The Hours (Sneak Preview)

I had an amazing weekend at my son’s wedding! I can’t wait to say more about it in next week’s episode. Needless to say, it was a crazy busy time. So when I woke up on Monday, I realized that I had to fly to Houston that evening to lead a Campus Ministry retreat!

I tried to get it done before I left, but there was just too much to do in the aftermath of the wedding. So, I recorded this while I travelled! The first segment was in the Pittsburgh International Airport. The next two were from Detroit, the forth on the plane to Houston, and the last one when I arrived at the retreat center. I apologize in advance if the sound quality isn’t the greatest when I tell the stories behind some of the songs.

However, the good news is, the songs sound great! (I recorded those in the studio, not on the way to Houston.) The album should be coming out in the next week or so, and when it does I’ll let you know how you can get a hold of it.

I know that almost everyone who supported the project are listeners to the podcast, so I thought it would be cool to share a few more songs with you before the full album release, especially with Fr. Dave on vacation.

Remember, you are blessed!

Texting Like a Baby

Man, Fr. Dave is such a baby when his stuff gets edited out of the podcast! Last week I brought up gambling addictions and how serious they were. Fr. Dave then told a story of playing a dollar at a slot machine and getting $1500. So he joked, “the real message here is that you just need to keep trying!”

Yeah, that got cut. And I’m glad it did 🙂 It was funny in the moment, but in the big picture it took away from the seriousness of the message. I’m grateful for Patrick who listens to the podcast and occasionally goes, “Hey guys, maybe you don’t want to say…”

In case you are wondering, there are very few things we’ve edited out of our podcasts. I’d say maybe something every other month, and it is usually small. To state the obvious, we don’t put a lot of planning into each episode, other than a general outline right before hand of things we would like to talk about. That is because the main goal of the podcast is to invite the listener/viewer/you into our friendship, the kind of things we’d say if we were all hanging out together.

I’m always so excited when someone comes up and says they listen to this podcast! At graduation this weekend, I got to meet many people who shared that with me, and it is always great to see the faces of people who listen (instead of a microphone in the studio). I’m so glad so many of you enjoy and are blessed by this podcast—we absolutely love doing it.

The Gambler

I’m busy grading! Graduation is this week and grades are due. So, enjoy the episode 🙂

10,000 Screaming 7-Year-Olds

For the record, this is probably the most unsettling episode picture I’ve designed for They That Hope. Apparently, it was created by AI, which is a nice nod to our previous episode. I just searched for “screaming children” and this was one of the things that came up. I’m sure I’ll have some kind of nightmare about it.

I begin this episode by reading a stanza of a poem titled “Sorrow” by Edna St. Vincent Millay. This reflects how my sports week went. First, the Cavs were knocked out of the first round of NBA playoffs in Game 6. Then, the Tampa Bay Lightning lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs in overtime of game 7. The series had three overtime games… Tampa lost all three of them.

But the Pirates are doing well. Yes, I mentioned a baseball team in a positive light. That is how low I am right now. Though I am taking Aidan to a game this Sunday, and I “think” Father Dave will be there. He was going to be, until he found out it is “Kids Day”. He said he wasn’t looking forward to 10,000 screaming 7-year-olds. I thought the episode picture was a good representative of his darkest fears. I’m sure he’ll have some kind of nightmare about it.

We have a great conversation about the many apostolates in the Church today and how important they are in the mission of evangelization. We included our Steubenville Conferences in that group. Though some people discount “event ministry,” both Fr. Dave and I have been blessed by them, and have seen people’s lives change through them. No, our faith can’t be sustained by just one “event,” but often God can use those moments as a spark for lifelong conversion. A ministry need not be all things to all people. It can do one thing well, and hope other ministries can fill in the other needs that are out there.

Fr. Dave is celebrating his 27th year as a priest on Thursday! He talked about how being a priest now is very different than when it was when he was ordained, especially because of the sexual scandals that have devastated so many people. To state the obvious, the greatest victims of this were the people who were abused by those whom they trusted to lead them to God. However, there is a secondary effect on those holy men who have been faithful to their call but now have to be constantly vigilant to avoid even the slightest inference of anything that might be seen as inappropriate with young people. This isn’t said out loud too often, but one of the reasons the Church doesn’t invest more in youth ministry is because many priests are afraid of doing anything with teenagers. One accusation of impropriety, no matter how unfounded, can ruin their life. Let us all keep praying for our Church and our young.

Artificial Intelligence

Well, the Abiding Together ladies took a next step in their podcast warfare with us. Fr. Dave and I walked into a “feminized” studio: a soy candle, glitter on the table, pink covers on the microphones, and a huge “Abiding Together” banner that said, “to our #1 fans, Fr. Dave and Deacon Bob.”

Actually, it was quite sweet 🙂 Apparently, there are some people who don’t know that we are actually great friends with each other, and it is all in jest. So if you weren’t sure, don’t worry! We really love and admire each other. This is more like sibling rivalry than anything else.

My own daughters (15 and 18) got into the game by getting a wig that looks amazingly similar to Heather’s hair! You can see it in the episode.

Sometimes people ask how much preparation we put into an episode. The answer is, “not much,” but there is some. We take about 5-10 minutes talking about the topics we want to talk about. For this episode, we had discussed talking about the abortion pill and other pro-life issues, and the push back against transgender athletes in sports.

Did we talk about such things? No. “Have you seen ‘I, Robot’?” Fr. Dave asked. Well, that was out of the blue, and took us down a completely different direction.

I was also glad we got to talk about Denis Prager’s visit to Franciscan last week. There were a number of people on campus who were upset about his comments regarding pornography (essentially, that it could be watched without sinning), and ironically he said he wanted to talk about it to “give it some nuance.” According to Fr. Dave, that “nuance” was to dig a deeper hole!

That lead us to a broader topic of how we might deal with people with whom we may strongly agree on some issues but disagree on others. In a divisive world, it is easy to jump to what we are most opposed about. Personally, I’m glad for the kind of dialogue we are having with people like Prager (and Jordan Peterson, for another example). I hope it is a good example of Christian charity, and I pray those who come to our campus experience something special.

We didn’t even do a Franciscan promo! Hope you are blessed by this episode.

Nightmare on Franciscan Street

For the record, we are good friends with Sr. Miriam, Heather Khym, and Michelle Benzinger—the wonderful women who do the “Abiding Together” podcast. When I first titled the episode (yes, that is my job) I thought I’d photoshop my face over a picture of Jesus, because one of the friars told Fr. Dave that he had a dream that Jesus appeared to him, but then he realized it was me instead. Though I don’t have much of a filter, even I recognized that maybe that wouldn’t be the best look for the podcast.

So then I thought, “What if I put my face over Freddy Krueger?” Again, not the best look.

But what I ended up doing for the thumbnail was easily far more horrific than the previous ideas, but I did it anyway. I’m sorry you won’t be able to unsee it. Though I think Fr. Dave actually looks pretty good with Heather’s hair. My apologies to Michelle.

Lots of other stuff goes on in the podcast. You should listen. I’m really tired because it is 6 AM and I realized I had forgotten to make this post! But in really good news… CAVS won last night! So my prophecy was correct (though it didn’t go to overtime, they crushed them by twenty points).

Achtave, Baby

One of U2’s most popular albums was called “Achtung, Baby,” and that was the reference I was going for in the podcast when I said, “Octave, Baby.” To even make the obscure reference more obnoxious, I titled the episode after it. As you’ve probably figured out, I’m never quite sure what to call each episode. But I figure that people don’t listen to this podcast based on its snappy titles, right?

Baseball has begun, and even did some research to pretend like I care. Why do I feel like I am doing all of the work in this relationship? He didn’t even take me to a game when I said I’d go.

But the bulk of this podcast was a reflection on our experiences of Holy Week (at my parish and at Franciscan), and a cool conversation about the spirituality of Easter. I was actually quite interested in what Fr. Dave had to say about that. I agree when he mentioned that Catholics do Lent really well, but don’t know what to do in Easter. I pray this episode helps you have a happy and holy Easter season!

Appendages with Digits

Well, both teams that Fr. Dave assigned me to root for last week lost (no surprise, there), and though we didn’t know it at the time, UConn won the NCAA tournament. On the women’s side, congrats to LSU! And, for the record, I actually am slightly interested in baseball now that they have a pitch clock. Not “actually” interested. Just slightly.

In this episode, I got to share and amazing thing I got to do this weekend: Eucharistic procession at Franciscan! Super incredible. I also get to do that at a youth conference this summer! But wow… I had no idea of the physical challenges involved. It was like a competition in Survivor. Thankfully, I survived 🙂

We conclude by talking about the Easter Triduum and what we love about it. I pray you have a blessed Easter!

It Was Rocky IV

Yes, I did see Creed III this weekend. And I hadn’t even seen Creed I or II. Or Rocky I-VI. Still loved it!

Apparently, all the Catholic schools are out of the Final Four, and it has been a crazy March for upsets. None of the 1 or 2 ranked teams in their divisions got in? Crazy. Because I don’t know any better, Fr. Dave has assigned me to rooting for Florida Atlantic and Miami. I have no idea how that will go, though I hear that UConn has been easily winning every game so far, so they might go all the way. To be honest, I’m way more excited that the Cavaliers have clinched a playoff spot in the NBA!

This Sunday is Palm Sunday (is it me, or did Lent go by fast this year?), and we discuss the Palm Sunday liturgy and the beginning of Holy Week.

Hope you enjoy it!

March Madness

Ironically, I watched college basketball this weekend and Fr. Dave did not! But that was because he was in Ireland and then Austria, whereas I was hanging with a cool priest in his basement while being away at a parish mission. I was watching the Arkansas vs. Kansas game where the Arkansas coach, after winning, took off his shirt in celebration… that was a bit odd? Still, I’m really getting more into college basketball than I have before. Obviously, this is discussed in the beginning of the podcast.

Pope Francis made some comments last week about priestly celibacy that Fr. Dave unpacks. The “headline” is that he says celibacy isn’t intrinsic to the priesthood, which made some media outlets jump to the conclusion that he was going to allow married priests. What the headlines didn’t say, however, was how the Holy Father discussed the beauty of celibacy and how important it is in the life of the Church. Fr. Dave shares about his own experience with celibacy, and I talk about the importance of chastity within marriage. (For those of you who have kids listening in the background, you might want to skip this part. It isn’t that we get graphic or anything, but it might cause some questions to be asked. That section is from 16:48 to 23:21.)

Finally, we discuss the upcoming readings for Sunday: John 11, the raising of Lazarus. This was the gospel Fr. Dave chose (last minute) at his brother’s funeral, and we both talk about what that Scripture means to us.

As always, I pray you are blessed by this episode!