Catholics@Home celebrates first anniversary

A year ago this month, the Director of the Catholic Research Centre, Fr Dr Clarence Devadass and his team - Kevin Francis aka Kacang Kevin and Mark Da

Apr 17, 2021

By Gwen  Manickam
A year ago this month, the Director of the Catholic Research Centre, Fr Dr Clarence Devadass and his team - Kevin Francis aka Kacang Kevin and Mark Darren Lee - started a podcast dubbed Catholics@Home (CAH).

A first of its kind in Malaysia, the show, hosted by Kevin and Mark, aimed at helping the laity understand, prepare and tackle being an online Catholic amidst the first wave of the COVID-19 global pandemic and the government imposed Movement Control Order (MCO).

The podcast kicked off on April 1, 2020, just two weeks after the MCO began on March 18. Initially, the show did not even have a name – the trio played around with titles like Two guys and a Priest, Quarantine Catholics, and eventually settled on Catholics@ Home.

Fr Clarence explained, “We started with not knowing what direction to take but we knew we had to do something. The analogy that comes to mind is that we jumped into the deep end of the pool and then we learned how to swim.

“As we look back, we can only say that all glory and praise belong to God. Without Him, we would not have come this far or be where we are today. We hope to keep this going for as long as possible with many more interesting and inspiring conversations.”

Last Saturday (Apr 10), the podcast aired its 54th segment, also known as the First Anniversary Special. Fr Clarence, Mark, and Kevin reminisced on how far the show, which initially was meant to run for a few weeks, had come. The show grew by engaging guest speakers such as Archbishops, priests, Church leaders, politicians, sports personalities, and people on the street.

Some of the popular topics were I’ll be home for Holy Week featuring Fr Patrick Massang and Fr Clarence, Catholic Moral Teaching and COVID-19 Vaccines featuring Fr Clarence Devadass and Fr James McTavish, Managing a pandemic by Archbishop Julian Leow, All Access with Datin Paduka Sr Enda Ryan, Developing a Closer Relationship with Sacred Scripture featuring Bishop Richard Ng and  Fr Andy Lee, All Access with Francissca Peter and Saints “R” Us by Fr Michael Chua’, to name a few.

From the podcast sprouted a weekly youth prayer and music session called Jamming for Jesus, followed by a Facebook marketplace dubbed Willing Hearts aimed at helping people, especially small businesses, get back on their feet.

During the anniversary show, Fr Clarence said that in addition to being exposed to so many different topics and learning new stuff, it also inspired him to start an audio podcast and write more articles during the MCO. Kevin’s standout segment was Forever in Our Hearts: A LIVE Tribute to His Eminence Anthony Soter Cardinal Fernandez last October. He said it was fulfilling and it gave him a sense of purpose as to why they were doing the show.

On the other hand, Mark, the main technical guy on the podcast, was happy to work with Fr Clarence once again and to give back through his God-given talents in the field of communications. He said his most challenging segment was arranging their first virtual choir to sing Betapa Hati Ku which comprised devotees from around the country and the deaf community.

Hot on the heels of that show, which earned over 11,000 views, CAH organised a Christmas special dubbed Malaysia’s Largest Ever Catholic Virtual Choir. Featuring 500 Malaysians who submitted audio auditions in several languages, the choir sang festive tunes including a medley of carols like Angels We Have Heard on High, Hark The Herald Angels Sing and O Come All Ye Faithful in six different languages, including the Malaysian sign language.

The show’s guest co-host Mag  (Mary Anne Gomes) said she was happy to have this avenue to share her talents and give back.

Christopher “Ah Chai” Teoh, CAH music coordinator and his team of seven members are responsible for lining up musicians to come on board for the Jamming for Jesus segment and fine-tuning the videos before they hit the airwaves. Teoh said the multi-talented team is thrilled with this opportunity to help people praise and worship the Lord, especially when they couldn’t physically go to church.

Fr Clarence thanked the team for keeping the show afloat through all its challenges, and together with the team, thanked viewers for their continued support.

Before rounding up the special, Mag asked Fr Clarence what, if he could rename the show now?

He quipped he would call it: Catholics Still at Home.

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