Groundhog and all its accompanying festivities were a prominent part of the past few weeks, and among the menagerie of events was the coming of JD Flynn, Ed Condon and Michelle La Rosa to host their podcast, “The Pillar,” on the University of Dallas campus.
“The Pillar” is a “Catholic media project focused on smart, faithful, and serious journalism, from committed and informed Catholics who love the Church” according to their website. The subjects they cover range from more mainstream and popular issues to more particular matters within the Church.
Flynn and Condon, the co-founders of “The Pillar,” held their first event for the week, a live show with audience members in the Rathskeller on campus, on the Friday before the Groundhog Party in the Park. Before launching into the items they prepared for discussion, the pair ran into audio issues. The solution placed them behind the bar of the Rat, which remained active throughout the show, resulting in multiple humorous comments during their live broadcast on the customers coming up to order drinks in the middle of their discussion.
Among the issues discussed by the Catholic journalism podcast were Pope Francis’ recent visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo, the German bishops’ actions in the current Synod on Synodality, and the history of Groundhog from La Rosa, a UD grad. Throughout, audience members would give friendly heckles and jump in with jokes from time to time. The trio indicated great respect and love for the University of Dallas and its Catholic identity, pointing out its uniqueness among other American universities.
The second event for the podcast was an interview in the Gorman faculty lounge with Dr. Jonathan Sanford, president of UD. The podcast covered a range of issues, focusing on Sanford’s thoughts and experiences around Catholic university education and particularly UD.
Sanford said, “I’ve known JD for a long time, he was a student of mine my first year of teaching at Franciscan.” The conversation was constructive and enlightening according to Sanford, who said, “They asked me questions that were perceptive because they recognize the tensions between the university and the wider culture, they know that we’re unusual as a university.”
Sanford complimented their journalistic prowess. “I really admire the way in which they’ve boldly stepped into a journalistic space that is often fraught with a lot of tension and control,” he said. “They’re independent operators, and they have quite a following that they’ve established just over the last several years.”
The fun and lively events from the Pillar were a flavorful addition to the Groundhog celebrations, and the university wishes them all the best.