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Al Kresta, Longtime Catholic Radio Host, Dies at 72…

Al Kresta, Longtime Catholic Radio Host, Dies at 72…

EWTN President and Chief Operating Officer Doug Keck on Saturday said that Kresta’s passing was “a titanic loss not only for EWTN and Ave Maria Catholic Radio but for the entire Church.” 

“As his show intro said, he always had the Bible in one hand and a copy of the New York Times in another,” Keck said. 

“He was fearless in his willingness to take on tough issues both inside and outside the Church!” he continued. “But always with a wisdom-driven, balanced approach designed to meet the listeners where they are but never leave them there.” 

“He was an inspiring figure who overcame incredible physical roadblocks to serve his God, his family, and his Church.”

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Teresa Tomeo, the host of the radio show “Catholic Connection,” said she would “always remember meeting [Al] long before I started in Catholic radio.”  

“I was so impressed with his knowledge of Scripture and the faith as well as his early and courageous pro-life work,” she told CNA. “We lost a warrior on so many fronts. These are tough times but we continue the work in his honor and memory.”

Scott Hahn, meanwhile — a renowned biblical scholar, author, convert, and founder of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology — called Kresta “one of the most deeply thoughtful and thoroughly converted men I’ve had the privilege of knowing — and calling a good friend.” 

“He will be greatly missed by many,” Hahn said. “Requiescat in pace.”

Matthew Bunson, vice president and editorial director of EWTN News, told CNA on Saturday: “Aside from his goodness, his greatness as a father, husband, and friend, his passing will be a massive loss to the Catholic cause.” 

“He was one of the keenest observers in the Church of contemporary culture and the ecclesiastical landscape,” Bunson said. “We are intellectually poorer for his passing but even more we have lost a truly prayerful, gentle, and faithful disciple of Christ.”  

Rob Corzine, the vice president of academic programs at the St. Paul Center, told CNA that he first became acquainted with Kresta through the radio host’s “bridge group.”

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“It was a room filled with about equal numbers of Protestants and Catholics who wanted to hear him explain basic Catholic doctrines once a week throughout Lent,” Corzine said.

“Al had the gift of hearing your real question, however poorly you put it or even understood it yourself, and answering that.”

At the time of meeting Kresta, Corzine was “an evangelical who had been reading my way toward the Church for the last few years.” Shortly after, Corzine was coming into full communion with the Church; in several more months Kresta was showing him the ropes of Catholic radio.

“Al is one of the many people to whom I owe an incalculable debt of gratitude,” Corzine said. “And I am only one of the thousands of whom that is true.”

Helped launch Ave Maria Communications 

In 1997, Tom Monaghan — the founder of Domino’s Pizza and also Ave Maria University in Florida — called Kresta and asked if he wanted to move to Ann Arbor to help create Ave Maria Communications. Monaghan “funded the media enterprise for years,” Kresta said in a 2013 Catholic World Report (CWR) interview. Ave Maria later became a major affiliate of EWTN (which also owns Catholic News Agency).

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