Teresa Lauzon, Fr. Charles Grech and Chris Elliott sit down for a chat on Give Me a Voice. Photo by Marie Gamboa

Radio Maria Canada gives voice to youth in new show

By  Marie Gamboa, Youth Speak News
  • November 10, 2017
Radio Maria Canada has launched a new show for young people that is expected to live up to its name — Give Me a Voice.

The weekly show, which first aired Oct. 10, is tailored to guide high school students and young adults through the faith.

“I want it to be real,” said Chris Elliott, who hosts the show with Teresa Lauzon. “I want this show to have people that are not going to church, or people that question a lot about their faith. I want to reach those people.”

Both Elliott and Lauzon have experience in working with youth at St. Timothy’s Parish in North York. Elliott works as the youth minister while Lauzon is an active volunteer.

“I’m pretty invested in youth specifically because I grew up in Canada without guidance or no real mentorship,” said Lauzon. “Just to be able to see teens through this difficult area and navigate who they are is quite close to my heart.”

In the first half of a Give Me a Voice episode, Elliott and Lauzon discuss a topic with two or three high school students. In the second half, they take calls from the audience. 

The goal is to get students talking and thinking critically about their faith, said Elliott. By regularly testing his own faith and justifying his Catholic beliefs, Elliott is prepared with answers when youth ask him the same questions he often asks himself.

“The message of the show is that it’s OK to ask why,” said Elliott.

To find out what answers youth are seeking, Elliott speaks with students from Brebeuf College School, an all-boys Catholic high school in Toronto. He invites teens onto the show to ask questions and reveal their opinions in the panel discussion. In one episode, he said, a youth talked about how she felt church was boring. 

Topics have included vocations, the impact of media on teens, and youth and the Church. Other issues such as peer pressure and family problems are also addressed. 

To get more people featured in panel discussions, Elliott hopes to reach out to other high schools and parishes.

“The key to the success of the show is getting them involved,” said Elliott. “It’s their show. It’s not just something they’re listening to; it’s something they participate in.”

“God doesn’t need our worship and praise, but He’s calling you to participate,” said Lauzon. “It’s a full relationship. I think those messages aren’t out there as much as they need to be.”

Fr. Charles Grech, Radio Maria’s editorial director and driving force behind Give Me a Voice, said that the radio station must minister to the youth, who are the future of the Church. 

“In today’s world, we are bombarded by social media — that is why we are trying to use it,” said Grech. “Pope Francis, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul II and even Pope Paul VI have been insisting to use the technology that we have at our disposition as a way of preaching.”

“When I hear Give Me a Voice, what resonates with me, is to let them know that God calls them individually by name wherever they are, that there’s purpose and that their internal voice — God is going to use that,” said Lauzon.

“Radio Maria is a station to evangelize,” said Grech. “We are not for money. Just for the benefit and well-being of the soul.”

Youth are invited to join the discussion on the show by e-mailing voice@radiomaria.ca. Visit radiomaria.ca for information on how to listen.

(Gamboa, 17, is a Grade 12 student at Markville Secondary School in Markham, Ont.)

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