Dr. Ray dispenses advice and laughs

Dr. Ray Guarendi hits the road several times a year to record episodes of his EWTN television series. (Advance photo)

By Christopher M. Riggs
Catholic clinical psychologist, radio host, and EWTN television host Dr. Ray Guarendi was in Wichita a couple of weeks ago to tape four of his television shows. He also hosted his daily radio show while in the Air Capital.
How does he do it?

“I learned the secret to doing that and a lot of things like that,” he said. “You can’t worry about them being very good.”

Oh, I forgot to mention he’s probably the funniest and most entertaining Catholic radio and television host in the country.

The father of 10 taped four episodes of Living Right With Dr. Ray – two Wednesday evening Nov. 15, and two the next night – at PBS Kansas’ studio in Wichita; and he hosted “The Doctor Is In,” his daily Catholic radio show, during which he gives sage and spiritual advice garnered from decades of experience.

Guarendi said taping away from his North Canton, Ohio, studio generates interest in both shows. “People are excited that the TV show is coming in from EWTN because they’re familiar with EWTN, so they turn out enthusiastically.”

Guarendi’s background prepared him for both radio and television.

Public speaking at first

“I walked out of graduate school and straight into a mental health center,” he said. “For 15 years I worked in two mental health centers and a multiple of agencies that I consulted to. And inch by inch, I started doing more public speaking, because the opportunities became available, and I found out that it was something I really enjoyed. From public speaking came books, from books came interviews, from interviews came the possibility to have my own type of show.”

After appearing on secular media such as Oprah, CBS This Morning, Joan Rivers, and other shows, Guarendi said he realized he wasn’t making headway. I talked to my friend and producer, Dick Russ, and we tried to approach secular media but nothing ever got off the ground,” he said. “The skill that I gained, the experience I gained in secular media, I think God was shaping me up to do something like this which is really a dream come true.”

Approached EWTN

He and Russ then approached EWTN with the idea of a segmented show that had gained popularity on secular television. They proposed “a show that people who would not normally watch EWTN would stumble upon or tune into because of a referral and find out that it’s something that they could listen to. And hopefully, that would draw them further into looking at the Catholic faith.”

How to keep your children in the faith

What can parents do in a culture that has become anti-Christian? How can they keep their children in the faith?

“They must realize that the more seriously they take their faith for themselves and their children, they will be countercultural…they will not be understood…they will be critiqued and analyzed,” he said. “They can’t be wobbly in their parenting. They can’t fear that their children are going to rebel and become resentful because parents are not following the cultural flow. So I tell parents, be prepared to be strong. That’s how you have to be if one day your children leave the faith – you want it to be because they had to go through you not because you stepped aside.”

At the end of the interview, Dr. Ray Guarendi offered one piece of advice for parents:

“The number one saboteur of your parenting is a smartphone.”

For more about his radio show, blogs, and books, visit drray.com.

Among the guests Guarendi interviewed during the Wichita tapings were Fr. Drew Hoffman, the chaplain at the St. Paul University Parish at Wichita State University, and Fr. Derek Thome, the chaplain at the St. Pius X Catholic Student Center, at Pittsburg State University. Ray Kapaun, the nephew of Fr. Emil Kapaun, was also a guest at one taping.

The taped shows will be broadcast on EWTN in April or May.