From the catechism to the airwaves: Gloria Purvis evangelizes on the radio
Aug 7, 2019
US & World
At 6:55 a.m. on a Friday morning, Gloria Purvis laughs as she finishes some last-minute preparations for her radio show, “Morning Glory: It's Catholic from Coast to Coast,” on EWTN radio. Her co-host, Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, and priestly counsel Msgr. Charles Pope joke along as they add to their own notes. As the clock turns to 7 a.m., a cheery tune starts to play and they begin the show with a prayer.
The next hour is filled with discussions about everything from national news to how to read Scripture, pop culture and Catholic teaching. Purvis, a Catholic in the Archdiocese of Washington, along with Deacon Burke-Sivers and Msgr. Pope, evangelizes through the airwaves each weekday morning.
“I have not been afraid to talk about what we believe and why,” Purvis said. “On a local level, more people need to know.”
Purvis first met Msgr. Pope -- the longtime pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian Parish in Washington, D.C. -- while working for the pro-life cause in the local Black Catholic community, around 15 years ago. She then met Deacon Burke-Sivers after speaking at a national Black Catholic conference in Indianapolis, and the two connected and have been friends ever since. Both she and Deacon Burke-Sivers -- who lives in Portland, Oregon -- hosted an EWTN television show, “Authentically Free at Last,” where the two, along with Damon Owens, discussed living out the Gospel in today’s society. While “Morning Glory” began in September 2015, Deacon Burke-Sivers joined Purvis this January, and Msgr. Pope joins them every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
“I’m blessed to be able to do the show with these men whom I call friends,” she said.
Previously working in corporate America in mortgage finance risk, Purvis said she “left it to become a wife and mother.”
From there, a ministry began. When she and her husband started working with St. Augustine Parish in Washington, D.C., both in young adult ministry and social justice ministry, Purvis said her opportunities for evangelization “organically started growing.”
“I was invited to speak...and I wasn’t afraid to do it,” she said.
Discussing even the hard topics such as premarital sex, marriage, homosexuality and the death penalty, Purvis said, “We owe them to share the truth and beauty of what we believe.”
“We need to have these conversations because most people aren’t learning their catechism,” she said. “And people have to be willing to do that, to have those conversations. I’ve found that I’m willing to.”
Purvis sees having those difficult conversations as a work of mercy, to admonish the sinner.
“Don’t do it in a way that brings shame, but rather lovingly and honestly,” she said. “And that really begins with a relationship with the person.”
Originally from Charleston, South Carolina, Purvis grew up attending a Catholic school, where, at the age of 12, she experienced a life-changing “mystical experience,” she called it, during Eucharistic Adoration. From there, she told her parents she would convert to Catholicism, and she strived to live out her faith.
Later as an adult in the Archdiocese of Washington, Purvis worked with the Office of Black Catholics and in pro-life outreach to the African American community and also served on the archdiocesan Pastoral Council, as well as with young adult outreach. She and her husband helped guide engaged couples in Pre-Cana classes.
The audience listening to “Morning Glory” tunes in from around the world, including from India, Philippines, Australia and Slovakia, to name a few. The broadcast allows people to listen on local stations, as well as through a podcast and online.
Purvis said she loves the radio platform.
“I think I’m just a straight-no-chaser kind of lady,” she said. “This platform just gives me a natural conversation with these guys. It’s real time interaction.”
Hearing personal stories of others has allowed her to see the goodness of God, “so much” she said.
“It’s been fun to hear from so many listeners, who inspire the things we talk about,” Purvis said. “I am thankful because it allows me to serve the Lord in the way He sees fit.”
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