Guided by Grace: My debut as TV co-host

November 15, 2012 | Uncategorized

If you have power tonight, you can catch my cable TV debut on “Guided by Grace,” a new 30-minute show from Telecare featuring yours truly as one of four co-hosts.

Tonight’s show, which focuses on role models, will air at 8:30 p.m EST on Cablevision Channel 29 (Nassau/Suffolk) and Channel 137 (other areas) or on FiOS Channel 296. If you are outside the New York-New Jersey region, you can watch the show via livestreaming on

Each week the show will air at multiple times: Mondays at 8:30 p.m.; Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.; Thursdays at 8:30 p.m.; and Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.

I wrote about the strange but exciting experience of moving out from behind my faceless byline and in front of the television cameras in my newest Life Lines column. Normally I don’t post that until after it appears in print, but it seemed to make sense to get it out there now. So here you go…

Me with my new friends and fabulous co-hosts

It turns out you can teach an old dog new tricks, or at least you can try, and I’m living proof. After almost 30 years of being a faceless byline in newspapers, books, and magazines, I am going in front of the cameras. Not my favorite thing in the world. Just ask Dennis, who is forever trying to get me to appear in family videos and to stop deleting all the digital photos of myself.

I’m throwing off my fears and doubts, and, trust me, there were many, and joining an awesome group of women as a co-host of “Guided by Grace,” a new cable show aimed at Catholic women, on Telecare, which is based in the Rockville Centre Diocese but airs throughout the tri-state area and beyond.

We recently taped our first three shows, an experience that left me almost paralyzed with worry at first but slowly unfolded into a warm, witty, and wonderful exchange, thanks to the top-notch team at Telecare and the three women I am blessed now to call my friends and colleagues.

None of us knew each other when we were first hand-picked by Telecare and thrown together for a mock show. But within hours, we clicked. When I came home from a daylong visit that included a mini “retreat” and a tech rehearsal, my daughter Olivia asked, “What was the best part?” I think she figured I’d say being in the spotlight was fun, or sitting in make-up while someone fussed over me, or having a set and coffee mugs designed just for us. But without hesitation, I answered, “My co-hosts.”

I look at the unexpected nature of this opportunity, how it landed in my lap without warning, and I know it was the Spirit at work and that the greatest gift of this show will be the new relationship that is forming among the women who share the stage with me.  We are from different backgrounds, of different ages, and different interests, but our common bond of faith creates a powerful dynamic that is evident both on and off the set. Plus they’re all really funny and fun to be around.

There’s Sister Meghan McArdle, an Ursuline Sister of Tildonk who teaches theology at Our Lady of Mercy Academy in Syosset; Allison O’Brien, director of the Respect Life Office for the Rockville Centre Diocese; Carly-Anne Gannon, former campus minister at Stony Brook University and current doctoral student at Fordham University; and yours truly, the “foreigner,” coming, as I do, from the Albany Diocese. Once you get us talking, there’s really no stopping us. Unless you’re our producer, Jessica Peters, standing off camera with a big sign that says, “WRAP.”

I’m hoping the blessings I experience on the set of Guided by Grace will translate to the TV sets and computers in your homes. I so want to share what I’ve discovered with you, and hear back from you about issues and concerns that are central to your life. So far we’re tackling the subjects of role models, faithful citizenship, and the Year of Faith, but there’s so much more to come in the weeks and months ahead.

As I was driving home from our first full day of taping, taking in the beautiful scenery as I made my way from Long Island to upstate New York on a clear autumn afternoon, it occurred to me that life really is a series of surprises, some good, some bad, some scary, and some just totally out of left field.  Our job is to face them all, guided by grace.


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