He said it’s going to be weird not be on air and make a million phone calls a day and read all those books. But Apple is a new opportunity and exciting.

Scot mentioned that listeners may not realize that when they see Catholic Faith Essentials, or a Mass from Bethany Chapel in the Pastoral Center, that Rick is the guy who set up the video production. Rick said early on in the life of the show, he and Dom Bettinelli would brainstorm new opportunities to do things for the show. Dom came up with the idea to video stream the show and Rick took his previous experience and put it all together with video equipment. He said it’s been a real pleasure to have the opportunity to build a radio studio in six weeks and build a TV studio.

Fr. Chip said Rick makes the show look and sound good. He’s now wondering who’s going to be giving his messages to Scot during the show with Rick gone.

2nd segment: Now as we do every week at this time, we will consider the Mass readings for this Sunday, specifically the Gospel reading.

  • Gospel Reading for Sunday, May 5, 2013, Sixth Sunday of Easter (John 14: 23-29)

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words;
yet the word you hear is not mine
but that of the Father who sent me.

“I have told you this while I am with you.
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I told you.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me tell you,
‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;
for the Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe.”

Scot said the disciples didn’t understand so much of this when Jesus was saying this to them. Fr. Chip asked how many times in our lives have we relied on the Holy Spirit to help us in a particular moment to give us courage and the right words. He said on Pentecost you can see a change in the Apostles from bumbling around to being very focused and knowing what they need to do, which shows how much the holy Spirit helps us.

Maureen said it’s clear we need to sit back and listen to what is from the Holy Spirit instead of our internal doubts and questions. We need to let him lead us. We’re taught to pray, but we’re not often taught to listen. Scot said the best prayer sessions are when he asks the Holy Spirit to make him silent.

Fr. Mark said Jesus talks of a two-way relationship, where the apostles love him in return and that will bring them peace. Rick said this part of John’s Gospel makes him smile because it proves how clueless the apostles were sometimes, like us. Jesus is telling them here that they should rejoice that he’s going to the Father and even if they don’t get the Holy Spirit will help them get it.

Fr. Chip said celebrating a funeral Mass, he tries to explain that it’s a celebration. Yes, we’re sad, but we will see that person again hopefully. We will live our lives to try to get there. If it’s a young person or a sudden death, it can be hard and so you have to wait a while to say that. Maureen said when she goes to schools to talk about the missions, she teaches them a song that says that if you have Christ in your heart you live eternally. She talks to them how we can live here on earth so we can later live with him in eternity.

Scot emphasized that many first communicants will be at Mass this weekend and so we should watch them as they receive reverently and give them good witness in how we receive.

Scot said for the next five weeks or so, we will be airing the Best of our 521 episodes. These are very carefully chosen shows as the best examples.

Rick said in the beginning he knew that 500 shows would be a big milestone. He said one thing he’s learned is how to be open about faith. In college, faith is often strangled out. But this job has taught him how to live faith through all the guests and hosts and the topics. He’s learned a lot and wouldn’t change a thing.

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