byFather Robert M. O'Grady
Archbishop Seán P. O’Malley has announced that he has appointed Father Robert P. Reed as Director of the Boston Catholic Television Center effective May 1, 2005. At the same time the archbishop has announced that he has ended the assignment of Msgr. Paul B. McInerny as Director of BCTV and appointed him as a priest pursuing higher studies in Rome as well as secretary to Bernard Cardinal Law.
Father Reed, the fourth archdiocesan priest to be Director of BCTV in the more than 55-year history of the Center, is a proud son of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Swampscott, an alumnus of St. John Preparatory school in Danvers, St. John Seminary College, Brighton, and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome where he completed his seminary studies while a seminarian at the Pontifical North American College at Rome.
Cardinal Bernard Law ordained Father Reed to the priesthood in July 1985 at his home parish. Following ordination Father Reed served as parochial vicar in two very large parishes: Immaculate Conception, Malden (1985 to 1990) and St. Catherine of Siena, Norwood (1990-1994). In 1993 he was named director of the archdiocesan radio apostolate and in April 1994 pastor of St. Matthew parish in Dorchester. He also served at the then newly formed All Saints parish in Haverhill. In November 1999 Cardinal Law named Father Reed as pastor of Holy Ghost parish in Whitman.
Father Reed’s experiences, whether as parochial vicar or pastor, in four very different parishes, each with challenges and needs, each with people to be served, will be a great foundation upon which to build as he begins the unique challenges of his new “parish of the airwaves.”
Regarding his appointment, Father Reed said, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue the great work of Msgr. McInerny and Msgr. McFarland. At this time in the life of the archdiocese, BCTV can be an effective means to carry out Archbishop Seán’s call to ‘rebuild the Church’.”
Boston Catholic Television was inaugurated by then Archbishop Richard Cushing at the urging of Msgr. Walter Flaherty who served as the founding director until his sudden death on July 16, 1976. Father Francis T. McFarland who had been serving as assistant to Msgr. Flaherty succeeded him and following Msgr. Flaherty’s lead he expanded both the amount of programming and the “borders of the parish of the airwaves.” Both priests enjoyed the support and encouragement of successive archbishops of Boston, Cardinals Cushing, Medeiros and Law.
Msgr. McFarland also set “his parish” on a secure financial path encouraging consistent support from viewers and with a highly successful annual “Telethon” which served not only as a source of much need income to support the Center, but also helped to get the message about the TV Center’s work and ministry known to a wider audience.
Msgr. McFarland died suddenly — 25 years and one day after his mentor, Msgr. Flaherty’s death — on July 17, 2001. The stunning news of the death of the beloved “pastor of the airwaves” left a huge void in the hearts of his parishioners.
Msgr. Paul B. McInerny has been serving as Director of BCTV since his appointment to that position on Sept. 1, 2001. Msgr. McInerny, whose tenure ends on May 1, has continued many of the programs of Msgr. McFarland and has added others, meeting the changing needs and answering new questions — a hallmark of this unique parish throughout its dynamic history.
About leaving BCTV, Msgr. McInerny said, “One of the most important ministries of the Church is to address the spiritual needs of the homebound, elderly and sick. For the last four years I have come to appreciate ever more deeply the importance of the Catholic Television ministry. I know that Father Reed shares that vision of its importance and will continue to ensure that it be a source of strength and spiritual consolation for so many.”
In his new assignment Msgr. McInerny will be resuming studies in canon law, this time in Rome. He had already undertaken graduate work in canon law at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, when he returned to the archdiocese to oversee the most recent archdiocesan synod celebrated in 1988. In addition to his graduate studies he will be resuming another responsibility, serving as secretary to Bernard Cardinal Law.