MADISON -- One of the casualties of the recent staff cutbacks in the Diocese of Madison was the elimination of the media specialist position in the diocesan Office of Communications.
That position was held by Brian Kelly for over three years. Prior to working for the diocese, Kelly was station manager at Relevant Radio 1240, the Catholic radio station in Madison.
Bishop will miss him
Bishop Robert C Morlino expressed his appreciation for Kelly's work and lamented his departure. "Brian Kelly has been absolutely an invaluable coworker in my mission, as bishop, to preach the Gospel of Christ and to teach the people of the Diocese of Madison," said Bishop Morlino.
"I have no doubt that my ability to communicate with the people will be greatly lessened with Brian's departure and I lament that fact tremendously."
Added the bishop, "Brian's generosity of self knows absolutely no bounds -- he seems always to be present and at work recording, yet somehow is also constantly editing and disseminating media. And at the end of the day, Brian is one of those people whose service to the Church goes far beyond what any one human being sees -- or hears!"
Relevant 2 U
For almost five years, Kelly produced and hosted a weekly magazine-format radio show called Relevant 2 U designed to help "bridge the gap between faith and everyday life in the Diocese of Madison."
The one-hour program, debuting on August 20, 2004, featured homilies and commentary from Bishop Morlino and shed light on Catholic issues and events in the diocese.
The program aired three times on Friday and Saturday each week. This past weekend, Kelly concluded the final, 254th program.
"We've had a great run for the past 254 weeks and certainly could not have done it without your support," Kelly told his listeners.
Kelly himself recorded many of the bishop's homilies and talks, as well as those of other speakers. He had the assistance of a crew of volunteers called the A/V Club, including David Stiennon, Tom Reitz, and Ben Yanke.
Each week featured an interview with Mary C. Uhler, editor of the Catholic Herald, who discussed highlights of articles in the current issue of the diocesan paper. Uhler also teamed with Kelly to do some special hour-long shows during the year.
Work in communications
Since coming to work for the diocese, Kelly has helped upgrade the diocesan Web site and regularly added audio and video recordings to the site.
Brent King, diocesan director of communications, said he, too, will miss Kelly. "Brian has been an amazing person to work with in communications and someone I am happy to call a friend. His work with Relevant 2 U has reached so many people that might not otherwise hear the Good News as proclaimed in the Diocese of Madison.
"But he has done so much more that many people don't know about. He is primarily responsible for capturing the audio, and often video, of nearly every official diocesan function over the past three years. The diocesan Web site has been significantly enhanced over these years because of Brian's expertise.
"In short, our office couldn't have done as many things and gotten to where it is without him and without him, it will necessarily lessen.
"We all owe a great debt of gratitude to Brian for all he has done and he is already greatly missed. Go mbeannaí Dia is Muire duit Brian! (May God and Mary Bless You Brian! – In Gaelic)," said King.
Mentor to others
Kelly has also mentored others in the Catholic media field. Chris Reitz, a member of the Catholic rock group Oremus in Madison, has known Kelly for many years.
"As his 'student,' his friend, and now, his colleague, I can tell you that he loved his work and understood how important it was, as one Relevant Radio slogan says, to 'answer Pope John Paul II's call to a New Evangelization,'" said Reitz.
"Without Brian's help, Relevant Radio would not have been able to serve the diocese nearly as well as it has," he said. "On a personal note, Brian is also one of the main reasons why I am working in Catholic radio. I wouldn't have thought to pursue a career in radio (let alone Catholic radio), except that Brian invited me and my brother (Tom) to intern at Relevant Radio 1240 in the summer of 2004. Thanks to Brian, the 'radio bug' bit, and I've been working in Catholic radio ever since," said Reitz.
"Thanks so much, Brian, for introducing me to Catholic radio, and for your dedication to the mission of the Church and of Relevant Radio. Your service to Relevant Radio and the diocese has been an inspiration to me."
Nan Delaney of Madison has been a regular listener of Relevant 2 U. She commented, "I'm always thrilled to hear him on the radio and I will miss his show," she said.
"Brian really lives his faith. He practices the BLT that Bishop Morlino called for when he came to Madison: Badger them lovingly with the truth," said Delaney.
Friends of Brian Kelly have launched a new Web site, www.BrianKellyFans.com, and are inviting people to sign a letter of thanks, appreciation, and support for Brian Kelly and promise him their prayers as he looks for alternate employment in the Madison area.
"Please spread this invitation as widely as possible to all individuals and organizations who have benefited from Brian's very generous ministry here in Madison," said a message to area Catholics.
Kelly said he is hoping to continue to work in the Church. "I'm open to wherever God leads me to utilize my talents for the Church. It has been a double blessing to work in Catholic media. It's more of a 'soul-friendly' fit," he said.
Kelly may be reached at
or at 608-206-5607.