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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A Life of Service

Those of you who regularly listen to Speaking with Deacons (and God bless you for doing so) might have noticed that my bi-weekly podcast became a monthly podcast last week. It was a crazy month with too many things going on, not the least of which was trying to finish up my diaconate formation. So something had to give, and it was this podcast.

I had actually thought the only SWD podcast I’d get to do this month would be something about my ordination, but thankfully Fr. Dave mentioned that Dcn. Harold Burke-Sivers was in town to film an episode of Franciscan University Presents. I reached out to him to see if he would be willing to record a podcast while he was in town, and he was kind enough to say yes!

Dcn. Harold is really fantastic and it was great to have him on the show. He has a book coming out in a few weeks called Our Life of Service and he shared both some of the content of that book as well as his own personal experience of being a deacon. If you want to more about him, go to

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Spiritual Attack

I’m ten days away from being ordained a deacon, and it feels like everything is hitting the proverbial fan. So when Fr. Dave asked me what we should talk about on the podcast, I immediately answered, “Spiritual attack.”

I’m not one to see the devil behind every bush, but I’m also not naive to the spiritual battle that goes on around us. I really appreciated Fr. Dave’s advice, especially when he suggested to, “not give the devil too much credit.” Sometimes things are tough without any kind of spiritual influence, but the devil would be more than happy to let you think he is in charge. He isn’t, Jesus is.

Hope you are as blessed by this conversation as I was!

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Misadventures in Switzerland (and Bob, Solo)

It was only while recording the podcast that I learned what happened to Fr. Dave last week. As you will hear, they wouldn’t let him fly through Switzerland because he wasn’t vaccinated, even though he had a test that showed he had antibodies (which is at least good as, if not potentially better than being vaccinated) and he also had proof that he tested negative for COVID. What is just as crazy is that he wasn’t even trying to leave the airport—he just needed to transfer to another terminal! COVID is a real thing and governments have the duty to protect their citizens, but sometimes it seems we have thrown all logic out the window. Especially since they let him roam around the airport as he waited for his flight back to the US. I feel very badly for those who have to enforce policies such as those.

I’m in Virginia right now which has been the “epicenter” of children’s educational issues. I got a chance to share with Fr. Dave how tough it is finding the balance of a) protecting your kids from harmful cultural influences and b) not isolating them completely so they can be a part of transforming the culture in the future. I pray to God I’m finding that right balance with my kids.

Tomorrow is the feast of St. Charles Borromeo, who is one of my favorite saints! I hope you enjoy the podcast. Thanks to all who gave me a shout out for my solo episode last week. I was glad to have Fr. Dave back.

Wait… I just realized that in the craziness of last week, I forgot to put last week’s “Bob, Solo” podcast on this page! Oops. I’ve included it below, too. It is about half the length of our usual podcast since there was only half of us there 🙂

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I must admit I started this podcast in a bit of a down mood because of, well… this:

This was a custom Taylor I found many years ago at a guitar shop in New Hampshire. I used to own a few different guitars. When I got this one, I sold them all because I thought, “why would I play anything else?” Well, I now I have an answer. At some point, Fr. Dave tried to compare my anguish with baseball. The man has no heart. No heart!

But he does tell interesting stories, like how the Filet-O-Fish was created. So I think I’ll keep him around, at least another week.

In addition to my guitar depression, we also had a tremendous amount of technical difficulties with this recording for some reason. We needed to start and stop a couple times to get it right. My gratitude to the folks at FUS who edited the podcast together—it came out much better than I thought it would!

Alas, we couldn’t salvage the video. However, a young fan named Francesco put together a brief stop-motion Lego loop of us, so we used that instead! Enjoy 🙂

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A Deacon’s Advice

St. Paul wrote to Timothy, “And what heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will have the ability to teach others as well” (2 Tim 2:2). That was the Scripture ringing in my ear when I got to interview Deacon Tom Fox for this podcast, an older brother in Christ who shared some stories from his seventeen years in the diaconate and gave some great advice.

As I share in the podcast, I first met Dcn. Tom at a Priests, Deacons, and Seminarians conference, maybe about 15 years ago. He came up to me and asked if I could be on his podcast called, “Catholic Vitamins.” I don’t think I had even heard of a podcast before! So it only seemed fitting that I invite him on mine 🙂

He just completed recording Catholic Vitamins after 13 years, most of which where weekly episodes. I didn’t know this when I did the recording, but you can still hear them (they are on Apple Podcasts, not sure about other platforms).

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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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