Dr. Leonard DeLorenzo with the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame hosts the show Church Life Today. On the show, we will have conversations with Pastoral leaders, and scholars from around the country about issues that matter most to Church Life today.
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” The Lord Jesus proclaimed this mission of his in the midst of a mixed crowed, surrounded by both skeptics and his disciples. To know this gift of life that he brings is to encounter in him the fullness of life. It is a life not of convenience nor a life measured strictly by accomplishments, but a life of joy. When Jesus encountered the rich young man who undervalued his own life and the life of others, Jesus looked upon that young man and loved him. That look of love was an invitation to open up to joy. For those who rediscover themselves in the Lord's look of love, life begins anew, abundantly. My guest today has not only found herself in the Lord's look of love, but also is hoping to spend her life reflecting that look of love toward others. Maggie Garnett is a 2022 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, who will soon enter postulancy with the Sisters of Life, a religious community that vows to protect and enhance the sacredness of life. The Sisters of Life were founded by the late Cardinal John O'Connor of New York, who felt a strong call to do everything in his power to protect human life after he had a profound and distressing experience while visiting the Dachau concentration camp in Germany in 1975. After numerous frustrating attempts to pursue this calling, Cardinal O'Connor penned an article in the early 1990s in a local Catholic New York paper under the headline: “Help Wanted: Sisters of Life.” That article appeared across the country and hundreds of letters started pouring in in response. In 1991, 8 women gathered in New York as the founding members of this new community, and since then the community has grown to over a hundred sisters from across the globe, with missions across the United States. Maggie is now one of the latest young women who seeks to answer this call to love others into life. Together, we will talk about her discernment, the charism of life, the habits of prayer, and more.
As you may have heard on recent episodes of Church Life Today, Ignatius Press just released a new volume called The Chronicles of Transformation: A Spiritual Journey with C. S. Lewis. I am the editor of that volume, for which seven other scholars in theology, literature, and the arts joined me to write contemplative, spiritual essays on Lewis' Chronicles. We also brought in the original illustrations of an incredible visual artist and an original poem cycle from a remarkable poet. The idea of The Chronicles of Transformation is to help adult and young adult readers to rediscover (or discover for the first time) the joy of entering into Narnia, except this time to be even more mindful about the deep and abiding moral and spiritual transformation that can take place there for those of us who dare to become childlike. In previous weeks we've shared interviews with some of the contributors to the volume––and maybe we will have some more of the contributors join us soon––but today we want to bring back an interview that was not explicitly about Lewis or his chronicles, though it had everything to do with the enduring value of children's literature, for children and for adults. This interview with the Rev. Dr. Daniel McClain first aired in 2019 after he gave a lecture at Notre Dame on just this topic. I hope you enjoy it, and I also hope you will check out our volume on The Chronicles of Transformation.
What you read goes a long way toward shaping the kind of person you become. At the same time, the kind of person you have become goes a long way toward determining how you read what you read, what you think about and how, and the ways in which you interpret the world around you. This mutual shaping of what and how you read, and the kind of person you become is fundamental to C. S. Lewis' theory of education, especially but not only in regard to the education of children. His classic philosophical work on education and moral formation is The Abolition of Man, but my guest on this episode also wants to show us how Lewis' understanding of a truly human education forms and animates especially one of his seven Chronicles of Narnia –– namely, The Silver Chair. Dr. Rebekah Lamb is a lecturer in theology and the arts at the School of Divinity at the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland. She is one of the four principal faculty members in the Institute for Theology, Imagination, and the Arts. She is also a contributor to a new volume from Ignatius Press for which I served as editor––that title is The Chronicles of Transformation: A Spiritual Journey with C. S. Lewis. Dr. Lamb's chapter is called, “Out of the Shadows: C. S. Lewis and the Idea of Education in The Silver Chair.” That chapter is accompanied by six other chapters from other scholars, treating the rest of six Chronicles of Narnia, as well as by seven original illustrations, seven original poems, and an introductory chapter about arriving at Narnia. This volume is primarily intended for adult and young adult readers, to help you rediscover the childlike wonder that is absolutely necessary to enjoy the deep spiritual treasures of these beloved children's stories… which, as it turns out, are not just for children. We first recorded this episode a few years ago when Dr. Lamb visited Notre Dame to give a lecture on The Silver Chair, which served as the basis for her chapter in The Chronicles of Transformation. As for me, I'm Leonard DeLorenzo, this is Church Life Today, a production of the McGrath Institute for Church Life. I'm glad you're here.
Fr. Michael Ward is a member of the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford. He is the author or editor of several books, including Heresies and How to Avoid Them, The Cambridge Companion to C. S. Lewis, and After Humanity: A Guide to C. S. Lewis' ‘Abolition of Man'. But it was another one of his books that Walter Hooper, the esteemed literary advisor to the Estate of C. S. Lewis, lauded as “unsurpassed in showing a comprehensive knowledge of and depth of insight into C. S. Lewis' works.” That book is the groundbreaking and persuasive Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis. Fr. Ward brought his world-class expertise on the works of C. S. Lewis to a new volume recently released from Ignatius Press, for which I myself happened to serve as editor. This book is The Chronicles of Transformation: A Spiritual Journey with C. S. Lewis. In the book we take Narnia seriously as a place where the choices and actions, the desires and dispositions of children affect their own destinies and the fate of the world. It is a place where children learn what it means to grow in maturity, to become responsible and develop character. But it is also a place where adults can always start over in relearning what is all too quickly forgotten, for the sake of their own moral and spiritual transformation. For his part, Fr. Ward authored the chapter on Lewis's Prince Caspian. In his chapter, Fr. Ward helps us to get acquainted with and be delighted by what it feels like to live inside a chivalric tradition. We first recorded this episode a few years ago when Fr. Ward visited Notre Dame to give a lecture on Prince Caspian. Our conversation moves broadly across and deeply into the imagination of C. S. Lewis. As for me, I'm Leonard DeLorenzo, this is Church Life Today, a production of the McGrath Institute for Church Life. I'm glad you're here.
C. S. Lewis published the first of the Chronicles of Narnia in 1950, followed by six others. Over the decades since, parents have read these books to their children as bedtime stories, and children have read them for themselves when they got a little older. That is a very profitable way to explore Narnia. But can grown-ups return to Narnia, finding meaning and wonder there for themselves? To this I say, emphatically: YES. That emphatic YES motivates a new book we just released with Ignatius Press called The Chronicles of Transformation: A Spiritual Journey with C. S. Lewis. I am actually the editor of the volume, in which we challenge adult readers to contemplate Lewis' chronicles as profound, meaningful, and delightful immersions into a pilgrimage toward moral and spiritual growth. In the volume you will find one essay for each of the seven chronicles, with each one written by a different scholar of theology, literature, and the arts. There are also seven original illustrations in the volume––again, one for each chronicle––that present stunning glimpses into the narratives through rich symbolism. These illustrations are accompanied by a sevenfold poem cycle, completely new and original to this book, that draws us toward wondering at the majestic Lion Aslan whom we come to know for a little while in the vast land of Narnia. And before all of that, there is an introductory chapter on “Arriving at Narnia” which helps us prepare to re-engage these chronicles and the journey they beckon us toward, while also teaching us about what Lewis set out to do with his chronicles. The author of that introductory chapter is the guest on today's episode, which was originally recorded a few years ago for a lecture series we hosted that first explored this whole topic. David Fagerberg is professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame. For years and years, he has taught a hugely popular course on the theme of deification in the literature of C. S. Lewis, in addition another courses on G. K. Chesterton and a whole host of courses in his field of specialization, which is liturgical theology. Among his book publications are On Liturgical Theology, Liturgical Mysticism, and Liturgical Dogmatics. You can find his essay on “Arriving at Narnia” at the beginning of The Chronicles of Transformation: A Spiritual Journey with C. S. Lewis, edited by Leonard DeLorenzo (that's me) and published by Ignatius Press.
Salvation comes from the Latin word “salus”, which means “health” and “well-being”. Illness and sin are therefore both, in different ways, a lack of the health and well-being that is intended for us. We might even say that we are created for wholeness just as we are created for holiness, and that growing in one means growing in the other. Salvation is both a matter of wholeness and holiness. The Martin Center for Integration seeks to bring together what is all too often kept apart: mental health and faith development. It is common for either one or the other of those two to be emphasized, but far too rare for both sanity and sanctity to be cared for and promoted together, in their own distinctive but coordinate ways. Today I welcome the husband and wife founders of the Martin Center to talk with us about this mission of integration, the needs that they are responding to, and how we become really whole, really healthy, really holy. Pat Millea is Formation and Operations Director for the Martin Center for Integration, while Kenna Millea is Clinical Director for the Center. Both have extensive experience in Church ministry, with advanced degrees in theology and formation in ministry from the University of Notre Dame, while Kenna is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapi To learn more, go to martincenterforintegration.com
Cases with issues of religious liberty regularly make their way before the Supreme Court, and this year was no exception. In the decisions that the Court rendered in summer 2022, there were at least four cases where questions of religious liberty were adjudicated. If you have been listening to our show for some time, you may know that we regularly create episodes about religious liberty cases whenever the Supreme Court decides them, and our resident expert and guide to understanding these cases and the impact of the decisions is Professor Rick Garnett of the Notre Dame Law School, who is the founding director of the Program on Church, State, and Society, as well as a fellow of the Religious Liberty Initiative. This year, Rick has joined me for two consecutive episodes, with this being the second. In the first episode––right before this one––we talked about the decision in the Dobbs case, which overturned Roe v. Wade. Now we will talk about a host of religious liberty cases concerning state funding for school choice, the right to religious expression for government employees, non-discrimination on the basis of religion for private speech in public spaces, the religious rights of prisoners on death row, and even a “non-case” about religious exemptions to vaccination mandates. I hope you will find this conversation as helpful and educational as I do.
Each year, the so called “June Court” decisions from the Supreme Court garner quite a lot of attention, but few in recent memory have received close to the same level of attention as Dobbs v. Jackson, which effectively overturned Roe v. Wade. By this point, everyone knows about this decision, though fewer of us know as much as we might about the actual case that was before the court, why it was decided the way it was, and what this really means for abortion law going forward. To help us grow in our understanding of what has taken place and what is coming next––or what's not coming next––I am happy to welcome back to the show Professor Rick Garnett of the Notre Dame Law School, who has become our show's resident expert on the Supreme Court and especially cases relating to religious liberty. While Dobbs was not a religious liberty case, a number of other cases on which the Court ruled in the summer of 2022 were. To give due time to all these cases, my conversation with Professor Garnett will span two episodes. In this first one, we focus on Dobbs, then in the next one we'll talk about several religious liberty cases. A little more about my guest, who has joined me several times before. In addition to being a Professor of Law here at Notre Dame, Rick Garnett is also the founding director of the Program on Church, State, and Society in the Notre Dame Law School, as well as a fellow of the School's Religious Liberty Initiative. He has published widely and some of his recent articles on the Supreme Court decisions have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Law, City Journal, and the Daily News.
The Christian life is a life of creativity, the creativity to receive the Good News of Jesus Christ and allow him to transform every dimension of who you are, every aspect of how you live, wherever you find yourself in life. That's the theory, but how does this happen in practice? Most especially, how does this happen in the business world, in the professions, in the life of work where it can be especially challenging to integrate faith into daily practice, and might lead to loneliness and longing before it yields a sense of communion and fulfillment? Young Catholic Professionals was launched to in 2010 to help young adult Catholics meet these challenges, to help lead one another into a more holistic and vibrant life of faith, especially in consideration of their work and careers. Jennifer Baugh, the founder and executive director of Young Catholic Professionals, joins me today to talk about the restlessness and desire of Catholics in their 20s and 30s, the communities and mentoring that her organization establishes to support and empower these young adults, and the ways in which this service is ultimately ordered to the life of the Church and engagement in local parishes.
The theology of the Eucharist in St. Thomas Aquinas may seem complex, but that complexity is conformed to the tremendous mystery of Christ's gift of himself in the sacrament. There is growth ahead for us not primarily in understanding the Eucharist as if we could ever achieve something like conceptual mastery, but especially in growing in love for and devotion to the Son of God who acts in love for us. If we can allow St. Thomas to help us raise our minds to the wonders of Christ's Eucharistic gift, perhaps we can then better raise our hearts into union with him. Our guide to helping us learn from St. Thomas's theology of the Eucharist is Dr. Michael Hahn, assistant professor of Sacred Scripture at Mount St. Mary's Seminary. Our conversation today follows from a lecture Dr. Hahn gave at the annual Academy of Catholic Theology conference, where he spoke on the sacraments and sanctification in the theology of Thomas Aquinas.
St. Augustine's Eucharistic theology is more controversial than you might think. It is controversial because throughout the Christian tradition, rival theological camps have appealed to Augustine to further their own arguments and Christian practice. It would not be uncommon for Augustine to be arguing against Augustine in these debates––at least in terms of how Augustine is presented and made to fit into the theological and spiritual program of those who seek to inherit his legacy. So what is Augustine's Eucharistic theology and how does it accommodate this breadth of expression? On today's show we want to try to understand what the Eucharist really means for Augustine. And I've got just the person to help us understand. Elizabeth Klein is Assistant Professor of Theology at the Augustine Institute. She is the author of God: What Every Catholic Should Know, and of Augustine's Theology of Angels. She recently delivered a paper at the annual conference for the Academy of Catholic Theology on the topic of “Augustine on the Eucharist as Sacrament of Unity.” Our conversation today will build off of what she developed for that lecture.
God is Eucharistic. That is a bold and profound claim. It is different from only saying that God gives the Eucharist or that Christ is made present in the Eucharist. To say that our God is a Eucharistic God has profound consequences for, well, everything… including how we revere and adore the Eucharist now, and how we come to know God through the Eucharist. My guest today wrote an essay under the title “The Key to Understanding God” in which he brings forward the Eucharistic thought of the Russian Orthodox theologian Sergius Bulgakov and the Roman Catholic theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar. In both, we find the concerted effort to apprehend the entire Christian life, including the intellectual life, from and toward the Eucharist. The Eucharist, in other words, is the key to understanding all things, including and especially who God is and how God is. These are deep matters with surprising relevance, which together we are going to seek to understand and consider better. Our guide and my guest is Jonathan Ciraulo, assistant professor of theology at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology. His essay, “The Key to Understanding God,” appeared in the Church Life Journal in April 2022, and his new book with the University of Notre Dame Press is The Eucharistic Form of God: Hans Urs von Balthasar's Sacramental Theology.
This week we bring you another past episode from June 2019 with Maureen Condic. Do you want to know when human life begins? And how to explain that to other people? That's what I'm going to ask our guest today, Dr. Maureen Condic, Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah Medical School. In 2015, Dr. Condic was appointed to the Pontifical Academy for Life, a distinguished group of physicians, scientists, and theologians from the international community whose mission it is to study questions and issues regarding the promotion and defense of human life from an interdisciplinary perspective. Three years later, in 2018, Dr. Condic received a Presidential appointment to the National Board of Science, the oversight body for the National Science Foundation. Her research focuses on the development and regeneration of the nervous system, spinal cord repair and regeneration, and embryonic development, while she cultivates a strong commitment to public education and science literacy. In June 2019, she delivered the St. Albert Award Lecture at the annual convention of the Society of Catholic Scientists.
This week we bring you another past episode from February 2021, with Taylor Coolman. “We have to imagine a people so deeply committed to their neighbors that they would risk their lives for them—and risk their lives perhaps not even to save them, but simply to be present and perhaps to speak to them of another life. As we imagine that, we begin to see the enormity and beauty of our own vocation as Christians.” This at the very heart of what it means to be “pro-life” Those are the words of Holly Taylor Coolman, who invites and challenges us, as Christians, to heed the central call of the Gospel to provide care to the suffering, to offer hospitality to those who in need, and to build communities that are indeed “pro-life”, through and through. Dr. Taylor Coolman is assistant professor of theology at Providence College, where she also serves as chair of the department of theology. She is here to talk with me about foster care, in particular, which was the subject of an essay she published in our Church Life Journal, and a call she has heeded in her own life.
This week we bring you a past episode from December, 2020 with Mary O'Callaghan. Every child is a mystery, but as scientific advances in prenatal testing grow, so does the temptation to know more and more about our unborn children. Will they be healthy? What are the chances they will have a disability? With questions like these comes another question: how much is too much when it comes to trying to know who our children will be? My guest is Dr. Mary O'Callaghan, a developmental psychologist who, among other things, studies, writes about, and teaches on “disability selective abortion” and issues of human dignity.
This week we bring you 2 past episodes from July, 2020 with Tricia Bruce. This is Part 2. Americans do not talk much about abortion, but we can under the right conditions. This is one of the conclusions that Dr. Tricia Bruce and her team of researches posit in the report on their groundbreaking and comprehensive interview study focusing on abortion attitudes in the United States. Dr. Bruce is joining me for the second of a two-part interview on her report “How Americans Understand Abortion.” Dr. Bruce's study was conducted in partnership with the McGrath Institute for Church Life and you can download a copy of the report for free at mcgrath.nd.edu/resources. I'm Leonard DeLorenzo, this is Church Life Today, and you can find part 1 of my interview with Dr. Bruce on our Church Life Today podcast. ------ Live: www.redeemerradio.com Follow Redeemer Radio on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @RedeemerRadio Follow McGrath Institute for Church Life on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @McGrathND
This week we bring you 2 past episodes from July of 2020 with Tricia Bruce. This is Part 1. American do not talk much about abortion. That's sounds strange, doesn't it? We seem to hear a lot about abortion in the news, in politics, in relation to the Supreme Court, but in terms of everyday Americans in their interpersonal conversations, we are actually very quiet about abortion.. This is part of what Dr. Tricia Bruce and her team of researchers discovered in their groundbreaking and comprehensive interview study of abortion attitudes in the United States among “every Americans.” The report of their study was released in mid-July 2020 under the title “How Americans Understand Abortion.” This study was undertaken in partnership with our McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame, and you can download a copy of this report for free at mcgrath.nd.edu/resources. Today Dr. Bruce joins me, Leonard DeLorenzo, for a two-part interview to discuss her report and to offer us some observations and insights about American attitudes towards abortion. This is part 1 of our interview, while part 2 will air next week on Redeemer radio or, if you are listening on our podcast, part 2 is the very next episode. ------ Live: www.redeemerradio.com Follow Redeemer Radio on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @RedeemerRadio
If you attend Mass regularly, maybe you've thought that your parish is a little less full than it had been before the pandemic. Or, maybe you're someone who has noticed that you yourself haven't been attending Sunday Mass quite as consistently as you did before. Some parish and diocesan leaders have some evidence about their own Mass attendance numbers to confirm the perceived drop in participation, but many of the rest have hunches or our own unscientific observations. Regardless, for everyone who notices and is concerned about the decrease in Mass attendance, the question of whether or not those who are not there will come back lingers. Thanks to a new report from Vinea Research, we now have survey data to support or challenge our assumptions, and to give us some reliable predictors about future Mass attendance, as well as church giving, faith in God, and prayer. My guest today is Hans Plate, founder and president of Vinea Research, which seeks to support the Church by helping it better understand those it serves through expert market research and insights. He joins me to discuss the findings of his team's study on “The Impact of COVID-19 on U.S. Catholics.”
In his apostolic constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae, St. John Paul II wrote that a Catholic university or college is “a living institutional wtiness to Christ and his message, so vitally important in cultures marked by secularism.” He continues by saying that everything in these Catholic institutions should be conducted in harmony with the evangelizing mission of the Church, including offering an “education in a faith-context that forms men and women capable of rational and critical judgement and conscious of the transcendent dignity of the human person.” I wonder if you might agree that Catholic colleges and universities that seek to form young adults holistically and intentionally in this manner are perhaps more important today than they ever have been. My guest today carries the responsibility of helping provide just such a Christocentric formation in an intentional college culture. Dr. Joe Wurtz is Dean of Students at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, where he also serves as Executive Director of the Gregorian Fellows. A graduate of Benedictine himself where he earned a BA in philosophy, he also holds a master's degree in Higher Ed Administration from the University of Kansas, and a doctorate in Higher Ed Administration from George Washington University. As Dean of Students, he oversees programs and activities involving residence life, student development, intramural programs, student health services, counseling, student activities, and career development at Benedictine. He joins me to talk about the vision of student formation at a Catholic college in our day and age.
Christ did not rise from the dead so we could gorge ourselves on marshmallow Peeps. Gorging is an act of singular enjoyment, and it only takes a moment to look around our world to see how disastrous it is when people just fill themselves with what they want… besides, it would be just gross if all we wanted was to be stuffed with marshmallow Peeps. The true measure of Easter joy is the degree to which the disciples of the Risen Lord indulge in the good of others. The celebration of Easter is ordered to communion, so much so that Easter works centrifugally through Christ's disciples: we move the joy outwards. Using Pope Francis's beloved term, Easter is the season for “missionary disciples.” The heart of the mission is Christ, the source of the mission is his Resurrection, and the power of the mission is the Holy Spirit he imparts to us. With this mission, we, his disciples, bring him to others and work to unite all in him. This is a special episode of Church Life Today. Only very rarely do I create an episode without a guest, but when I do it is usually to offer a special seasonal episode like this one where I try offer a series of reflections that, I hope, are of some interest or use to you in your prayer, in your life, for your imagination. So today I want to spend this time with you asking, How do we embrace and live out the mission of Easter? The short answer: By heeding the Gospel and then exercising our own “missionary creativity” to become the disciples Christ frees us to be. And what I want is to offer is some in exploring this more fully by talking about four ways to fulfill our Easter mission––one way from each of the four Gospels.
With the right kind of care, support, and attention, the last days and months of an aging loved one's life can become a source of new life for those who draw near to them. My guest today witnesses to this splendid, glorious truth in her new book about accompanying her father through death into life. Noreen Madden McInnis is the director of liturgy and spirituality for the Diocese of San Diego and author of the book Keep at It, Riley! The title of the book is a saying passed down through generations of Noreen's Irish Catholic family––the Maddens––who never quit in the face of challenges in life and never quit on each other. In her testimony of journeying with her father and her mother toward their deaths and, ultimately, into the love of God, that resolve and resilience is shown to be a profound commitment to the dignity and beauty of the aged, the infirm, and the dying. Noreen's book is part of the Magenta series from New City Press, which is committed to healing the ills of polarization by uplifting visions that heal and unify, especially for and in the Church.
When we, as Christians, engage in evangelization that seeks to transform our culture, what metaphor tends to inform our thoughts and actions? Frequently, we land on the metaphor of “war”––we are engaged in a “culture war.” Have we thought, though, about the implications of that metaphor, about what it might do to us and what it might do to “the other” in our eyes? If we do think about that, perhaps we see that this metaphor, which has been widely adopted, might in fact be at odds with a truly Christian vision of ourselves, of others, and of engagement with culture more broadly. Fr. Aaron Wassmen has been developing ideas about the inaptness of the “culture war” metaphor for the evangelizing mission of the Church and for Christian's missionary activity. He spoke on this topic recently at a conference on Transforming Culture hosted by Benedictine College, in Atchison, Kansas. The title of his presentation made his conclusion pretty clear: “It's Time to Bury the Culture War Metaphor.” Fr. Aaron is vicar general and director of formation of the Glenmary Home Missioners. Before serving in leadership in his community, he was pastor of Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Windsor, North Carolina.
It's your friends who break your heart. That's the title of the article by Jennifer Senior for The Atlantic. It is an incisive and enlightening piece that also made me laugh out loud. Friendship doesn't get the kind of attention that other forms of relationship tend to get. It is not studied as much in psychology. It is not examined like family relationships for the sake of explaining the way someone is. It is not fretted over like romantic relationships or marriage. It is not obsessed over for the sake of maximizing productivity like the relationships in work culture. And yet, as Senior writes, “friendship is the rare kind of relationship that remains forever available to us as we age. It's a bulwark against stasis, a potential source of creativity and renewal in lives that otherwise narrow in time.” So Jennifer Senior writes about friendship, but from an unexpected perspective: from their end, the dissolution of friendship. In addition to her work with The Atlantic, Jennifer Senior has written for the New York Times and New York Magazine, among other publications. She is also the author of All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood.
When you hold a position of authority in Catholic education and you believe that the #1 goal of Catholic schools is to evangelize, then that affects everything you do. It affects who you hire and why, what your priorities are, how you think about curriculum and culture, and what you value in the hard decisions you have to make in times of trial or crisis. You give an account of why the kind of education you provide matters by what you place as your #1 goal, not just in print or in theory, but in practice. My guest today is shaping one of the largest and oldest Catholic school systems in the United States with precisely that goal in mind. Thomas Carroll is Secretary of Education and Superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Boston. A longtime leader in education and in community development, Mr. Carroll has been leading Catholic schools in Boston since 2019.
Do you or someone you know feel burned out by work? Have you questioned the place of work in your life, and how it balances with everything else? Do we work to live? Do we live to work? Do we reach for and sometimes touch value that is in our work and also somehow beyond our work? What is the meaning of work? Here's another question: Can philosophy help us find meaning and purpose at work? That is a question that my guest has been asking, and he is helping college students and other people out there in the world to think about and investigate the meaning and the good of work. Paul Blaschko is assistant teaching professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, where he now also serves as director of the Sheedy Family Program in Economy, Enterprise & Society within the College of Arts & Letters. Dr. Blaschko is deeply committed to matters of practical philosophy, and of doing philosophy in public, helping others to engage the world philosophically, as a way of life. In the past couple years, he developed and has been teaching a wildly successful course for undergraduate students on “The Working Life.” He is also now building a program focused on finding meaning in business through the liberal arts. Along with Meghan Sullivan, Dr. Blaschko is the author of The Good Life Method: Reasoning Through the Big Questions of Happiness, Faith, and Meaning. He joins me today to talk about what's going on with work, how we think about and approach work, and what difference developing a personal philosophy of work would make.
Missionaries venture to sites unseen, to open up the Gospel in new ways. The hard to get to places are the special province of missionaries, who exercise both creativity and commitment to get where others have not thought to go. We might think of missionaries sailing across seas or hiking across mountains, but a missionary's vision and aim can take on very different forms than those we see in movies. Sometimes, missionary work means recognizing the obstacles that impede access to the Gospel, or the Church's tradition, or spiritually edifying resources that enrich people's lives, and finding ways to lower those barriers to grant access where access was not previously granted. Such is the work and mission of the Xavier Society for the Blind, which came into existence over a century ago in response to a prayer that “God would inspire someone to take pity on the blind of the country for whom there was no Catholic book to be had.” The person who prayed that prayer became a co-founder of the society, and since then the Xavier Society for the Blind has been creating resources for blind and visually impaired persons, now most notably through braille reading materials and audio books. My guest today is the Executive Director of Xavier Society, Mr. Malachy Fallon. He joins me to talk about the mission of the society, the impact of its work, the model for evangelization that it provides, and the collaboration of a great many who help open up the treasures of the faith to those whose access might otherwise be obstructed.
Catholic schools extend and make present the life of Christ in his Church. Yes, Catholic education serves the students who are nurtured in its classrooms, but as we know the parents and families of those students are also often nurtured and even newly evangelized through the school. Catholic schools can be one of the most important ways in which the Church responds to the concrete needs and desires of a given community, and by doing so, draws people into intimacy and communion with Jesus Christ. Today I welcome to the show Dr. Matthew Vereecke, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Dallas, who will share with us not only his vision for Catholic education, but also the way in which his growing and diverse diocese activates the Church's evangelizing mission through its schools. Dr. Vereecke is in his seventh year as superintendent in Dallas, a role which he assumed after nearly a decade as a Catholic school director and as a principal.
“A woman who knows she's loved can do anything.” This fundamental belief animates the ministry of the Sisters of Life, who dedicate themselves to building up a culture of life and who work with the Lord to drive out the contempt for life in our world. It all begins with restoring the belief in one's own belovedness before God. In collaboration with our McGrath Institute for Church Life and CampCampo film production company, the Sisters of Life have created a new, 12-part original series on accompanying women into life. The series is called “Into Life: Love Changes Everything.” This series will be released, for free, on March 25, 2022, along with accompanying study and discussion guides, that are especially well suited for parishes, schools, and ministry groups. The hope is to reframe the conversations around abortion and the beauty of life through helping people learn how to listen and understand the heart of another, how to rejoice in the beauty of the individual person in an encounter of hope, and how to truly accompany someone into God's life and freedom. My guests today are two of the co-creators of this series. Sr. Marie Veritas is a Sister of Life, and Michael Campo is the founder of CampCampo and the series' director.
In countries with underfunded health systems, surgical care is often ignored and widely inaccessible to the poor. Local facilities lack appropriate supplies and equipment, medical professionals do not have the benefit of training in the latest techniques, and few can afford the high cost of surgery. An organization responding to this gap in healthcare is One World Surgery. Focusing heavily on forming local partnerships and capacity-building, One World Surgery has established a surgery center in Honduras and is developing one in the Dominican Republic. In Honduras, the Honduran staff leads the surgery center that serves patients on a daily basis, while volunteers and medical missionaries provide additional personnel support, education, and an extension into specialty services. Through its partnership with local health professionals and working in tandem with the local health care system, One World Surgery seeks to provide world-class surgical care and strengthen primary care for underserved communities. My guest today is Senior Director of Programs and Operations for One World Surgery. Kate Clitheroe graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor's degree in sociology and pre-med, before completing a master's in public health from Washington University in St. Louis. She has served in health care in Honduras for several organizations, and has been with One World Surgery for the past six years, both in Honduras and in the U.S. I first came to know Kate when she served as a Mentor in Faith in our Notre Dame Vision program while she was an undergrad, after she attended the program as a high school student herself. She joins me to talk about her work, the impact of One World Surgery, and what it means to live solidarity in action.
Does purgatory matter? Does it matter later, as in after we die? How about now? Does purgatory make a difference to who we are now as Christians, how we live now, what we are responsible for now, and our relationship to the dead now? My guest today has been researching and writing on purgatory for some time. Dr. Brett Salkeld is no stranger to the McGrath Institute for Church Life, where he has contributed to the Office for Life and Human Dignity, as well as to our Church Life Journal. He is the author of several books, including the recently released Transubstantiation: Theology, History and Christian Unity from Baker Academic, as well as the book Can Catholics and Evangelicals Agree about Purgatory and the Last Judgment?, which will figure into our conversation today. In addition to being the Archdiocesan Theologian of the Archdiocese of Regina in Canada, Brett also hosts the podcast “Thinking Faith,” where this very episode will also be shared. Today, my conversation with Brett is all about purgatory.
When people speak of “gender fluidity,” what is the understanding of the human body that is at play? When a researcher analyzes a dead body, are they seeing a still frame of what the body really is? How do we best conceive of––maybe even wonder about––the human body, and what does that mean for gender theories, feminist concerns, and biological sex? To guide us in thinking about all these things and more, Dr. Angela Franks joins me for a discussion today, building off of one of her recent essays which bears the title “The Body is a Formed Stream.” That essay appeared in the Church Life Journal. Dr. Franks is professor of theology at St. John's seminary in Boston and Senior Fellow at the Abigail Adams Institute in Cambridge. I'm excited about this conversation today because I think that what Dr. Franks both lays out and proposes can help all of us to think more clearly and in a richer way about the questions of embodiment, sex, and gender that are so difficult to think through today.
How would an authentically Catholic feminism both dialogue with and meaningfully differ from secular feminism? This is the focus of a new program from The Catholic Woman. The program is called “Cultivating Catholic Feminism.” It seeks to establish a framework for Catholic feminism through lesson and story and, from that framework, to engage with secular feminism on a range of important topics. Today I welcome two guests to talk about this program's aims, approach, and timeliness. Corynne Staresinic is founder and executive director of The Catholic Woman, an online based nonprofit that is dedicated to sharing stories and wisdom from Catholic women to affirm the goodness, unrepeatability, and dignity of every woman for the redemption of humankind and the Church. Abigail Favale is Dean of Humanities at George Fox University, who wrote and presents the 21 video lessons included in “Cultivating Catholic Feminism.” She is the author of Into the Deep: An Unlikely Catholic Conversion, and of the forthcoming book The Genesis of Gender from Ignatius Press.
Who am I when I've forgotten who I am? What does it mean to love God and be loved by God when I have forgotten who God is? These are the two main questions of John's Swinton's book on Living in the Memories of God, and these are the kind of questions that Xavier Symon is trying to explore in developing a more robust theology and philosophy of dementia. Xavier Symon is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Australia Catholic University's Plunkett Centre for Ethics and currently scholar in residence at Georgetown University's Kennedy Institute for Ethics. In an essay he published with our Church Life Journal, he proposes that Christian personalism offers promising avenues for pursuing a theology and philosophy of dementia, since Christian personalism leads us toward seeing and caring for whole persons. Today we will talk about conceptions of the self, the deconstruction of the ego, the loss and the dignity of those who suffer from dementia, and even the radical reversal of our commonplace understanding of personhood.
It was the strength of the Israelites that scared the Pharaoh. You learn that in the first several verses of the Book of Exodus. The rest of the Book is about the journey to freedom: first the liberation from Egypt, then the training in freedom through the years in the desert. The whole journey concerns Israel's growth as God's own people. Since 2016, the Exodus 90 program has been following this same path: giving men a reliable structure of basic spiritual disciplines to grow in freedom. The point is to let the true strength of men become a gift for others. My guest today is the co-founder and CEO of Exodus 90, James Baxter. James has overseen the growth of this program from a handful of men in its first year to now over 50,000 men in over 70 countries around the world, and from hundreds of parishes all across the United States. I want to talk with James about the inspiration for this spiritual program, the fruits that it bears, and why something like this is so needed for men today.
If you wait for certainty before acting, you will rarely ever act. More often, it is action that leads to certainty. We might expect to find a saying like that on an inspirational poster or as the takeaway from a motivational talk. But we might be surprised, challenged, and invigorated to consider such wisdom when approaching discernment, especially discernment of the priesthood. Rather than waiting for certainty to take the first step, start taking steps and build toward certainty. This, in a way, is the approach of a new guide to discernment produced by the Archdiocese of Boston, in the form of a series of short videos under the title “Sciavias: Know the Way of the Lord.” The creator of the series is Fr. Michael Zimmerman, assistant vocations director in the archdiocese, who joins me today to discuss discernment, the sanctification of time and place, and discovering true intimacy in the Christian life.
More than 8,000 miles separate students at the University of Notre Dame from students at St. Bakhita Vocational Training School in Northern Uganda, but a course in innovation and design thinking brings them together. The creator of that course is Wendy Angst, teaching professor in the Medoza College of Business at Notre Dame, where she also serves as assistant department chair in Management and Organization––she is also a fellow of the Pulte Institute for Global Development. Through a partnership with St. Bakhita's begun in early 2020, Professor Angst has taught and guided Notre Dame undergraduate students in working with students at St. Bakhita's and local community members to develop and strengthen this school that helps create opportunities for young girls who otherwise have few opportunities before them. One of the best places to learn about St. Bakhita's Vocational Training School is on their Facebook page, where you can also link to ways to supporting St. Bakhita students, especially in the form of scholarships. For now, Wendy Angst joins me to talk about the history and mission of the school, the ways in which design thinking is helping her own students serve the St. Bakhita community, and the innovative approach to development that begins with empathy.
On more than a few occasions on this show, we have hosted experts in media and technology, or education and family life, to talk about young people and the effects of digital and social media on their relationships and development. Today, I want to do something a little different, not in terms of content but in terms of conversation partner. That's because my guest today is not someone talking about the ubiquity of technology in the lives of young people, but indeed a young adult who is living in this technological environment, and doesn't like what he's seen. Isaac Sullivan is a recent high school graduate from Lafayette, Indiana. He has been paying attention to what we have all seen elsewhere when a group of people get together in public: they're technically together, but not really. They are all separately engaged with their phones. Isaac's seen this very clearly in his own friend group for years now, and in this show he and I will talk about what he thinks about all that.
The sin of racism disfigures and hides the truth of the human person. The healthy response to sin is conversion, and conversion begins with begging the Lord for healing. That healing, though, provokes and necessitates change. My guest today is committed to helping to develop a Catholic response to the sin of racism, along these very lines. Gloria Purvis is well-known for in Catholic media in her capacities as radio host, TV series host and creator, and now as the host of “The Gloria Purvis Podcast” from America Media. Gloria was recently named as the inaugural Pastoral Fellow of the Notre Dame Office of Life and Human Dignity, in the McGrath Institute for Church Life. Through this fellowship she will develop resources for classroom teachers, co-create an online course addressing the theology of racial justice, deliver two public lectures on Notre Dame's campus, and facilitate a workshop series for pastoral leaders equipping them for dialogue and engagement on issues of social justice. Today she joins me to follow up especially on her first public lecture as part of her fellowship, which bore the title “Racial Justice: Solidarity and the Church's Call to Action.”
“Catholic Christans came into my community and they helped us with education, they helped us with healthcare, they helped us to find our self-respect and to realize our capabilities when the world had told us for so long that we were nothing and would amount to nothing. And I wanted to be part of that effort. That's radical Christianity, that's radical Catholicism. How do we find the needs of God's people? How do we as a Catholic Christian community of believers say that we believe that God is active in our lives, and we want to share the Good News with you?” These are the words of Servant of God, Sr. Thea Bowman. She encountered the Gospel not just in the words but also in the actions of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration who came from Wisconsin down to Thea's hometown of Canton, Mississippi and created new opportunities for education, for healthcare, for respect and dignity for Thea and other young black people like her in the segregated south of the early 20th Century. She was so attracted to the Gospel she found in these sisters that she joined them. The Word of God took root in the heart and mind, the imagination and the cultural history of Thea Bowman. Now, more than 30 years after her death, her cause for canonization is underway, and she shows a new generation of Catholics and Americans what it means to be fully alive in the Gospel. As part of the annual Saturdays with the Saints lecture series through the McGrath Institute for Church Life at Notre Dame, Kayla August presented on the life and witness of Sr. Thea. Today, Kayla joins me to talk about this remarkable woman, this servant of God, this witness to Christ's life in an especially American context. Kayla herself is a doctoral student in theology and ministry at Boston College. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, she served in Campus Ministry here at the University of Notre Dame, and also as a rector for one of or woman's residence halls. Kayla is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. You can find the video of her lecture on Sr. Thea on the McGrath Institute for Church Life's Youtube page, or simply by googling “Saturday with the Saints, Thea Bowman.
Praying for the dead. This is a spiritual work of mercy, but does it really do anything? Do our prayers matter to the dead? Do the dead matter to us? I wanted to find us some help in understanding this practice of the Christian faith, and so I have invited Prof. John Cavadini to talk with us about his own practice of praying for the dead, the love of Christ poured out for us, and our communion with the dead in the Eucharist. Yes, these are theological matters, but they are also matters of devotion, of grieving, of longing, and of hope. I think that what we are about to talk about will matter to you. I think it will matter to me, too. If you've been listening to our show for some, you know that I am working on a project between my own McGrath Institute for Church Life and Ave Maria Press about our relationship with our beloved dead. This is part of a book I am writing on this topic. As part of the project, I've been talking with people about their memories of and their hopes for their beloved dead. I've asked a few of those people if they would be willing to record an episode for our show so you can listen in, too. This episode stands in that line, and there were three previous episodes where I hosted, first, https://spokestreet.com/church-life-today?ppplayer=c1e6f1222116b6fb8c24fd7676839822&ppepisode=cbab65ed7bc87dfe8ddbbc4c5ad79c7a (Laura Kelly Fanucci), then https://spokestreet.com/church-life-today?ppplayer=c1e6f1222116b6fb8c24fd7676839822&ppepisode=41036ec763c281f66445a4c88d8be772 (Stephanie DePrez), and finally https://spokestreet.com/church-life-today?ppplayer=c1e6f1222116b6fb8c24fd7676839822&ppepisode=3bbfed57c695430c36e1ca5729d22b0b (Robert Cording). You may want to check out those episodes on our podcast if you like this one. By the way, John Cavadini is professor of theology and McGrath-Cavadini Director of the McGrath Institute for Church Life at Notre Dame, which makes him my boss.
It is easy to bemoan the problems in the Church; it is harder to take the initiative to heal and renew the life of the Church, and to sacrifice for that renewal with all your own creativity and passion. But that is exactly what the Our Sunday Visitor Institute for Catholic Innovation is calling forth from leaders in the Church today. They want to help visionaries become the innovators who discover new means of evangelization and who revitalize the faithful's responsibility for proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. Dr. Matt Smith directs strategic alliances for the OSV Institute for Catholic Innovation, and today he joins me to talk about the tradition of innovation and its timeliness in the life of the Church today, while also highlighting some of the specific initiatives he and his team are working to develop to foster a culture of innovation for the Church.
Meg Hunter-Kilmer has no time for bland, stale stories of saints. She is too busy reveling in the wild and diverse beauty of holy people. When their stories have not been told well, she seeks after the heart of their story and waits to see the drama, the glory, the full-fledged humanity that others have missed. And then she tells their stories. Meg tells the stories of the saints with passion, with care, with personality, with joy. Friends, I have read a lot of books about sanctity. I have read a lot of stories about saints. I have read a lot of books of stories about saints. But the book that Meg Hunter-Kilmer wrote stands apart. It is an education in true holiness, which depends on a willingness to see and accept the whole human condition. Her stories of saints are filled with piety and grace, but also with the afflictions, failures, abuses, and unrespectability of these very flesh and blood people who received and responded to the love of God in Christ. The book is Pray for Us: 75 Saints Who Sinned, Suffered, and Struggled on Their Way to Holiness. The author, Meg Hunter-Kilmer, joins me today in the studio from her travels around the country where she speaks and teaches everywhere as a full-time missionary evangelist. Believe me, you're in for a treat in listening to her.
There was a time before the Second Vatican Council, and there is a time after. The time before is old, outdated, stodgy, stale, and lifeless. The time after is modern, progressive, adaptive, active, and alive. Out with the old and in with the new. That, at least, is the way Vatican II has often been portrayed, as a breaking point between liberals and traditionalists, between those who want to be relevant and those who want to be ancient. But maybe by interpreting Vatican II that way, we are seeing something that isn't true. We are perhaps seeing a false image of the council, rather than seeing the council itself. That, in part, is what my guest on today's show has to say to us, and he wants to help the Church and the world to rediscover the Second Vatican Council for what it truly is, not for what we have been led to think about it, one way or another. Fr. Blake Britton is the author of Reclaiming Vatican II: What It (Really) Said, What It Means, and How It Calls Us to Renew the Church. Fr. Blake is a priest of the Diocese of Orlando, frequent writer for the Evangelization & Culture blog and journal, and cohost of the The Burrowshire Podcast.
A good number of the students I have taught in theology courses at Notre Dame have gone on to medical school. Many of these students feel called to the practice of medicine, and would even speak of their professional pursuits as a vocation. But I often hear from the graduates a grave sense of disappointment in what they encounter in medical school. These are the kind of people who are most committed to their Catholic faith and to seeking out a Catholic approach to healthcare and the understanding of the human person and their own role as healers, They learn a lot in med school and they are prepared well for the technical practice of medicine, but they feel like their way of seeing the world and other human beings is often under strain in the course of their studies. We might think this is the inevitable result at public, secular medical schools, but it turns out that many students who attend the few Catholic medical schools tend to feel similarly. Which leads us to this question: How ought we form young Catholics––as Catholics––for the healthcare professions? The students have become the teachers in this regard, and today one of my former students is my guest to talk about her own vocation as a doctor and how to form Catholics for healthcare. Dr. Maggie Skoch Musso is a psychiatry resident at Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. She completed her MD and a concurrent MA in Bioethics at the Loyola Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago, and she is a 2016 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where she studied Theology. While at Notre Dame, Maggie served as the president of the Notre Dame chapter of NAMI––the National Alliance on Mental Illness––and for her work and advocacy on behalf of those suffering with mental illness, Maggie has received numerous awards at both her alma mater and through national organizations.
What happens online does not stay online. The borders between the digital world and the flesh and blood world have become rather porous. The ways we think, speak, and act in the digital environment bears meaning for how we think, speak, and act offline, and vice versa, at least to some extent. When we search around in media for Catholic voices, or for how Catholics engage with each other in the digital space, what we find is conduct that is often far from charitable, and content that leads more readily to polarization than communion. What is the impact, then, of digital media and the ways of being that are fashioned in digital space on concrete Catholic communities, like the parish? My guest today is paying close attention to these phenomena and working to help develop ways and habits of communicating that are more conducive to the Gospel. Deacon Matthew Kuna is a transitional deacon in the Diocese of Allentown, who is finishing up his study and formation for the priesthood at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. He is also a member of the inaugural cohort in the McGrath Institute for Church Life's Church Communications Ecology Program, where pastors, lay ministers, and educators are called to respond to the myriad pastoral challenges raised by life in the digital age. He joins me to talk about the ways in which our environments shape us––especially the digital environment––and how we might create better conditions for disciples to be formed for healthy, responsible, and discerning engagement in our increasingly digital world.
“O God, smash the teeth in their mouths!” “Make their eyes so dim they cannot see.” “May his children be fatherless, his wife, a widow.” Who prays like that? Well, we do: Christians. Those petitions––those curses––that I just recited come from Psalm 58, Psalm 69, and Psalm 109. But we don't hear them very often: not in the public liturgy as at Mass, not in the liturgy of the hours that we might pray alone. What is being lost by not praying things like that, in just those words: the words of Scripture––the Psalms? These are examples of the imprecatory psalms. My guest today says we need to bring back these psalms into the regular of the Church. He wrote an essay for our Church Life Journal with the very direct title, “Bring Back the Imprecatory Psalms.” This is the voice of Christ himself, who in praying the psalms took on even these cries, which the abused and oppressed offer up to God against their victimizers and the wicked. Timothy Troutner is a doctoral candidate in systematic theology at Notre Dame, where he focuses on the doctrine of creation and the place of language. He is here to talk about this call to bring back the imprecatory psalms, especially now in the wake of scandals in the Church and the seeming prosperity of the wicked at the expense of the lowly across the world today.
What does it take to create a world? Well, you might think it requires you to be God. So why don't we ask the question about a literary world, but nevertheless a complete world, with a comprehensive vision, an atmosphere and a history and languages, customs, and traditions. We might think few people are capable of creating such things, and we are definitely right in thinking that. Yet there are some authors––some artists––who manage such a feat, and one such figure who stands perhaps above just about any other in the powers and fruits of creation is J. R. R. Tolkien, creator of The Lord of the Rings. So let's ask our question again: What did it take for Tolkien to create Middle-earth? And that is where today's episode comes in. Many might think that Tolkien was a stand-alone genius, to whom ideas and images came complete unto themselves and without precedent. We might think his work is something like “pure originality” in that he conjures things up out of nothing, as if he were quite a bit like God who is indeed an uncreated creator. Or we might think that any influences Tolkien had, however dim they might be, are all located in the past, which accorded more with his special area of scholarly expertise. But today, we will consider the modern influences on Tolkien's creative imagination, and in so doing we will think about what a creative imagination is and how a Catholic like Tolkien exercises his imagination. To guide us on our quest, Dr. Holly Ordway joins us today. Dr. Ordway is the Cardinal Francis George Fellow of Faith and Culture at the Word on Fire Institute, whose recently published book is Tolkien's Modern Reading: Middle-Earth Beyond the Middle Ages.
When a Catholic parish is being what is called to be, what does that look like? What are the marks of healthy and vibrant parish life? If we really tended to questions like these, we might find ourselves changing our perceptions of what it is we want from our parishes. And that, my friends, may very well mean that we have to change what we ourselves give to our parishes. My guest today invests her time and energy in helping parishes realize their mission, especially through forming Catholics for lives of vibrant discipleship. Katherine Coolidge is Director for Parish and Diocesan Services at the Catherine of Siena Institute. She joins me today to talk about where we are in parish life, where we should be, and how we get from one to the other.
“Nothing new can happen between my son and me. And while I have taught the parable of the prodigal son many times, these days I feel not just why, when the lost is found, there is great cause for celebration, but how truly the zest goes out of life with such a loss. There is no word for the pairings of emotions one feels in grief—the enormity of love mixed with the enormity of sorrow.” Those words come from Robert Cording in an essay he published in the Image journal with the title, “In the Unwalled City.” In this remarkable essay, he puts into words what cannot be contained in words: his grief for the death of his son Daniel, his desire to keep communion alive with his son, and his duty of remembrance that raises his son to life in his own life. I reached out to Professor Cording after reading his essay and he graciously agreed to join me here on our show today. If you've been listening to recent episodes of our show, you know that I am working on a project between my own McGrath Institute for Church Life and Ave Maria Press about our relationship with our beloved dead. This is part of a book I am writing on this topic. As part of the project, I've been talking with people about their memories of and their hopes for their beloved dead. I've asked a few of those people if they would be willing to record an episode for our show so you can listen in, too. This is the third of these episodes––on the previous two I hosted Laura Kelly Fanucci and Stephanie DePrez. My guest today––Robert Cording––is professor emeritus at College of the Holy Cross. His most recent poetry collection is Without My Asking (CavanKerry). You can find some of his other recent work in the Georgia Review, New Ohio Review, Hudson Review, and The Common.
We are developing a mini-series here on Church Life Today about the relationship with our beloved dead. We're talking about death, grief, longing, hope, and a lot more. This is connected to a project I myself am working on between the McGrath Institute for Church Life, where I work, and Ave Maria Press, which is a book on this topic. Animating that project are questions like “Where do our beloved dead go? How do they live? And what does this all mean for us, who remain?” I have been talking with people about their experiences of the death of loved ones and their desire for communion with them. I'm not recording all of these conversations, but I have asked a couple people—and maybe I'll ask more––if they would be willing to record an episode for our show so that you can listen in, too. This is the second of those episodes, the first of which appeared under the title “Heaven in the Midst of Death.” My guest today is my friend Stephanie DePrez, a professional opera singer, a comedian, a voice coach, an artist. I'm so grateful to her for her willingness to talk with us today about her mom, Susie DePrez, and her own grief, desire, and hope.
“Where do our beloved dead go? How do they live? And what does this all mean for us, who remain?” Those questions are animating a project I'm working on between the McGrath Institute for Church Life, where I work, and Ave Maria Press as part of the Engaging Catholicism series. To help with this project, I have asked a few people if they would talk with me about their experiences of grief, about their hope for communion with loved ones who have died, and about their images of Heaven. I'm not recording all of these conversations, but I am asking a couple (or maybe three) people if they would be willing to record an episode for our show so that you can listen in, too. Today is the first of those couple or maybe three episodes. My guest is Laura Kelly Fanucci, a writer and speaker who has worked extensively on grief and longing and hope and vocation. But she's also got a story you've got to hear. Thanks for listening in.