Meet the Chaplain: Monsignor Jim Vlaun – 2018 National Chaplain Of The Year
Like many legates, Monsignor James C. Vlaun, 57, is himself the president and CEO of a company.
Monsignor Vlaun heads the Catholic Faith Network, a television and media company owned and operated by the Diocese of Rockville Centre on Long Island, New York. He hosts several shows on the network, including “Religion and Rock,” a nationally syndicated radio show.
A Long Island native who has been ordained for 30 years, Monsignor Vlaun has also been the chaplain of Legatus’ Long Island Chapter for nearly 13 years and was recently named the 2018 Legatus Chaplain of the Year. He graciously spoke with Legatus magazine.
How did you get started at the Catholic Faith Network?
When I was newly-ordained, I was asked by my predecessor to take over a radio show that he was doing, called “Religion and Rock.” It was a show on a local rock and roll station that played rock and roll music around a particular theme, such as forgiveness. I would do the speaking in between the songs played during the hour-long show. And I’m still doing that radio show to this very day. It’s on the Catholic Channel on SiriusXM, so everybody can hear it.
What do you find rewarding about Catholic media?
Media is constantly changing, so you have to continually adapt and renew yourself in this ministry, which is something I find very exciting, particularly in television, because how people view television has changed dramatically in the last 10 years or so. Now, it’s about on-demand, it’s about online presence, which is so important. Thanks be to God we have that and we’re able to be present and broadcast on other services such as Amazon Prime and Apple TV.
What was the most difficult thing about discerning your vocation?
One of the things I considered was that as I was getting older and maturing ever so slightly, I would probably have to give up all the things I like to become a priest. I love all kinds of music. I love media. I love television. I thought I would have to give all that up, but I felt a strong urge to say ‘yes’ to this call. The Lord must have been laughing in Heaven and saying, “No, you don’t have to give up any of this up. As a matter of fact, I’m going to use every single thing you have to build the kingdom of God.”
Does your background in running a Catholic media network help you relate to the Legates?
The unique thing about this is that I’m a CEO among CEOs, which is very interesting. I remember when I was first named the CEO of this place. I was reading the book Jesus the CEO. It was inspiring and interesting. But it wasn’t until I began to meet all these people who are leading business people in New York and how they live the Gospel that I learned myself a lot more of what it is to be a Catholic CEO and a priest-CEO.
How did it feel to be named the 2018 Legatus Chaplain of the Year?
I almost feel embarrassed by it because I don’t consider any of it ‘work.’ I consider it inspiring. Legatus has been a great experience for me. I’ve met so many couples who are living the example of what it is to be an ambassador for Christ.
Are there any hobbies you enjoy in your spare time?
Everything I do is integrated — my love of music, I like to go to the opera, and to concerts. I also love to cook, and I do a very popular cooking show on the network. It links the table and family together with the altar and the gathered community in Church. It links together with what I do in my work here too.
Who are your spiritual role models?
Among them would be Thomas Merton. When I have time to really read, I love to read Merton’s spirituality. St. Ignatius is one of my favorite saints. Dorothy Day, I find very inspirational as well.