Steubenville Middle East

I was tremendously blessed to host the Steubenville St. Louis Mid-America 2 Youth Conference last weekend, even to the point of tears! A shout out to all the team, staff, volunteers, and (most importantly) youth ministers who made it such a wonderful event. Fr. Dave also had a great week spending time with fellow friars for their annual meeting.

The bulk of this podcast is a conversation about the new regulations that Pope Francis made regarding what was once called the “Extraordinary Form.” As always, we try to speak of it in a hopeful way (especially for those who feel hurt by it) and attempt to put it into context.

Finally, we discuss one of the great saints of the Church: St. Mary Magdalene, whose feast day is tomorrow!

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Authentically Licensed Prop Replica

Doctor Strange has always been one of my favorite superheroes. Maybe it is was because I loved the magic elements of Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia. When I played Dungeons and Dragons as a kid my character was usually a wizard (Magic Missile! 3X damage!) or at least something with magic powers. Now that I’m older, have some white in my hair, and actually have a doctorate, I feel even more connected to him!

Last Christmas, my wife got me what she thought was an “Eye of Agamotto” replica (that’s the necklace that Doctor Strange wears that has the Time Stone in it), but it turned out to be a small piece of jewelry. Somewhat disappointing. So we returned that and ordered a real replica, which just arrived at my house a few days ago.

So, of course I wore it to my recording of They That Hope. Why does Fr. Dave get to wear all the cool outfits? Okay, he only has one outfit. But still.

It was great to be face to face again as we’ve spent the past few weeks on the road calling in from various locations. Though we didn’t plan it (yes, we do actually plan things), we discussed the challenges of bring kids to Mass (not that Fr. Dave has any experience in that). Because I think deep down we wish we were doing a sports podcast, we talked about the Euros (soccer) and the NBA Finals. Finally, we discussed how we can share our faith in public and the wonderful example given to us by two saints the Church celebrates this week: St. Kateri and St. Bonaventure.

So grateful for all of you who listen and give us feedback. You can always shoot us an email at

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The Power of Baptism

I think Baptism is a pretty underrated sacrament. Perhaps it is because many “cradle” Catholics don’t have a memory of it since they were infants when they were baptized. Though the Eucharist is rightly considered the “sacraments of sacraments”, the Catechism emphasizes that Baptism is the most necessary of all sacraments, since it is the entrance to all other sacramental grace. “Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte “a new creature,” an adopted son of God, who has become a ‘partaker of the divine nature,’ member of Christ and co-heir with him, and a temple of the Holy Spirit” (Catechism 1265). Incredible!

I was grateful to talk about this with Dcn. Larry Oney, who was baptized as an adult. In our discussion, Dcn. Larry emphasized that Baptism wasn’t just something in our past but something we need to “activate” in our lives today. We don’t first receive the Holy Spirit in the sacrament of Confirmation, but in our Baptism, and we need to claim those graces in our lives everyday. A very empowering conversation!

Dcn. Larry is a permanent deacon for the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans serving at Divine Mercy Parish in Kenner, Louisiana. He lives in the New Orleans area with his wife Andi. Deacon Oney’s dynamic preaching style and message of hope has led to hundreds of speaking engagements across the globe; from Europe to Africa to Brazil to Canada and throughout the United States. Deacon Oney is the founder and president of Hope and Purpose Ministries. Find out more at

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The Sound of Austria

Fr. Dave calls in from Austria and I learn how sensitive he is to asking about The Sound of Music. I call in from New Hampshire and we have a great conversation about the importance of leisure and spending time with family and friends. We conclude by sharing about our prayer lives and Fr. Dave gives some great advice on how to grow deeper in prayer.

Summer Vacation

This week, I was the one who wasn’t in Steubenville! I called in from Grantham, New Hampshire (where my mom has a place) while Fr. Dave called from in his spartan dwelling in the Holy Spirit Friary. My surroundings inspired a brief conversation about summer camps and vacations.

From there we talked about popular headlines in the news: abortion, transgender athletes, critical race theory, etc. Fr. Dave said the heart of all of those issues are a lack of understanding what a human person really is. I talked a little bit about how important it is that we do a good catechesis on creation. People need to know we were not made by luck, but by love.

We concluded by talking about yesterday’s feast day of Saints Peter and Paul. It is easy to underestimate the significant divide between Jews and Gentiles in the time of the early Church. They are a powerful example of how the Holy Spirit can bring together two very different groups of people and unite them in the Body of Christ. It is so important that we don’t approach each other as topics to debate but as people to love. We pray at the end for the grace to be able to do that.

Next week Fr. Dave will be in Austria. Let’s hope his background is more interesting!

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Our Need for Healing

This is one of my favorite podcasts I’ve ever recorded. I got to talk to Sr. Miriam Heidland, who is an amazing woman of God, and I got to do it in front of an amazing audience of priests and deacons at the Priests, Deacons, and Seminarians conference at Franciscan University of Steubenville. A couple of weeks ago I got to do my first live podcast (for “They That Hope”) and it was great to get a second shot at it, since I learned a lot! I pray you are very blessed by this episode, even if you aren’t interested in the diaconate!

Listen at Apple Podcasts:

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Cheese Packers

As we finished this week’s episode of They That Hope, my friend and guitar player John Paul Von Arx came into the studio.

“Hey, can you turn the camera off for me?” I asked.

He looked at my iPhone on the tripod. “It wasn’t on.”


I’ve been recording the video for They That Hope since January, and I guess I should be more surprised that I haven’t made this mistake already. Fr. Dave looked at me and asked, “what should we do?”

I shrugged. “I guess no video this week.” Most people listen to the audio anyway. But then I remembered that some people like to listen through YouTube, even if there isn’t any video to watch. So my plan B was to record an apology, put up a static image, and leave it at that.

And then… plan C. A good friend of mine does video animation. You can check out his stuff at I told him I had an “animation emergency” and needed his help. He jumped right in! If you don’t know this, animation is a lot of work. We originally hoped to have the lips move with the audio, but for a 40 video that would have taken a lot more effort and time than we had. So, using the original show artwork, he made us move a bit and it is WAY more interesting than looking at a picture. Thanks, Will!

Here’s the title and description of the episode. Hope you enjoy it!

Cheese Packers

Fr. Dave and Bob share their thoughts on the Priests, Deacons, and Seminarians Confer… uh, Retreat, the bishops’ upcoming statement on the Eucharist, and the Nativity of St. John the Baptist.

Certificate of Courage

Fr. Dave and Bob tell stories of courage and cowardice, discuss the importance of religious liberty, and reflect on what it means to be restored in Christ.

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Paradigms of Parish Renewal

Renewing a parish isn’t about changing what we do, but changing how we think. In this episode, Dcn. Keith Strohm shares five paradigms for parish renewal that are essential to move the Church from maintenance to mission. 

Deacon Keith Strohm is the former Director of the Office for the New Evangelization and a deacon for the Archdiocese of Chicago. A well-known international and conference keynote speaker, he has helped tens of thousands of men and women hear the Gospel message and encounter the mercy, love and power of Jesus Christ. Deacon Keith has extensive experience in creating and sustaining processes and programs of evangelization and formation at the group, parish and diocesan level that focus on the making, maturation and missioning of disciples of Jesus Christ. He is the Executive Director of M3 Ministries and a long-time teacher and collaborator with the Catherine of Siena Institute. Find out more at

A Labor of Love

I’ve got something that I’m really excited to share with you that I’ve been working on for the past few months. It is a new podcast called, “Speaking With Deacons”, which I hope will give inspiration and insight for those who are ordained to, in formation for, or just curious about the permanent diaconate. In the first episode, I share about how I feel God has called me to be a deacon and I think you will be blessed by that (even if you are not a deacon). Future episodes (they will be released every other week) will feature interviews with deacons, hence the title of the show. It will be about hearing their stories and getting their advice. These interviews are part of my own journey to becoming a deacon, as I know I’ve got a lot to learn! So I invite you to be a part of that journey with me. 

I was joking with my friend Gene (who helped me set the podcast up) that this podcast is the the definition of a “niche” market. Of the 14K active permanent deacons in the US, the majority are over 65 and may not know what a podcast is or how to listen to one! But that’s okay. It is a labor of love. 

The #1 reason people listen to a podcast is through the recommendation of someone else. So please, if you know someone who is a deacon or is considering it, mention this podcast to them. And to God be all the glory!

Here’s the five minute clip on YouTube:

And here is the full 30 minute episode:

And the here are the major links to the audio podcast:

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