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!

Why Did the Word Become Flesh? (Part 2)

Here is a first: recording a podcast during a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game!

Well, we weren’t at a Bucs game. It was on TV. I was doing a Steubenville Parish Mission in Brewster, NY while Fr. Dave was sitting comfortably in the Holy Spirit Friary in Steubenville, Ohio. Though we finished the podcast before the game was over, I did add a closing 30 seconds after we said goodbye. Like an end-credit scene in a Marvel movie, it might be the best thing about this episode!

I was really excited to hear Fr. Dave share about some of the ministries our students have created doing ministry with those who have same-sex attraction and struggle with gender identity. It is one of the most difficult and important things the Church needs to address today, and I’m proud of these kinds of initiatives done by our current students and alumni.

Finally, we end the show looking at the second reason for the Incarnation: that we would know God’s love. I pray you are having a blessed Advent.

Why Did the Word Become Flesh? (Part 1)

Yes, this was a late night podcast, but no… we weren’t drinking. Though I can’t explain why Fr. Dave introduced himself as “Fr. Bob.”

We had a lot of fun with this episode. We realized that we hadn’t talked about movies in a while, so… we tried. It is really hard to talk about recent movies with someone who hasn’t seen any movies recently. But like most things in this podcast, we dove right in and hopefully it will make you laugh. Or cry.

I’m really excited about our Advent theme over the next four weeks. We are examining the four reasons the Catechism gives for “Why did the Word become flesh?” I remember the first time I read the Catechism and this section really jumped out at me. The first reason that we discuss is, “so that we would be reconciled to God.”

I pray you are having a blessed Advent, and that our conversations help prepare you to dive more deeply into this sacred season.

The Difference

I’d like to begin by apologizing for not combing my hair. It is the kind of thing I only realized after I had edited the video and saw it full screen. I’m essentially trying to pre-empt my mother from making this comment. She will likely make it anyway. And I deserve it.

I suppose I was just so excited to record a Speaking With Deacons episode, I forgot to check!

It has been one year since I’ve been ordained, and I wanted to record a podcast reflecting on “the difference” I’ve felt in ministry. I feel like it has taken a full year to really “feel” like a deacon. It has been an awesome experience, and I’m excited to share these stories with you.

In a way, I feel like this episode closes the trajectory of episodes that began the podcast, when I was in formation about the diaconate and was asking other deacons for wisdom on my journey ahead. I still have a lot to learn about being a deacon! However, I feel like I’m getting the feel of it.

In the next few weeks, I’ll be releasing new episodes of Speaking With Deacons in a slightly different format. Instead of having a different deacon per episode, I will have a few episodes with the same deacon, talking about a specific subject or book. Coming next, Dcn. Mike Welker and I will be going through What Does God Want? by Father Michael Scanlan. In the meantime, enjoy this episode!

Bury Me in Birkenstocks

I’m excited to share that I baptized my first baby! And I got to do my good friends, John Paul and Sarah Von Arx. Miriam Jane was born a few weeks ago pre-maturely, and there seemed to be some potential heart complications, so I did an emergency baptism in the hospital. Thankfully, everything worked out great and baby and parents just headed home a couple of days ago.

This episode focused a bit on the concept of “sportswashing,” which is currently happening in Qatar right now with the World Cup. As a soccer fan, it really sours the experience. But you can hear more thoughts in the episode.

At the end of the episode, we talk a little about Fr. Dominic Scotto, TOR, who passed away on Monday. I have wonderful memories of Fr. Dominic, who was also a professor in the Theology Department. May he enter into eternal rest.

Next week, we are going to begin a four week series on Advent. Enjoy!