Deacon Pat Rodgers, longtime archdiocese communications director, dies at 67

News4 SanAntonio
November 21, 2016

SAN ANTONIO - Deacon Pat Rodgers, longtime communications director of the archdiocese, has passed away on Monday.

He was 67.

Rodgers, who served nearly two decades in the archdiocesan Department of Communications before he retired in June, 2015, had suffered a heart attack on Nov. 18 before passing away at Nix Medical Center.

He went into broadcasting as a teenager in Meadville, Penn. before taking jobs in Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Georgia, as well as starting a Catholic TV ministry in Alaska in the early 1970s.

While working in Atlanta, Rodgers interviewed and took a job as program director for WOAI Radio in San Antonio.

“The radio station was legendary,” he recalled, “so I came down here in ’79 to be the program director and work on the morning show at WOAI.” He also became operations manager there and, with the exception of a couple of years with WTMJ in Milwaukee, he had been a San Antonian.

Previously active in church ministry, Rodgers entered the diaconate program in San Antonio in the mid-’90s and in 1997 went to work for Catholic Television of San Antonio (CTSA-15) as executive director, briefly drawn away to a new job opportunity at KTSA Radio, another local broadcasting giant.

Ordained a deacon in 1999, he felt a calling to immerse himself in full-time work for the church and accepted a position working for the archdiocese on the Archbishop’s Appeal in the development office. Here, his primary focus was on grants.

A foreshadowing of his future job as director of communication came when then Archbishop Patrick F. Flores was held hostage for over nine hours in his office by a distraught man. Because of Rodger’s broadcast experience, he found himself pressed into service talking with television and radio stations from around the country as the story unfolded.

He was still in the Development Office in 2002 when the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) developed the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which required that each diocese have a person designated to work with the media in the area of sexual abuse. This, he explained, “was in the spirit of transparency in order that the community also be educated and protected.” Knowing of his 37 years in broadcasting, Msgr. Lawrence Stuebben, then vicar general, asked Rodgers if he would take on this new role, which expanded into being spokesperson for the archdiocese in other areas as well.

Archbishop José H. Gomez established a Department of Communication which included CTSA, Today’s Catholic newspaper and the Internet and appointed Rodgers to head it.

“My goal at that time,” he explained, “was to make sure that the church was a reliable source of information about all that we were responsible for as a church. I wanted the media to feel that they could contact me 24/7, that I would help them do their job, help them by providing them with either information or people who had the information, who could speak responsibly and fully for whatever their story was that they were working on.”

Among the memorable events he handled was the night Archbishop Emeritus Flores went missing from Padua Place, the residence for priests in declining health. Rodgers rushed there as soon as he got the message that the archbishop emeritus had driven off in his car, destination unknown, and not been heard from since. He coordinated mobilization of the media to get out the word to help find him, and by 1 a.m. the parking lot was filled with media trucks.

Finally, around 4 or 5 a.m., they were able to announce he was safe.

In retirement Deacon Rodgers was able to spend more time with his children and grandchildren. He was married for more than four-and-a-half decades to wife Kristine and they raised five daughters: Noelle Owens, Jennifer Tiller, Amy McKosky, Angela Frisina and Toni Michelle Frisina (who passed away in 2011); and were the grandparents to several grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are pending at this time.


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