Spread the message of faith in the Great Country

Spread the message of faith in the Great Country

ROWENA, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — Four years ago, a group of three men in Rowena, Runnels County, started the religious podcast “The Boys of Rome.’ The Catholic group decided to bring the word of Jesus Christ to those who needed it. These days, their podcast is associated with a simple message that you may have seen along the highway.

The Rome Boys, made up of Joe Mattheson, Tony Frasco and Chris Martin, launched a podcast during the COVID-19 pandemic with a clear message.

“When COVID hit, everything stopped. I think a lot of people are really wondering where to turn,” Martin said.

“More and more people are watching YouTube and social media because they don’t trust mainstream media and it always seems to have an agenda. I guess everyone has an agenda. Our goal is to bring Jesus to those who don’t have Him,” Mattheson explained.

If you’ve driven Interstate 20, approaching Abilene from the east, or Highway 67 from San Angelo to Ballinger, there’s a good chance a certain billboard has caught your eye.

After creating over 300 videos on YouTube and gaining 23,000 subscribers, the Rome Boys movement was born to evangelize West Texas and beyond. Along the way, Tony Frasco, an educator, drew on his experience to create a bulletin board for a previous group of students, which inspired the messages we see today.

“After I left the teaching world, and I’m still teaching, but in a different way, I said, Hey, guys, why don’t we put up some bulletin boards? So we did that with a vacation Bible school here at the parish, and we had one here in our town, and then we put up permanent bulletin boards, and we put up temporary ones in Fresno, in California. in Abilene and Midland, Brownwood, San Angelo, Wall, Miles,” Frasco said.

“Jesus, I trust in you.” A simple message but with heavy meaning. Just a few words inspired a conversation between Martin and a woman who came across the billboard.

“She said I had never prayed before; I am not a Christian. I was not a Christian at the time. I was on the worst day of my life, in the darkest moment of my life, and I crossed the Chadbourne Viaduct into San Angelo. My eyes were full of tears. I shouldn’t have been driving, I look up and I can’t stop reading these words, Jesus, I trust in You. I get chills now talking about it. Because that was the first sign, pun intended, first story that we heard. She said it changed my life. I prayed for the people who put up the billboard. She said I have never had so much peace in my life and I pray that everyone who sees her will experience the same peace she had,” Martin shared.

Father Ryan Rojo, director of vocations and seminarians for the Diocese of San Angelo, considers the Rome Boys to be much more than a podcast group.

“I think they really represent the Church’s invitation to take the initiative to meet a need that obviously exists in the life of the world. I think Catholics are tempted to sit back and wait for the clergy to do all this. For other lay men and women who might stand on the sidelines and say, “I can’t make positive change,” these guys simply saw a need here in their local community, in the diocese and responded generously because they love Christ. ” Rojo said.

The Boys of Rome are also exploring a billboard location in the heart of Los Angeles, but have been told that renting a billboard costs around $17,000 per month.