Nicoli Djokavich?

Words can’t express how happy I am that Fr. Dave is finally getting into The Mandalorian. But you’ll just have to hear more about that in the episode. I’m on an early anniversary trip with my wife and I’m trying not to “work” too much, so here is this week’s episode. Enjoy!

Sleeping At the Movies

Well, it was a bit delayed, but Fr. Dave and I finally got the chance to see Spider-Man: No Way Home together. It was my second time, Fr. Dave’s first.

Man, I love that movie. But I agree with Fr. Dave’s assessment: it really works for geeks who are into Spider-Man (and the many movies that were brought together in this one), but doesn’t “stand alone” as well as some of the others (like Spider-Man: Homecoming).

As you can tell by the title, Fr. Dave fell asleep during a key moment. I won’t spoil it here, but be aware that we do have spoilers in the podcast. Sorry, but it was the only way to truly make fun of him.

We also talk about how to stay hopeful even though COVID is still lingering around, as well as what is beautiful about Ordinary Time.

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Death Is Not the End

I’m feeling better today, and have to laugh at how I looked when I recorded this on Monday! I’m sure I just rolled out of bed. After dodging the first two variants of COVID, it would seem Omicron finally caught up to me. Thankfully, my symptoms like a moderate flu. Glad to be on the recovery part of it.

The main focus of this episode is about the passing of Fr. Dave’s dad, Bob Pivonka. Please keep the family in prayer, especially his mom. I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose a child a year ago and then a spouse. It is beautiful to hear Dave share about how God has been present through it all.

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Home for Christmas

Fr. Dave’s dad, Bob Pivonka, passed away on Monday. Let us keep the Pivonka family in our prayers this week. Fr. Dave wanted everyone to know that his dad was “home for Christmas,” which is a beautiful thought. Still, there will be an empty seat at the table for them this Christmas, and so let us all pray the Holy Spirit would give them peace and consolation during this time.

Though I forgot to mention it on this episode, I also had a “homecoming” last week when I got the chance to speak at my home parish (or one of them, at least) at St. Issac Jogue’s Catholic Church in Hinsdale, Illinois. It was really such a blessing to be back there, and such an honor to be there as a newly ordained deacon. That was my first speaking event as a deacon, and I will never forget it. How wonderful I got to share that joy with my hometown! Thank you for all who braved the windstorm to come hear me that evening.

I played a song at that event that I had just finished that morning! It is called “Divine Inheritance,” and I decided to close this They That Hope episode with it (it is at 23:24). The folks in Hinsdale seemed to like it and I hope you will, too.

Also in this episode is my spoiler-free review of the new Spider-Man movie. I’ll take Fr. Dave to see it when he gets back in town.

Fr. Dave and I will be back in the New Year, though I’m not sure if that means January 5th or (at the latest) January 12th. You are all in our prayers as we celebrate Christmas and welcome 2022.

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Rejoicing Always

Squeaking this out at the last minute! It is about 10 PM on Tuesday as I’m writing this, just finishing up the edits in time for tomorrow’s release. As you will see (and the video works!), Fr. Dave is at home with family right now. My impression is that he has a 28.8 modem. But praise God, it worked!

Please pray for Fr. Dave, his family, and especially his father, Bob. He is in very bad health, perhaps close to death. So when Fr. Dave shares about how to rejoice in the Lord, even amid difficult circumstances, you know he is trying to live what he preaches.

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The Peace of Advent

Like usual, we cover a variety of topics on this episode. I’ve been praying a lot for those impacted by the school shooting in Oxford, Michigan last week, especially the four teenagers and their families. As I share in the podcast, I am (once again) frustrated with how the media is covering it. News media is entertainment, and they are always looking for a “new” story to tell. Lots of attention is being given to the shooter’s parents, because that is an unusual “twist” to this kind of tragedy. But it seems like we don’t hear much about the victims because that isn’t as “interesting.” Let’s keep these souls and their families in prayer: Justin Shilling, age 17, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, Tate Myre, 16, and Hana St. Juliana, 14. I fear as a society we are getting to used to this, and the knee-jerk reaction is talking about gun control. A more serious issue (and one that is harder to address) is that many teens feel isolated and unloved. The shooter was only fifteen years old. What a tragedy for everyone involved.

So I asked Fr. Dave, “where is the hope in all of this?” I loved his answer. Obviously, the only one who can save us is Jesus. Speaking of our need of a savior, that is what Advent is all about! Fr. Dave shares beautifully about this week of Advent, and how the “peace” offered by Christ is different than that of the world.

I once again had a video issue, but now I know how to fix it! So hopefully the video will work next week.

Please pray for Bob Pivonka, Fr. Dave’s father, as he is struggling with his health.

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Custody Battle

I am so bummed the video didn’t work this week. By “didn’t work” I think it means I forgot to hit record on my phone. So you can only imagine the look on our faces when we opened up a package and there was a large, adorable Baby Grogu, which Fr. Dave and I immediately began to fight over.

In this podcast I learned that Franciscan Friars do in fact decorate their own tree, but it doesn’t sound like the joyful, family experience that we have at the Rice household. Not that our own experiences are always joyful… but that is a topic for another podcast 🙂

I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving and are able to prayerfully enter into the Advent season amidst all the busyness.

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It’s hard to describe how I felt about getting ordained a little over a week ago, but in this podcast I give it a try.

I’m so grateful for all of you who have supported me on the journey. As I mention in the video, I have “rebranded” myself on the Interwebs. This website can now be reached at “”. And if you’d like to shoot me an email, you can do so at

If you can, watch the video (instead of just listening) because I was able to splice in some recorded moments of the ordination as I’m describing it. I was also able to put a recording of my first homily at Holy Family Parish, a community I will miss very much!

I certainly had much to be thankful over this past weekend, and I’m very thankful to all of you who take the time to read this blog and listen/watch the podcasts that I do. Please keep praying for me as I will start my first assignment in the next few weeks, and know of my prayers for you.

PS. Because I’m starting afresh in a new parish, I’m taking a break from this podcast for a month, maybe two. I’d like to get in the habit of being a deacon before having more conversations about it.

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I got ordained a deacon this past weekend! It was… amazing. Hard to describe. Still processing it all. I’m sure I’ll have more to say when it all sinks in, and Fr. Dave and I talk a bit about my ordination in this episode.

But that isn’t all we talk about. Fr. Dave asked if I had been following the Rittenhouse trial, and to be honest I haven’t. I’ve been so busy with preparing for ordination I tuned out the world for a few weeks. What I heard of it was just tragic, and Fr. Dave gave some great insights on what happened (as usual).

We closed with Thanksgiving and some great quotes from our Founding Fathers about why it is so important for us in the United States. You could say, now more than ever! And though I don’t have a statistic for this, I’m going to guess that we sang more in this episode than any other.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

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Relative Envy

Is it my fault that I am related to amazing people? No, it is not. For the record, my Uncle Bob was Top Gun. And my Aunt, who became a Carmelite Hermit, was asked to audition for the Bionic Woman. My dog has yet to do anything more than poop on the carpet, but I expect great things.

I’m only four days away from my diaconal ordination and I recorded this podcast from Baltimore where I got to be a consultant to a US Bishop’s Committee about youth and young adult ministry. It was a real honor to be there.

I hope you enjoy this episode and spend more time listening to it than Fr. Dave did. You’ll see what I mean.

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