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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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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