“The Hours” is now LIVE!

I can’t tell you how excited I am to share this new album with you. This is something I’ve been working on with Mary and Anna Brewer over the past six months. But I need your help to finish it! Mary, Anna, and I wrote a number of songs based on the Liturgy of the Hours, and I think it sounds beautiful (with most of the credit going to the Brewer sisters!). Can you check out the kickstarter page to find out more about it? And, if possible, please support it any way you can!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/deaconbobrice/the-hours

Hope in Division

First, condolences to all the Bengals and 49ers fans out there, and congrats to the Eagles and the Chiefs! I can’t say I really prefer one over the other that much (though the Chiefs played the Buccaneers in the Super Bowl a couple years back). So… go team!

One of the big things in the Catholic world that happened this week was an article in America Magazine written by Cardinal McElroy, and I’m glad I got a chance to discuss that with Fr. Dave. One of the takeaways for me was that, though McElroy implied he was in line with what Pope Francis had said, Pope Francis has already definitively spoken against some of what McElroy proposes.

That was a part of a wider conversation of “media bias,” and how hard it can be to get to the truth about things, especially when we only hear soundbites from media sources. I’m really excited about the upcoming conference Franciscan is sponsering with EWTN news about this! Find out more here: https://franciscan.edu/journalism-in-a-post-truth-world

Speaking of links to click on… fundraising for my new album launches today! PLEASE check out my kickstarter page to see if it is something you feel called to help with: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/deaconbobrice/the-hours

Conversion of St. Paul

Today is the “Conversion of St. Paul,” and it is one of Fr. Dave’s favorite feast days. Personally, I’m partial to the feast day of St. Timothy and Titus (but that is probably because it is my birthday).

Fr. Dave got back from the March for Life and had some great stories to share. We both discussed how our pro-life advocacy is even more important than ever—having Roe v. Wade overturned means we now have to promote the message of life in 50 states, not just in DC.

We also talk about football (of course), our favorite seasons of the year, and the upcoming Eucharistic Revival. Most importantly, we do in this episode what we want to do in every episode: a chance to laugh, and an opportunity to grow in hope 🙂

PS. Stay to the end of the episode! For the next few weeks, we will feature a song from my new album with the Brewer Sisters, “The Hours.” This song is called “Listening” and was written by Mary Brewer (who also sung the lead vocal). If you like this music, we need your support to make it a reality! Our Kickstarter fundraising project will be from Feb 1-28, but you can sign up for updates right now at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/deaconbobrice/the-hours

What Does God Want? (Conversion)

In this episode of Speaking with Deacons, Dcn. Mike and I talk about the second question that Fr. Mike Scanlan proposes we ask when discerning: “Does it encourage conversion?”

Fr. Mike wrote, “The world is full of ideas and pleasures and values that tug at our hearts. We are always being converted from something old to something new.” Seeing our decisions in light of “conversion” was a new thought for me. In this episode, I reflect on how at one point in my life I was “converted” to being a member of Disney Vacation Club (or, even as some members of DVC call it, “Disney Vacation Cult”!). I was putting too much of my heart into it, and realized it wasn’t something that was healthy or leading me to God. Now, I’m in a much better place (and still enjoy going, BTW).

The key to knowing if something encourages conversion or not is by results, or “fruits”. These can be fruits we imagine will occur (if we are making a new decision) or fruits in the present moment (if we are reconsidering a decision or a situation we find ourselves in). It is so easy to justify our decisions, so taking a sober look at the “fruits” of the decision can really help us in understanding whether or not this is leading us to our ultimate goal: eternal life and union with Jesus Christ.

Sometimes those “fruits” take time to cultivate, and that is why we need have determination to keep at things, even when we want to give up. Mike shares a great story about how he and his children got involved in martial arts and committed to staying in it until being blackbelts (note to self: don’t get Dcn. Mike angry). It was the “future” fruit they were working towards, and it eventually yielded a great result.

I pray you enjoy this episode! As always, if you can support this work, you can buy me a coffee. And thanks for those of you who already have!

2023!

Happy 2023! It is great to be back.

Yes, sadly, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost on Monday to the Dallas Cowboys. I had a few friars over (including Fr. Dave) to watch the… game? It felt more like a beat-down. But hey, at least they made the playoffs! I didn’t think they were going to get too far anyway, not with the horrible season they had. Still, I’m sad to face Sundays without the Bucs. At least I’ve got the Cavs!

In this episode, Fr. Dave and I share what we have been doing over the past few weeks. Me? I went to Disney World with my daughter, Ellie. It was AWESOME. I got to ride the “Guardians of the Galaxy” rollercoaster for the first time, and it was very cool. And, of course, Galaxy’s Edge (or “Star Wars Land” as it is sometimes called). Man, that “Rise of the Resistance” ride is one of the coolest things in the park.

Fr. Dave went to the Holy Land. The rides aren’t as cool, of course. But it sounds like he had an amazing time and we both share about our experiences there.

At the end of the episode is a song I wrote preformed by myself and the Brewer Sisters (Anna and Mary) called, “Canticle of Judith.” It is part of a new album we are recording, and we will be trying to raise money for it on Kickstarter in the month of February. Knowing that many folks listen to the podcast a few weeks behind, I thought it would be worth promoting now. I am really excited about this project. Hope you enjoy the song. Anna Brewer sings the lead part. I’m on classical guitar and Mary is on piano (with both of us on background vocals).

What Does God Want? (Conformity)

In this episode, Dcn. Mike Welker and I dive into the first chapter of Fr. Mike Scanlan’s book, What Does God Want? In the book, he proposes five questions we need to consider when we are discerning God’s will. The first is perhaps the most obvious, but also the most important: Does it conform to God’s will? God would never have us do something contrary to what he revealed, would never have us do something evil in order for good to come out of it. We need to be careful here, because the devil is a liar! We can easily be fooled into thinking that the wrong thing is the right thing.

Fr. Mike closes the chapter (and we close the episode) with questions to reflect upon. Here they are:

  1. Does the proposed course of action conform to the relevant commandments of God?
  2. Does it conform to the relevant teachings of the Church?
  3. Does it affect the existing commitments that bear on the decision (work, family, etc.)?
  4. Do existing “calls” from God contradict the current proposal?
  5. Might the current proposal hinder a spirit of obedience and submission to God and His Church?

If you can support this podcast, even just for a few dollars, I’d appreciate it! https://www.buymeacoffee.com/deaconbobrice

SUPERCUT: Why Did the Word Become Flesh

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! I’m excited to share this “supercut” with you the conversations Fr. Dave and I had about “Why Did the Word Become Flesh?” over the past four episodes.

I feel like, of all the supercuts we have done so far, this is my favorite. If you are an active listener of the podcast, you’ve heard it all over the past month, but there is also something cool about hearing it all at once. I hope you might use it to help you have a greater appreciation of the Incarnation during the Christmas season.

And, I really encourage you to share this with a friend! Especially those who might not like the sports/culture part of our podcast and prefer the more spiritual content.

Hard to believe it is almost 2023. I pray you all have a Happy New Year, and Fr. Dave and I will be back with new content on January 18th. We are also open to new “theme” ideas, so if you have one, please email me at hope@franciscan.edu.

God bless.

What Does God Want?

It seemed fitting that on the feast day of St. Stephen, the first martyr for Jesus and one of the first deacons in the Church, to kick off the first of six new “Speaking With Deacons” episodes!

What is the difference between a good idea and a “God” idea? For the next six episodes, I am joined by Dcn. Mike Welker as they discuss a book written by Fr. Michael Scanlan, TOR, “What Does God Want?” The book focuses on five key principles of discernment.

Going through this book was Mike’s idea. As I share in the podcast, I hadn’t read it in over a decade—I’m sure I read it when I was discerning marriage! So I thought it might have some good wisdom to share for others. What surprised me was how much I needed the wisdom of the book.

In this episode, we talk about the importance of discernment, both in our own lives but also helping others who are seeking God’s will in their lives. We also talk about the author of the book, Fr. Michael Scanlan, TOR. Dcn. Mike knew him far better than I did, but he had a tremendous impact on both of our lives, the most obvious of which is the place where we work, Franciscan University of Steubenville (Dcn. Mike is a Professor of Business).

I was also very happy to find an audio recording of Fr. Mike briefly talking about the book. I was able to splice those into each episode. Fr. Mike passed away about five years ago, and I must admit I was happy to hear his voice again.

I pray you are blessed by this and, as always, I encourage you to share this with others who may be interested. Unlike my other podcast, They That Hope, I don’t have the University promoting it and because I can’t do it as frequently it might not be on people’s radar. So please, if you like it, tell someone about it!

And, if you can support me in making future episodes of Speaking With Deacons, you can “buy me a coffee” by going HERE.

Happy feast of St. Stephen!

Why Did the Word Become Flesh? (Part 4)

Perhaps my favorite moment in this episode was the look of horror on Fr. Dave’s face when I told him that I have seen more Weird Al concerts than any other artist.

When we were prepping for this episode (the three minutes before we hit “record”), I told Fr. Dave I wanted to talk about the new Avatar movie in the second section. He said, “okay, what else?” And I said, “Oh, I’m going to need some time for this…” Fr. Dave clearly isn’t a fan of the movie because it portrays humans as the bad guys. I just like seeing angry fish kill people. To each his own.

If you can tolerate all of that nonsense, you’ll be blessed to hear our discussion of the fourth reason for the Incarnation, “to partake in the divine nature.” I think it is the most mind-blowing reason of all!

As we mention at the end of the episode, we are taking a few weeks of for the Christmas break (Fr. Dave is going to the Holy Land) and the start of a new academic year. Next week I will have the “Supercut” of the “Why Did the Word Become Flesh?” episodes, and we will be back with a new episode on January 18th, 2023.

Dang, 2023.

Have a Merry Christmas everybody!

Why Did the Word Become Flesh? (Part 3)

Ah, a morning episode. It was nice to get together with Fr. Dave in the George on campus, and not after a long day! We ended up talking about weddings (I’d say we wen’t “off script” but that would assume we had one). He mentioned people don’t throw rice at weddings anymore, I said it changed to bird seed, but he said that nobody throws anything. Then we asked you, the viewer, to tell us if in fact people throw birdseed after weddings, like I thought they did.

After the episode, I think I may have been wrong, but I don’t want Fr. Dave to know that. It doesn’t matter what actually happens, what really matters is that people email us saying they have experienced bird seed being thrown at the end of weddings. You can send that email to us at hope@franciscan.edu. All you have to write is “birdseed.” I’ll mention you on the next show.

I share about a family friend, Fr. David Wechter, who passed away last week at 93. I attended his funeral in Winona, MN last weekend. Since our previous podcast, when we mentioned two friars had passed away, two more friars had passed. It feels far above average, and we talk about how to find hope in death while still being upset about it.

Finally, we get to the third reason for the Incarnation, so we could have a “model of holiness.” I’ve really been enjoying these conversations, and I hope you have to!