From TV producer to priest?

That’s even more improbable than making the leap from TV producer to deacon.

The Milwaukee Catholic Herald has the scoop:

A producer, one might say, is not unlike a parish priest organizing a liturgy for a special occasion.

Before enrolling at Sacred Heart School of Theology, Hales Corners, Tony Budnick spent more than a decade as a television producer – which he recently defined as “someone responsible for coordination and execution” and ever attentive to detail, someone who must “have a vision of what the product’s going to look like ‘on the air.’”

While quick to emphasize the liturgy’s sacred nature – something absent from the typical TV production – Budnick noted that Mass celebrated in a parish church, like a production based in a studio, includes a number of “elements.” As does a producer, a presider works with many others: lectors, musicians, ushers, acolytes. On occasions like the Easter Vigil, the presider, again in common with the producer, will be particularly concerned with such features as lighting.

Budnick, 40, talked to your Catholic Herald by telephone during Christmas week from his home in Knoxville, Tenn. The third-year seminarian, studying to be a priest for the Diocese of Knoxville – where Catholics represent only about 3 percent of the population – spoke of his youth, his broadcasting background and his transition from practicing producer to aspiring clergyman. If all goes according to plan, Budnick will complete his studies at the Hales Corners seminary and be ordained to the priesthood in 2014…

…He was a DJ, reporter and anchor prior to becoming a producer, after concluding that his primary “strength was in budgeting, organization, preplanning.” Budnick worked for NPR and PBS stations, as well as NBC and CBS television affiliates. He moved from Michigan to Knoxville in 1997.

His friend, Rick Russo, sports director at CBS-TV affiliate WVLT, repeatedly invited Budnick to visit his church, St. Albert the Great. In 2002, Budnick accepted Russo’s invitation – and was delighted to find “an all-are-welcome mentality” in which pastor Fr. Chris Michelson preached about listening to God’s call. Budnick became a lector and joined in peace and justice activities at St. Albert.

Parish involvement eventually led him – after he’d read the book “The Collar,” set at the Hales Corners seminary – to Sacred Heart.

Read the rest.

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