Coffee & Doughnuts with Mary Beth Marsden


By Paul McMullen
pmcmullen@CatholicReview.org

Mary Beth Marsden, WBAL-AM 1090 news anchor and parishioner of Church of the Nativity in Timonium, sat down with Paul McMullen, Managing Editor of The Catholic Review, to discuss her faith.

CR: What and where are your Catholic roots?
MARSDEN: My “Catholic family tree” has deep roots in Maryland. As the story goes, my father’s family (the Plowdens) landed in St. Mary’s County in the late 17th century as persecuted Catholics from England. I’ve lived in Maryland most of my life and attended Catholic school (St. Ann in Charlotte, N.C. and St. Martin in Gaithersburg) through fifth grade.
CR: You are a very busy working mom. How – and why – do you make time to serve as a lector at Church of the Nativity?
MARSDEN: Mark (McGrath, Marsden’s husband) and I have three teenagers at home who are all perfectly behaved (ha-ha-ha). Jack is 17, George is 16 and Tess is 14. As busy and challenging as life can be, I try to make time on weekends to serve at my parish, either as a greeter or a lector. I love it. I find it recharges my batteries, gives me strength and fills me with joy, truly.
CR: Your résumé includes two-plus decades as the news anchor at WMAR-TV. What do you most like about anchoring drive time on WBAL-AM? 
MARSDEN: Reporting on the radio is so different from TV. I think I’ve been able to unleash a little more personality and spend time in conversation with so many interesting people. I really enjoy the interviews. People seem very engaged when they are listening to you on the radio, and nobody knows what you’re wearing!
CR: Can you describe a time in your life when you most relied on your faith?
MARSDEN: I rely on prayer every day and the closer my relationship with God, the more I need to talk with him. Lately, I am also trying harder to listen to what he’s telling me. I will say my faith really started to blossom about eight or nine years ago. Now I find it grows exponentially. I often wonder how I made it through life all those years on religious “auto-pilot.” 
CR: Do you have a favorite saint?
MARSDEN: I’d have to go with St. Christopher; I’ve had a Christopher medal in my car since I was 16.
CR: What makes you most proud to be a Catholic?
MARSDEN: I am proud of the direction in which the church seems to be moving. I like it. It feels right and loving and I think Pope Francis has had a lot to do with that. I also feel so blessed to have found a church family at Nativity that is helping me to grow in my faith.
CR: What did you take from the pope’s recent visit to the U.S.?
MARSDEN: A friend and I went to Philadelphia to see Pope Francis. We had no idea what to expect. It was amazing to be with more than a half a million people walking the streets of a major city seeking a common experience. During the course of his visit, it seemed obvious to me that his message of love and inclusiveness could be felt across the country by people of all religions and beliefs. 
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The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.