At the Movies

I love movies. I love going to the movies. And I really like seeing movies during a opening weekend in a filled movie theater. Fr. Dave knows this. So why was he mad that I saw No Time To Die without him? For the record, I will take him to Spider-Man: No Way Home. And I will go to the theater in my Dr. Strange outfit. Hey, it is no less weird than a habit.

I learned some cool things about St. John XXIII from Fr. Dave in this podcast, including a facinating reason as to why the Church picked Monday to celebrate it, even though it was neither his birthday or his deathday. (Is “deathday” a word?) Hint: It has something to do with Vatican II.

A reader asked a great question about finding peace in the midst of busyness, something I’m struggling with right now! On that note, I hope to have a new Speaking with Deacons podcast up next Monday.

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Sleep Deprivation

Well, now I know how Fr. Dave felt.

I had a great visit with my son Kolbe in Kansas last weekend, but I didn’t get home until around 1 AM on Monday morning. We normally record the podcast at 8. So I asked Fr. Dave if we could record later in the day, because I was sure to be exhausted. He “generously” said we could record at 8:30. Thanks.

Don’t know about you, but I feel like everything in my life has turned up a notch and I’m struggling to keep up. One of the victims of my busyness was I didn’t release a “Speaking with Deacons” last Monday, but I hope to next week (say a prayer it happens!). You might even notice this blog/video is a few hours later than usual 🙂

Tomorrow is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and I really enjoyed Fr. Dave’s reflections on the rosary that he shared in this podcast. I think it was a really fun episode, with the disclaimer that I don’t remember much of it because I woke up right before we recorded it and went to bed right after. So I hope it is coherent!

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Plethora of Saints

It was funny to see Fr. Dave try to have a conversation with so little sleep. He had flight issues over the weekend and was probably only awake about 30 minutes when he came through the door of the Podcast Studio. He got to see a lot of amazing sporting events and all his teams won. My weekend, however, was another story…

We spent some time talking about the Women’s Health Protection Act, and what a horrible bill it is for the unborn. We need to first of all pray, but also reach out to those who represent us in government. Honestly, if this bill passed it would allow abortions to occur up until the minute of being born. Even those I know who support a woman’s right to abortion wouldn’t go that far.

Coincidentally (or God-incidentally), October is Respect Life Month. It is a great time to get involved in Life Chains, 40 Days for Life, or other wonderful organizations that offer a positive alternative to abortion. I have incredible sympathy for a woman who finds herself in the difficult situation of an unwanted pregnancy. And I truly believe those women who bring a baby into this world and give him or her up for adoption are heroes. When I look into the face of my adopted son, Joey, I always say a prayer of gratitude for his mother and pray she is doing well. I pray for the day I can share with her what a wonderful son she gave birth to, and the incredible way she has blessed our family by saying “yes” to his life. I just don’t know if it will happen in this life or the next.

This week is one of my two favorite weeks in Ordinary Time, as it is a litany of incredible saints: the Archangels, St. Jerome, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, our Guardian Angels, St. Faustyna, and, of course, St. Francis of Assisi. No fasting this week! Way too much to celebrate 🙂

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Happy Anniversary!

Wow. Hard to believe it was only a year ago that Fr. Dave and I started recording They That Hope. The thing that Fr. Dave and I are really amazed is that, with the exception of a two week vacation, we were able to record it every week! I mean, with COVID, Fr. Dave’s travels (including a trip to Iraq), summer conferences… I figured there would have been more than a few times we’d have to day, “Sorry! See you next week!” I’m grateful it has been a priority in both of our lives, and even more grateful for those of you who make it a regular part of yours!

I am doing much, much better than last week. I share about it at the top of the show. I really do attribute my turn-around to your prayers. You are all such a blessing to me!

This was another “late night” podcast, which are always a bit crazy but also lots of fun. I pray you are blessed by it.

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The Diaconate of St. Francis

A number of years ago I came across a picture of St. Francis of Assisi wearing a deacon’s stole. The caption explained that St. Francis was not a priest (which I knew) but was actually a deacon. I thought that was really cool! So I mentioned that to a Franciscan Friar and he told me, “No, he wasn’t.”

Since then I’ve asked people who have an expertise in St. Francis what they think about it, and I get varying opinions from a hard “yes,” to a maybe “yes,” to a probably “no.” Most seem to be in the “maybe yes” category, though. So I was excited to hear what Dr. Alan Schreck, who has his doctorate in Church history and has studied a lot about St. Francis had to say about that in this podcast.

Even if St. Francis of Assisi was a deacon, the diaconate in his time was very different than the diaconate we have now (for example, they didn’t even have seminaries in his time—that would be established a few hundred years later at the Council of Trent). However, there are still many “diaconal” aspects of St. Francis’s ministry that are very applicable to us today.

I’m grateful for Alan taking the time to share some of those things with us. I had Alan as a professor in the nineties when studying for my master’s degree, and I’ve always looked up to him. He’s written some incredible books, my favorite being Catholic and Christian. One of his more recent books is St. Francis and Pope Francis: Prayer, Poverty, and Joy in Jesus. Click on either link to purchase at Amazon. I’d recommend anything Alan has written!

I hope you enjoy this podcast. It was recorded under less than ideal circumstances. If you listen to my other podcast, They That Hope, you know that three of my family members have COVID and the other four of us have been living in quarantine. So I was stuck in my 8 year old’s bedroom. (Lucky kid, he got the basement. BTW, everyone is feeling better so no serious complications.) Because we couldn’t meet in person, Alan tried to use his computer at work and, well, the audio and video quality isn’t what I hoped it would be.

However, the content was everything I hoped for and more. Gave me a lot to think about, especially as my own ordination date draws ever closer. I hope you enjoy it. St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us.

Also, this weekend I got my official letter from the Bishop of Steubenville inviting me to be ordained as a permanent deacon at Franciscan University on November 20th, 2021. Praise God! Just 61 days away!

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Same Show, Different Day

When I recorded this on Monday, my wife and my son were both in quarantine because they had COVID, and the fear of infection for the rest of my family as well as the challenge of trying to do my job and run the house… well, it got to me. It wasn’t more than a half an hour before we started that I had a fight with one of my kids and was freaking out about life in general. And I thought, “O great, I have to record a podcast about hope now.”

Two days later, I’m doing both better and worse. The home situation is worse since another kid tested positive and now we are all in quarantine. But I’m a bit more peaceful about it (mostly), in part thanks to some of Fr. Dave’s encouragement that he gave me in this episode. I hope you are encouraged by it, too.

So please pray for my family. Pray nobody else gets it and we can ride out our quarantine. And while it isn’t fun, I’m certainly grateful that it isn’t worse. No need for hospitalizations or extreme treatments, thank God. Some of you have been in that situation, are in that situation, or (sadly) will be. We are offering our suffering and prayers for all of you.

Last week we talked about how important it is that we are honest before the Lord, and I get pretty honest in this episode. I love how this podcast has become more of a community of friends than a “show”. It can feel like we are dealing with the same stuff that we were a year ago (and my apologies to the kids listening for using the word “crap” a couple times in this episode). But the Lord has done great things since then and will continue to do so. It is important to remind ourselves of that. I pray you are blessed by our conversation.

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For the first time ever on They That Hope, we had a guest on the podcast: Rosie, my new puppy. She is awfully cute and extremely chill for a puppy. For those who care, she is a soft coated Wheaton terrier. I talk a bit about how we got her on the show.

And I didn’t think we’d talk much football since the NFL doesn’t kick off until Thursday, but forgot that college football had already started, so I had to listen to Fr. Dave drone on and on about Notre Dame. Is this how he feels when I talk about the Buccaneers? Nah, the Bucs are way more exciting!

We discussed some of the tragic things that have been occurring, like the floods in the Northeast and the death of one of my former students, Matt Hair (he was also an RD on campus). Please pray for Matt’s soul and keep his family in your prayers as well. It led us to talking about how important it is that we are honest before God, even when we are confused or angry, and how the Psalms model that for us.

Today we celebrate Mary’s birthday! Fr. Dave sang her happy birthday and we discussed what we love about her. One of the main points was how important it is to remember she was human, and being “perfect” doesn’t mean not feeling anxiety, pain, etc.

BTW, brace yourself for next week’s episode. I’m sure something will be mentioned about the Bucs. Enjoy!

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9/11, Conversion, and Prayer

This past Father’s Day, I got a few copies of Deacon Kandra’s book, A Deacon Prays. Though not yet a deacon, I was blessed by many of its beautiful reflections, especially the “deacon’s rosary” of the Luminous Mysteries. So without knowing anything else about Dcn. Kandra, I reached out to him for an interview. To my surprise, he had heard of the show!

It was only as I was preparing to interview him that I realized his amazing story of how he heard the call to the diaconate. He was working at CBS news when 9/11 occurred, and one of his proudest accomplishments was working on one of the best documentaries of that moment. He had some really amazing things to share.

It was only mid-way through the interview (you can see the moment when the lights go on in my head) that I realized that I was planning to release this podcast in early September… the same week as the 20th anniversary of 9/11. God has a plan for things, doesn’t he?

So as we all recall the lives lost and the “war on terror” that began 20 years ago, let us also reflect on how God worked through that in the lives of many people, and brought them to deeper holiness because of it. Just like Dcn. Greg. Kandra.

You can purchase a copy of his new book at

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Franciscan Multiversity

I was in Florida when I recorded this on Monday. My mom finally decided to sell her house, and with this market it went quick! Unfortunately, the highest bid also wanted her out the door quickly, so it was more of a last minute trip to pack things up. Though I didn’t grow up in that house, my mom (and dad) lived there for over twenty years, so there are a lot of memories.

Fr. Dave knew it was a bit tough for me, so we talked about our homes and how hard it can be to let things go. I asked him what it was like for him to give up everything for a vow of poverty, and his answer surprised me! We live different lives 🙂 Speaking of different lives, how has he not seen the Spider-Man trailer?

When we recorded the podcast, the news was all about the hurricane in Louisiana and leaving Afghanistan (not much has changed). We talked about how to have hope in the midst of helplessness and accepting God’s will in difficult circumstances.

Some good friends of ours are getting married this weekend, and Fr. Dave actually is celebrating two weddings: one on Saturday and one on Monday! I am celebrating the 25th anniversary of my proposal on Friday. Fr. Dave shared some funny wedding stories and invited you all to share a funny story with us, if you have one. As always, email us at

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Back to School!

I always enjoy this time of year, when my kids go back to school and classes start at Franciscan. Probably because I work at a college, but the end of August feels more like “New Year’s Day” than January 1st does.

We had an incredible weekend welcoming new students to Franciscan last weekend, and my son Bobby was one of them! Fr. Dave and I share some fun stories of what happened and the people we met.

I must admit I was behind on emails, so I tried to catch up a the beginning of the episode. Apparently, we have a lot of teenagers who listen to the podcast! I give them a shout out, with a promise that any teenager who emails us will get their name said on the pod.

A lot of this episode is a conversation about the saints we celebrate this week: St. Louis (who is a patron saint of the Franciscan TORs), St. Monica, and St. Augustine. We close with a famous prayer from Augustine.

We also talk about the Scriptural theme for Franciscan this year, which is Psalm 127:1. “Unless the Lord builds the house, in vain do the laborers build.” I wondered why we picked the “Yoda” translation of that verse, and I think I did a pretty good impersonation. Especially for that time in the morning.

Praying for all of you who are returning to school or having your kids go back to school!

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