Struck by God: Liberation
Any decent person is repulsed by slavery of any kind. Today “trafficking” is the modern day slavery through sexual exploitation and labor. Research says that 20.9 million people are victims of forced labor. Does St. Paul open the door to slavery? What does he really say?
In the next part of this series on St. Paul, Fr. Mike explores the history of the times of St. Paul. He talks about the quotes on slavery that Paul gives and others from the Scriptures explaining their context and meaning. Fr. Mike talks about our “slavery” to modern addictions, etc. And then asks — “Are we doing any better?”
Struck by God: End Times
In this program in the series, Struck by God about St. Paul, Fr. Mike talks about the End Times as seen in the gospels, the Acts and the letters of Paul. He gives the history of the hope of the Jews for the Messiah and the Second Coming as revealed in Scripture. In the time of St. Paul, the End Times was thought to be imminent.
Fr. Mike then talks about what is going to happen when Christ returns. This is not so that we become overwhelmed by fear and anxiety but that we can concentrate on the more important things in our lives.
Path of Life
Pope Francis said a shocking thing. He said that if we are good Christians we should be smelly like sheep! What does this mean?
In this interview with three different women, Fr. Mike talks about how Christians need to help others who may be a bit offensive to us, whom we’d rather not be around. Dolores Sullivan and Kristii MacEwen talk about their work with the homeless and how they try to help with transitional shelters and housing.
In the course of talking about their ministry, we hear from one former homeless mother of three who has succeeded through the help of Path of Life Ministries. Her children are educated and her son, Jabal, maintained a 4.0 grade average and was accepted at UC Berkeley. What a success story for a homeless family! As Kristii says, “Miracles do happen.” Don’t miss this heartwarming story and hear what you can do to help!
Sing for the Lord with Kimberly Wargo
Saying “I love you “ to God is good, but what about singing it? In this interview by Fr. Mike of Kimberly Wargo, Director of Music at St. Irenaeus Church, they talk about the importance of music in our relationship with God. Music lifts our hearts and souls and helps us express deep emotions of joy and sorrow, especially at church events, such as weddings, funerals and baptisms. Kimberly stresses the selection of music to enhance the word that we are hearing in the Mass. The music and lyrics should illuminate the meaning.
Fr. Mike assures Kimberly that she, and all church musicians, are real evangelists in helping to bring unity and harmony to the people in the pews.
Struck by God: Strength in Weakness.
Why are we attracted to super heroes? Is it that we can pretend, fantasize that we could be like them? But, in our honest moments, we know we are weak. Sometimes we try to divert attention away from our own weakness and highlight the weaknesses of others. In this program, Fr. Mike talks further about our weakness and the weakness of Jesus while here on earth.The first segment ends with Sue Ann Pinner singing There’s a New Way For Us from Paul, A Musical by Fr. Mike Manning (Music by Sally Wolf, Lyrics by Alicia Rowe). Then Fr. Mike quotes Paul on this topic of weakness and how he turns the spotlight on God, not taking any credit for himself. Paul talks about the physical thorn he was given and then says that famous line…”when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Struck by God: True God
One of the questions that Christians have grappled with is this: Is Jesus God? St. Paul has much to say about this. In this next program in the series on Paul, Fr. Mike traces the history of the doubt about the divinity of Jesus in the early days of the Church, as well as now. He explains that the gospels verify the divinity. Then in 325 the Council of Nicea clarified this doctrine which is enunciated in the Nicene Creed that we still use today. Fr. Mike then turns to Paul and the story of the killing of Stephen in the Acts of the Apostles. Stephen’s Song is sung by Greg Schreiner from the play, Paul, A Musical by Fr. Mike Manning, (Music by Sally Wolf, Lyrics by Alicia Rowe). Fr. Mike points out all the times that Paul reinforces his deep belief in the divinity of Jesus and the three blessings that come from this belief.
Sacred Art with Joseph Aspell
Art is something that we can see and touch. It can also reveal to us the touch of God. In this interview with Fr. Mike, Joseph Aspell reveals that to him art is part of life. It lifts his mind and heart to God and so he becomes good friends with this God. He calls the development of his artistic ability a “personal emergency”. He had to use this gift. Again, for him, life stops or can’t continue unless he uses this gift of art. Art opens up the door to mystery in many ways. He tells the story of a sculpture he did for a church, entitled Mary, Seat of Wisdom. We get an insight into this man who creates sacred art.This interview gives a glimpse into the heart of “authentic” spirit of the artist.
Struck by God: Faith Works
Given our sin and brokenness, don’t we have to prove to God that we are worthy of God? Paul says “No. All we have to do is have faith in Jesus Christ.” In this next program of the series on St. Paul, Fr. Mike tells his own personal story. His background lays the foundation for his attraction to St. Paul. Paul was obsessed with the law and honored a fearsome God. Fr. Mike shows how Paul grew from this concept to a loving and forgiving God as he did in his own life. In Paul’s struggle with the Jews over the law of circumcision, he quotes Jeremiah that what we should work for is circumcision of the heart. (JER 4:4) The cast from “Paul, A Musical” by Fr. Mike sing “We Won’t be Circumcised” (Music by Sally Wolf, Lyrics by Alicia Rowe). Then Fr. Mike talks about doubt as part of our faith. What is our attitude? Is it one of hopelessness or of deep faith? Gabriel Silva sings “It’s a Big Hearted Freedom” from Paul, a Musical (Music by Sally Wolf, Lyrics by Alicia Rowe) written by Fr. Mike. Questions are posed for use in prayerful reflection or group study.
In Excelsis Deo beautifully sung by Tatiana begins this reflection by Fr. Mike on the real meaning of Christmas. He speaks of the deep desires of our hearts, outside all the gift-giving and hassles of this holiday time. The most important gifts are health, family and friends. But sometimes we even ignore those in our busy lives. IT is time to look at them and value those special gifts. The biggest gift is, of course, the gift of God come down on earth as a little baby, vulnerable in every way. God loves me and forgives me all my sins. What greater gift than this can we wish for? Lupe returns toward the end of the program to re-enforce the true meaning of this wonderful feast. Tatiana ends the program singing Infant Redeemer.
Restoring Dignity with Martha Reyes
We live in a world where women are sometimes abused by husbands, friends, or by others. What can be done to stop the abuse? Martha Reyes explains to Fr. Mike how she uses the Word of God as an instrument of inner healing. Those who are abused experience anger, depression hatred, grief, etc. Martha believes that we cannot visit the past without prayer. Prayer helps us to acquire the tools we need to give us the resolve to be healed. Fr. Mike was surprised by a statement Martha made: “Some people get too comfortable with the pain.” As Jesus asked the paralytic by the side of the pool, so Martha asks those hurting—Do you want to be healed? One has to desire healing. Martha talks a bit about her own life and how that led her to help others. There are many ways to help someone in this kind of situation.
Child Help with Clare Van Loon
What do you do when a child is abused at home, maybe physically, sexually or emotionally? What is the Christian response to this? In this interview, Fr. Mike talks to Clare Van Loon, Education & Awareness Chair for Childhelp, Inland Empire Chapter, about her own personal experiences as a child and then as an advocate for others. Clare reports that child abuse in the USA is staggeringly epidemic. There are over three million reports a year, which translates to one child abused every ten seconds! She tells the story of the beginnings of Childhelp, begun in 1959 by two young actresses who were in Japan and came across displaced children of mixed race – born of native women and servicemen. They started orphanages in Japan and then in Vietnam. Then Nancy Reagan, First Lady at the time, asked them to do something about child abuse in our country. They took the challenge and now it is a well-established agency with residences, advocacy centers, foster family aid, hotline access with 170 languages. The hotline is 1-800-422-4453. They spoke of what we can do now and how to identify an abused child.
Struck by God: Paul’s Letters
We communicate today in various ways: letter, phone, email, still pictures, even video online. All this communication is available to the world through the internet. All we have of Paul are his letters. In this program, Fr. Mike gives an overview of the letters of Paul – to whom they were written, what questions and problems he wa s addressing, etc. Some of the issues covered were death, end of the world, slavery, place of women, divorce, forgiveness, faith in God, suffering. Sounds like questions of today, doesn’t it? He mentions how many letters were really written by Paul and where the other came from. When speaking of 1Corinthians 13 on the topic of love, we hear “Love” sung by Gabriel Silva (Music by Sally Wolf, Lyrics by Alicia Rowe from the play Paul, A Musical written by Fr. Mike Manning ) Fr. Mike gives suggestions on how to study Paul and talks about the other letters to the Galatians, the Thessalonians and the Philippians. One of the questions Paul had to deal with was that of circumcision for the Gentiles. They didn’t want to submit to this to follow Jesus. Another song from Paul, the Musical sung by the cast tells their story: We Won’t Be Circumcised Today.” This is a delightful end to the overview of Paul’s letters.
Struck by God: Thanksgiving
We need to be people who give thanks to God in all things, as St. Paul tells us. Fr. Mike quotes St. Paul as he speaks of giving thanks, twice in the letter to the Colossians and once in 1Thessalonians. Gabriel Silva sings “It’s a Big Hearted Freedom” from Paul, a Musical (Music by Sally Wolf, Lyrics by Alicia Rowe) written by Fr. Mike and produced in 2009. Calling St. Paul a “Lone Ranger”, Fr. Mike shows how Paul was a fundraiser, seeking financial assistance for the Christians in Jerusalem when he traveled to Turkey and Greece. Paul makes a connection between giving and a spirit of thanks. Fr. Mike then shows how many times Jesus gave thanks. This section ends with the song “Love” from the same musical. He explores the questions: Does God give thanks? What keeps us from being a thankful person?
Struck by God: Paul’s Life
With this program, Fr. Mike begins a new series on the life and teaching of Paul of Tarsus, a man on fire with the love of Jesus. As a very special treat, there is an excerpt from Paul, A Musical on the Life of St. Paul, the play written by Fr. Mike and produced in 2009. This excerpt includes Paul (played by Gabriel Silva) singing Damascus (lyrics by Alicia Rowe, music by Sally Wolf). It ends with the question: “Who are you, Paul of Damascus?” Fr. Mike then goes on to explain who this man really is, beginning with his complicity in the death of Stephen, his conversion on the way to Damascus, and his missionary journeys. What does all this have to do with us? Fr. Mike poses some questions to get us started on this journey with the man called Paul.
Jesus “hung out” with prostitutes! Does that shock you? What about a ministry to prostitutes today ? Fr. Mike interviews Pastor Paula Daniels who has a street ministry, drop-in center and safe house for prostitutes – or “victims” as she prefers to call them. They discuss how a young woman gets involved in this type of life and what keeps her there. Pastor Paula explains that the slave holders learn to control the girls both physically and psychologically. Sometimes there is physical harm to the girl or her family. Other times they give her small gifts, listen to her, pretend to care for her. They learn how to manipulate the minds of the victims so that they are totally in control. Pastor Paula tells of some success stories and ends by talking about why Jesus cared for prostitutes.
Ronald McDonald House
What happens when a child in your family gets sick and has to be in a hospital far from your home? In this interview, Fr. Mike and Mike Kovack talk about the beginnings of Ronald McDonald House. Forty years ago, Fred Hill and the Philadelphia Eagles knew from personal experience what it means to have a child seriously ill in a hospital far from home. But there is a place that cares for the families of very sick children. There are 350 Ronald McDonald Houses now which provide services to care for the mental, physical, and emotional needs of the immediate family. The short term stay of a family there is about 14 days, and the stay could extend as long as 3 to 6 months. The family can have food and shelter and personal support. The only requisites are a sick child and that they live at least an hour away. IF the family can afford it, they ask for $10 a day. Otherwise, the service is free. Mike Kovack tells some inspiring real life stories of families who have been helped. He also speaks of the rewards of being involved with such a wonderful ministry.
God’s Women – GOD
We all think of God as a man. Well, maybe some women would like to think of God as a woman. What does the Bible say about this? Fr. Mike talks about the fact that God is neither male or female. Since the writers of the Bible were male, God is labeled with masculine names. He then speaks of Carl Jung and his famous “anima and animus”, applying that concept to God and to us.
Then Fr. Mike goes through the woman images in the Bible when talking about God – Isaiah, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Proverbs, Hosea, and the Song of Songs. You will be surprised at all the references. He asks: What difference does this notion of God make in our lives. He quickly reviews all the women in this series of God’s Women, ending with God.
God’s Women – The Widow of Zarephath
Sometimes God asks big things of us. Suppose God asked you to give the little that you have and you do give it. That is what the widow of Zarephath did. Fr. Mike tells the story of this wonderful lady who lived in the north (present day Lebanon) at the time of the prophet Elijah. As you may remember, Elijah was the only prophet of Yahweh. Most of the country worshipped the god called Baal. Elijah had left his own country and so was lonely and without provisions. He met this widow and asked her for water and flour cakes. In great generosity she gave him all she had for herself and her only son. Lo and behold! God blessed her abundantly with food for the rest of her life. Her only son dies and guess what happens? Fr. Mike compares this story to the ones in the New Testament about the widow of Naim and the story of Lazarus. He then talks about how this story affects us today. How do we care for widows and widowers today? What can we do to help them? What is the reality of our nursing homes? Is there a limit to our generosity? Fr. Mike also spends some time talking about how God loves all people and the ramifications of that in our modern world.
What would you do if God called you to live and work in a ghetto with all that danger? That is what happened to Theresa Gartland. Fr. Mike asks Theresa how this came about. She attended Catholic grade school, but it was in high school when she became involved in community service project. There she fell in love working with children -at-risk in the NE Washington DC area. She attended college and majored in political science. But God didn’t leave her alone. She joined a Response Ability project that brought her to LA to work in an inner city parish school. From there she worked at Verbum Dei, a Jesuit Cristo Rey High School in Watts, Los Angeles. This young lady never stops! She tells success stories and reveals why she does what she does. You won’t want to miss Take Charge with Theresa Gartland.
What Seniors Need
You’re old. You think your life is over. What can the Church say to give you hope and new vision to break out into things you’ve never done before?
In this program, Fr. Mike talks to Fr. Leonard Pasquale, IMC, who has a special interest in the elderly in his parish. Fr. Leonard is a Consolata Missionary and worked in Argentina and Columbia. There he found that people had great respect for their elders. They spoke of the Sacrament of the Sick which is no longer just for the dying, but for the ill, as well. Fr. Leonard explained all the programs in his parish that involve the elderly, including service projects for the younger members with the elderly.
They also discuss nursing homes, making of wills, and the importance of the Advanced Health Care Directives.
God’s Women – Susanna
About 700 BC a beautiful woman, Susanna, the wife of Joakim, was subjected to two old men, voyeurs, who tried to catch her with their lust.
This story of Susanna, was excluded from the Protestant canon, but included in the Septuagint. So Catholics can find it in their bible. Fr. Mike dramatically tells this story of two elders who wanted Susanna to lie with them. She resisted even though she knew that she would be punished, even killed, because these men were powerful in the village. Who would believe her? They testified that she and a young man had committed a sin in the garden and should be condemned to death. A young man, Daniel, came and questioned each elder alone. He was able to catch them in their lies.
Fr. Mike highlights the issues brought up by this story: honesty, sins of religious leaders, and the beauty of death. He also poses questions for discussion, including pornography and who is attractive to you.
God’s Women – Tamar # 2
Did you know that in the Bible there is a story of a beautiful young woman who was raped? She happened to belong to the royal family of David. Fr. Mike tells this sad story of Tamar, the second Tamar mentioned in the Bible. This one is the daughter of David. She and Absalom had the same mother. The family relationships can be a bit confusing, since David had ten wives and twenty children! Fr. Mike gives the historical background and tells the story of the rape of Tamar by Amnon, who comes to a bad end by Tamar’s brother.Applying this Bible story to today’s world, Fr. Mike talks about the effects of rape, abuse of children, and the challenge of a “blended” family. He offers questions for group use.
If you were born into a situation filled with pain, anger, hatred and struggles, where would you find God? In this interview by Fr. Mike, Natalie Smith tells of her very difficult childhood, living with biological parents, alcoholic and abusive. Her Polish grandmother was the only safe person she knew. Growing up this way, Natalie did not know that life was different for others. She would go outside and enjoy nature as the only relief from the desperate situation.Quite expectedly, as a teenager she started drinking as well, and ended up marrying an abusive man similar to her own father. Then something happened and Natalie changed her life. Don’t miss this amazing story. You can find out more by going to nsmithart.com.
Dancing with God
Wouldn’t it be great if you were so in love with God that you had to sing – and even dance? This program talks about doing just that! Fr. Mike interviews John West of The Valyermo Dancers, a group dedicated to prayer dancing. They discuss the times in the Bible, especially with King David, when dancing is mentioned. John sees dancing as prayer reclaiming something that is legitimately ours. Perhaps Puritanism stifled this desire. He sees it in light of the Incarnation.Fr. Mike relates his experience at a Mass in Ghana where dancing is a normal part of the entrance and offertory procession. Quite an experience! Fr. Mike and John spend some time discussing dance and worship as a means of freeing oneself to be in the moment with God. You won’t want to miss this exciting interview with excerpts of The Valyermo Dancers.
God’s Women – Jezebel
One of the most unpopular women in the Bible is Jezebel. She was an evil person. How can we relate her story to our lives? In this program, Fr. Mike sets out the historical context. Jezebel married Ahab, the King of the northern country of present day Holy Land. She brought in 450 priests of the god Baal who was the god she worshipped there. She also orchestrated the death of an owner of a vineyard the King wanted so that he could have it. The prophet Elijah killed the priests and foretold that Jezebel would die a horrible death. So Jezebel determined to kill Elijah. Fr. Mike then introduces topics that arise from this story… Mixed religions in a marriage can have both good and not so good consequences. Who are the foreign gods in our lives? In what do we trust for our peace and security? How can coveting things and/or people harm us?
He then poses some questions for use in group study.
God’s Women – Judith
All of us want to look attractive and do things to help that happen. Where does this all fit in God’s plan.Today’s story is about a woman, Judith, who did just that in order to trap an enemy of her people. Fr. Mike gives the historical context, as far as is possible. Some facts in this tale are not historically accurate but the lessons remain. Judith, a widow, wanted to help save her people. So she went to the city council and told them that she could do this. Indeed she made it happen. As you may remember, she dresses up to seduce the enemy leader, Holofernes, and ends up killing him. Quite a story! Fr. Mike then spends some time talking about topics that apply to us today. Some of which are 1) the drive to be attractive 2) shame 3) murder as a means to doing a good 4) the place of the military and 5) the call to be extraordinary.
He ends with questions to consider when studying Judith.
Habitat Homes w Dennis Baxter
We live in a world where there are too many people who have no place to live. Habitat for Humanity is doing their part in helping to solve that problem around the globe. In the 1970’s Millard and Linda Fuller were 29 year old millionaires who were having trouble with their marriage. Little did they dream that resolving that problem would lead them to establishing Habitat for Humanity, building homes for people who were struggling. In this interview by Fr. Mike, he discusses Habitat with Dennis Baxter, Executive Director for the San Bernardino Area. They talk about the “theology of the hammer’, how families are chosen for the homes, and what they need to give in “sweat equity” to obtain the home. Dennis talks about his motivation in pursuing such a career.
Find out about this wonderful organization by watching Habitat Homes with Dennis Baxter.
ove Based Faith with Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI
Is there hope for us today and where is God when we need him ? Father Mike and his guest Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI take on this topic and throw a light on where God is in this quest. More importantly, where are WE? God is like the GPS on our cars. The GPS guru never scolds, is never rude. He just recalibrates, constantly forgives and is ALWAYS there. Not a bad metaphor for our own lives. We live in a dysfunctional world as well as a dysfunctional church but there is no other way the world OR the church works. “Will you too walk away?” Jesus asked Peter! To which Peter replied “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.…”There is growth and there is hope. Watch this fascinating interview and understand how you can grow and appreciate God’s presence in your own life!
GOD’S WOMEN: BATHSHEBA
In this next of the series of God’s Women, Fr. Mike recounts the famous story of David and Bathsheba. David follows Saul as king of the Jews. He had nine wives when he had relations with Bathsheba. But that wasn’t enough. He desired her when he saw her in the garden not too far from his own dwelling.
You know the story well. Bathsheba becomes pregnant with the king’s child. So David connives to have her husband, Uriah, killed in battle by having him put in the front lines. Much happens. Fr. Mike then applies the story to our lives. What about adultery today? Why does it happen? What can be done to prevent it? He also examines how we make moral decisions.
Re-Think with Chris Estrella
Jesus chose young people to be his apostles and disciples. Today how do we get young people to Jesus? In this interview by Fr. Mike, Chris Estrella tells of his journey as a young person and the influence of his mother on his faith. Peer pressure was a big obstacle which sometimes made him hide his faith from others.Music was always a part of his life and today he works in a diocesan Office of Worship and so on a daily basis is directly involved with faith. Chris speaks of his work with young people today and what they are looking for. He speaks to them directly and honestly and also speaks to them through his music. One song – Come As You Are – helps the young to feel accepted.
They talk about what the young are looking for in the church. Pope Francis enters the conversation. Chris says that the Pope has upped the “coolness” factor of the Church.
God’s Women. Esther
Have you ever heard of a lady in the Bible who won a beauty contest?
That is the story that Fr. Mike tells in this episode of God’s Women. He gives the historical context for Esther. The Babylonians conquered the Assyrians, then went on to conquer Jerusalem, taking the people as slaves. Esther was an orphan slave. She was very beautiful and had a powerful advocate in her cousin Mordecai. The Babylonian King was insulted by his queen, threw her, out and called for a beauty contest. Mordecai was able to get Esther in this line of beauties and she easily won. The king did not know that she was a Jew. So the plot thickens. One of the most powerful men in the kingdom wanted everyone to bow down to him. If they didn’t, he would kill them all. Mordecai refuses; Esther wants to save him. And so the story goes on.Fr. Mike uses this biblical story to talk about genocide….the Armenians, the Jewish Holocaust, Rwanda and Cambodia, etc. Why do these things happen? How does this affect us? How do we deal with our enemies?
News Good with John Allen
John Allen has been a Vatican correspondent for twenty years and has just gone to the Boston Globe in that capacity. It is fascinating to hear what he has to say. In this interview with Fr. Mike, John gives his insights into Pope Francis who has captured the imagination of the global world. He says of Pope Francis “What you see is what you get. He is a humble, simple, ordinary guy, a real man. It is not an act.” Fr. Mike asks about the Vatican’s opinion of the Church in the U.S. John has some valuable insights for us to ponder. They discuss the questionnaire on the family, shortage of priestly vocations, and what we can expect or not!.There is no doubt that the style and tone of Pope Francis is definitely pastoral.
Word: The Way with Rev. Donald Senior, CP
Many, many years ago for Catholics there was a fear of private interpretation of the Bible. For that reason Catholics were late in reading the Bible. Fortunately, that is no longer true.In this interview Fr. Mike talks with Rev. Donald Senior, CP, about studying Scripture. Fr. Senior, a renowned Scripture scholar, was President of Catholic Theological Union in Chicago for 23 years. He gives hints about how to go about studying the Bible in the most helpful ways. Today there are many aids out there, including videos that can help us. He also gives hints about how to study in groups.They then go into the importance of scholarship in the study of the Bible and why that is so important in revealing the nuances of the texts and how it affects the meaning for us today.
God’s Women – Jephthah’s Daughter
Imagine this – a father makes an oath and this oath results in the murder of his daughter! This Old Testament story appears in the Book of Judges.
As he has been doing for each of God’s Women in this series, Fr. Mike tells the background history setting the story in the context of the time. Jephthah, a leader of the Jewish army, was asked to go against the enemy forces of the Ammonites. He bargained with God and took an oath that if he won against these formidable enemies, he would sacrifice the first person who came out of his tent. You can guess what happened! We don’t even know his daughter’s name. Fr. Mike shows how this sad turn of events leads us to question such an understanding of God. He shows the two extremist views of the image of God and challenges us to ask ourselves about our own image of God. He poses other challenging questions arising from this story.
God’s Women – Delilah
Continuing with the stories of the women in the Old Testament, Fr. Mike relates the familiar story of Samson and Delilah. Their bible story has been portrayed in books and movies. Fr. Mike tells the history of these two. Samson was a strong leader of the Jews who fell in love with beautiful Delilah. She was a Philistine who lived in Gaza and was from the “enemy” tribe. But sometimes love blinds.
He looks at the motivation of Delilah and why she betrays this man who loves her, and seeks the source of his power. Fr. Mike explains how this happened and what transpired in the life of Samson. He then wonders what this kind of story says to us today. He looks at blind love, betrayal, fidelity and the power of evil to destroy relationships.Don’t miss this fascinating story of Samson and Delilah
Null and Void with Fr. David Andel
Many people struggle with broken marriages. Where is Jesus in all this and how can we find healing? Fr. Mike explores this question with Fr. David. First they discuss what helps to make a successful marriage. Then they move on to marriages that don’t work out. he Bible tells us that marriage is forever. So how can one resolve a marriage that just doesn’t work .Fr. David explains that sometimes the marriage is “null and void” There really wasn’t a valid marriage to begin with. He outlines the difference between annulment and divorce. Annulment can be “civil” as well as a church annulment. He talks about the steps necessary to receive an annulment in the Catholic Church with length of time and the necessity of witnesses.
God’s Women – Jael
Can you believe that there is a story in the Bible about a simple housewife who ends up killing the general of an enemy army. This is the story of Jael.
Fr. Mike outlines the background of her nomadic tribe that deals in metals. They try to stay neutral and keep diplomatic relations with the Jews and their enemies. So when Sisera, the General of the enemy of the Jews, stumbles into Jael’s tent, he believes he is safe. The rest of his army has been decimated.
Jael is faced with a real dilemma. If she protects the General, when the Jews come looking for him and find that she has protected him, they will retaliate. If she doesn’t protect him, he may kill her on the spot. She doesn’t panic. Cleverly she finds an opportunity and ends up killing him.
How does such a story relate to our lives today? Fr. Mike talks about violence, terror, the arms buildup, etc. He asks: Are we ever justified in going to war? This leads to the conditions necessary for a just war as presented by the Church. It is interesting to apply those conditions to modern warfare.
Fr. Mike poses questions for us to ponder at the end of this surprising story. These can be used for a Bible Study Group on God’s Women.
There are a number of young women in Africa who promise to give themselves to God in lives of poverty, chastity and obedience. In the interview, Fr. Mike talks with Sr. Veronica Openibo who entered religious life in Nigeria. She talks about her relationships with people of other cultures and the importance of being kind, loving and generous in community. Sr. Veronica shares her joy and freedom in living this kind of life. She is now the Society Leader of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus (SHCJ) with provinces in the America, Europe and Western Africa.
They then turn to discuss Nigeria specifically. Nigeria is a large, wealthy country, but the people are very poor. There is much hunger, crime, poverty, and unemployment. The conversation naturally turns to the Christian-Muslim conflicts and the political systems in her country. Sr. Veronica has some suggestions of what leaders should do to resolve the conflicts.
Eyes in the Skies
How does Christianity connect with policemen in a helicopter? Fr. Mike interviews Sgt. Daniel Futscher from the San Bernardino Sheriff Department. Sgt. Futscher has had experience working in jails, operating as the dispatcher, and being the rescuer on the helicopter. He encounters people in various panic situations and has to stabilize the situation with understanding and compassion. They discuss the balance of discipline and respect as law enforcement officers meet people in their most vulnerable moments. Sgt. Futscher calls the helicopter “the eye in the sky”. Fr. Mike had taken a ride with them and was amazed how one could see the license plate of cars below. It certainly is a big aid to the police force in pursuing wrong doers, as well as rescuing those lost in the desert or mountains.
Circle V with Ray Lopez
What do horses, bows and arrows, swimming and having a good time have to do with God? In this interview, Ray Lopez, Camp Director of the St. Vincent de Paul Camp near Santa Barbara, explains how young people who have never had a camping experience learn so much in this summer program.Ray went with Fr. Mike to Smokey Mountain in the Philippines about ten years ago. He says that it really changed his life. Now he works with kids who come from difficult situations. This summer camp helps them grow in self-esteem while having good old fashioned fun and really finding out that God loves them. Some of them have never been outside their own homes, let alone do the wonderful activities that are available to them. The theme of the first day is GDMJ – God Doesn’t Make Junk. This is re-enforced each day with activities, as well as the role modeling of the devoted counselors. Ray also tells moving personal stories of two of the campers.
Vincent de Paul with David R. Fields
Jesus cared for those whom no one else cared for. In this program, we hear the story of Vincent de Paul who is the inspiration for David Fields, Executive Director of Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of Los Angeles and how they care for the poor as Jesus did. Fr. Mike talks with David about all that the Society does to help the poor, especially giving practical help with food, clothes and furniture. They run Thrift Stores where they sell and also have free distribution. They work for systemic changes in people’s lives. This particular Council has 2500 volunteers, serving over 300,000 poor people in the LA region.
The program includes scenes of the various sites around the area, an impressive view of the good work done by the Society. David also talks about what we can do to help with the massive problem of poverty throughout the world.
God’s Women – Ruth
Immigration is a volatile subject. How should we, as Christians, respond to this issue? In this program, Fr. Mike talks about Ruth, an immigrant herself. He gives the historical context, about 1100 years before Jesus. Naomi was living in Bethlehem. The country was struck with famine and hardship. But, on the other side, things were good. So she and her husband moved to Moab. They were immigrants in this land. Here her two sons married local women.
Then her husband and sons died. Now Naomi wanted to return to her native country. Naomi told the two women that they should stay in their own land and marry someone there. But Ruth chose not to do so. There is a beautiful passage of Ruth telling Naomi that she loved her and would go with her. So,they go to Bethlehem and now Ruth is the immigrant.Fr. Mike looks at the reasons for immigration and why attitudes toward immigrants are not always good. He quotes several passages from the Bible about how we should treat immigrants and strangers.He then looks at in-laws and commitment. There is a beautiful “Moment of Commitment” during the program.
God’s Women: Rahab
Would you be surprised to find a prostitute listed in the Genealogy of Jesus? Rahab is there. In this program, Fr. Mike tells the story of Rahab who is living in the beautiful city of Jericho, the one with the famous wall. The Jews are planning to come on their way to the Holy Land and send out two spies.
They end up hiding in Rahab’s house. It’s beginning to sound like a TV mystery, isn’t it? Fr. Mike gives the historical background of Rahab’s story. He then looks at Jesus and his ministry with prostitutes and finally how this story applies to us today. You may be surprised at all the applications he is able to draw for us. He even ends up with how to be a missionary!
Never Lost with Damien Minna
Imagine a young football star with lots of ability and an unlimited future. Then things are turned upside down.
Damien earned his degree and had a good job. Then one day he was out on Lake Mead. Somehow he fell off a pontoon boat and injured himself seriously. It turned out that he was paralyzed from the chin down.
In this interview,
Damien tells Fr. Mike the long hard struggle he had coming back after four months in the hospital. He shared all the emotions that he experienced, but more importantly the resolve he had. He explains how he had a “backwards” dream.
You won’t want to miss this truly inspiring story of a brave young man who is now an example and help to many others.
SEG way to Girl Power
Imagine a college sophomore helping to change the world! At this time of Winter Olympics, we admire all those wonderful athletes. Here in this interview we have an athlete who is doing even more. Lindsay Brown is a dedicated soccer player. She made the team at Notre Dame but her dream is even higher. She wants to change the world for girls in countries like Nepal, Cambodia, and Kenya. In this interview, Fr. Mike asks Lindsay how this came about. Lindsay shares her incredible story from selling cupcakes to actually going to Nepal by herself and training girls’ soccer teams. The effect she has had on these young girls is remarkable. You won’t want to miss this inspiring story of Lindsay Brown.
God’s Women: Tamar
Imagine a woman who poses as a prostitute and sleeps with her father-in-law. Would you expect that story to be in the Bible? Probably not, but the story of Tamar is in the Book of Genesis. She is often unknown and her story may shock you.Fr. Mike, as he has done in this series on God’s Women, sets forth the history of Tamar, giving the background and highlighting the marriage laws that pertain to her. In one sense, Tamar is a kind of “Black Widow” since two of her husbands die after marrying her, and she is left without the children she so wanted. What happens is another one of those dramatic tales that would make a good TV series. Then Fr. Mike talks about how this story relates to us today. He poses questions to help us delve deeper into the Bible story to see if we are plagued by the past, how we can forgive, and what steps we can take to stand up for injustice.
God’s Women Miriam
Imagine if you were pregnant and the government wanted to kill your son when he was born! That is the beginning of this story of Miriam whose mother gave birth to Moses. Miriam had an essential role in the life of Moses. She herself was a Prophetess who could speak in God’s name. As Fr. Mike tells the history of this woman, it sounds like a dramatic TV series. There is deception, death threats, murder, separation, jealousy, tragedy and finally forgiveness. What a story! He talks, too, about the scene of Miriam and the women playing tambourines and dancing their praise to God.Then he applies all this to our lives today. Fr. Mike asks important questions that are worth pondering. Is tragedy a punishment from God? What about gossip? What about the role of women in the Church?
To See Again with Deborah Ouelette
Sometimes we go blissfully along and then something happens that changes our lives. In this interview, Fr. Mike questions Deborah Ouelette about her life. She was born and raised a Catholic in a wonderful Polish Catholic family. They moved to Detroit in the early 70’s in the midst of all the racial problems of the time. They had an unfortunate incident with a Catholic school and so she ended up in a Lutheran School. From there the family became Lutherans and remained so for several years. Then her mother died suddenly. It was her death that changed Deborah’s life. From the loving care of a grief support group in a Catholic church, Deborah and her husband made their way back to the Catholic Church. Several things happened to them in this process including Deborah’s struggle with severe eye problems.
The Big Way
Imagine watching NCIS Los Angeles and recognizing a person on the show. That happened to Fr. Mike.In this interview with Augusto Valverde, Fr. Mike asks him how all this came to be. Augusto ‘s mother is a woman of strong faith and so he grew up knowing about God. His father died when he was only three years old. But as he grew older, Augusto strayed. He tells of his wild life and how that was changed forever. He speaks of two events that affected his life and drew him closer to God. Although he was initially afraid, he began doing prison ministry. It was then that calls for acting roles came, including the one for NCIS LA. Now Augusto is an actor in Hollywood. On the side, he went to Colombia to preach about sexual purity to 850 people.He has also established BIG Foundation that involves Jews, Christians and Muslims. The profit that the foundation makes is used to help the poor and brings these people together to show their love of God and love of people.Don’t miss The BIG Way, the story of this extraordinary young man
God’s Women: Rebecca
Today we hear a lot about dysfunctional families. Are there dysfunctional families in the Bible? In this program, Fr. Mike looks at the story of Isaac and Rebecca. You remember that Isaac is the son of Abraham whom he tried to sacrifice to God. Then when Isaac is ready for marriage, Abraham sends a servant to find a suitable match. Later Isaac and Rebecca have two sons, Esau and Jacob. As Isaac is dying, he wants to give his final blessing to the elder son, Esau. But Rebecca favors Jacob and connives to fool her husband so that Jacob gets the blessing. This causes much upset in the family, to say the least. In reflecting on this story, Fr. Mike talks about favoritism in families, lying and deception, and living with and in dysfunctional families. Through this story of Rebecca, God has something to say to us today.
God’s Women – Rachel
We all know about falling in love. Are there stories about falling in love in the Bible? In this program, Fr. Mike talks about Jacob falling in love with Rachel. It was love at first sight.Fr. Mike gives the historical context of the story of Rachel, including the deception of Laban, her father — actually a major deception. Then Laban manipulates Jacob again, asking that he work seven years for Leah, the older sister, and then seven more years for Rachel.
Applying this story to us today, Fr. Mike talks about the reality of falling love, what this means now. He gives 20 things people can do to help save a marriage.What about falling in love with God? Fr. Mike convinces us that it is possible and desirable.One other lesson from the story of Rachel is the struggle in marriage when one spouse is unfaithful. It is amazing what the stories in the Bible can teach us!
What do you say to your 18 year old daughter when the doctor tells her that she has cancer? How do you deal with that? In this interview, Fr. Mike talks to the parents of Rebecca Stepusin about their journey with her for nineteen months as she dealt with this devastating disease. During that time, Becca (as she was lovingly called) had over five major surgeries. The amazing thing is that Becca chose to live as normal a life as possible. She heard the diagnosis right before going to college, but she decided to go any way. Her friends were very supportive and didn’t focus on her illness. That was exactly how she wanted it to be. Through her parents’ story, we learn how Becca coped and what a gift she was to them and is to us now. She trusted in God and was joyful to the very end. The book entitled Rare captures her spirit.
Sing to the Lord with Lorraine Hess
Music has great power. In this interview Fr. Mike and Lorraine Hess talk about what music can do for prayer. Lorraine is a Catholic musician who writes and sings her own music. She talks about her experience of Katrina in her home town of New Orleans. From this trauma, some of her best music was born. She then sings Jesus is the Way. Lorraine talks about how the gospels come alive when she takes the stories and sets them to music. She also sings the old songs in a contemporary way. Music takes prayer to the next level.Lorraine also works with youth. She sometimes uses popular songs with new words or uses songs such as Lean on Me and applies a spiritual application to them. The interview ends with Lorraine singing Soul of Christ.
Return to Family with Norma Cumpian
There are more people in prison in the United States than anywhere else in the world. What can we, as Christians, do to help those in prison? Fr. Mike interviews Norma Cumpian, a woman who was in an abusive relationship, made bad choices, and ended up convicted of second degree murder. She was pregnant at the time she received the sentence of 19 years to life. Norma talks about her experience in prison, especially missing her son. Her father brought him every other week. She talks about the anger, sorrow, depression, feeling sorry for herself. Then there is a turn in her life. She began praying for her son and how she could help him. She speaks of the lessons he learned by visiting her. Now she is out of prison and is Coordinator for the San Bernardino Area for Get On the Bus, a program to take children to visit their parents in prison. You won’t want to miss this inspiring story of a woman who made it back from darkness into the light.
Voice From Jesus Land
Our news is filled with much information about the West Bank and Gaza. Do we ever think about Palestinians being Christians, being Catholics? In this interview with Fr. Mike, Jamal Nassar, a Palestinian Catholic, talks about what it means to be just that. He was born in Jerusalem and can trace his ancestry back to 1100 AD. His family were refugees, though they did have a relative who took them in. Jamal talks about what this all means while he was growing up and what it means today. He speaks of the relationship between Christians and Muslims, the history and the current situation. It is fascinating to hear this from a Palestinian Catholic.
God’s Women Sarah
Can you imagine a woman being sold into a harem by her husband? Can we find God in the midst of this? In this program, Fr. Mike tells the story of Sarah, the wife of Abram, who lived in Ur, southern Iraq today. They were well off but were asked by God to leave and go about 900 miles to a new land, today’s Holy Land. They listened to God and obeyed what they thought was the will of God.
On their way, Abram passed Sarah off as his sister rather than his wife to protect them both. This is when she was put into a harem. One of their biggest sorrows was that they were unable to have children. So Sarah took things into her own hands and had her maidservant, Hagar, bear a child for them. Later on, when Sarah was 90 years old, the visiting angels told Abraham that Sarah was to bear a son. Sarah overheard and laughed out loud, finding this unbelievable. Then when Isaac is born, Abraham believes that God is asking the ultimate sacrifice of this son. Imagine what Sarah must have been going through at this time! Fr. Mike looks at what lessons we can get from thus story and then poses four questions for prayer after studying and thinking about Sarah.
God’s Women: Eve
Who are the women that God gives to us in the Hebrew Bible? You may be embarrassed and even shocked by their stories. Fr. Mike begins a series on the women in the Hebrew Bible. He finds that not all have lofty images. Some have stories that would make a racy novel with the women as the prime victim or the prime suspect! He explains how to use this series with a Bible Study Group.
The series begins with the story of Eve in the book of Genesis, especially Chapters 2 and 3. This first book of the Bible begins with the origins and characteristics of human beings. It helps us understand guilt, pain and death.
Fr. Mike then looks closer at the story of Eve and what this says to us today. He ends with four questions to guide our thinking of this first woman.
God’s Troubadour Part 1
Perhaps you have heard of John Michael Talbot, a former rock and roll musician turned famed religious musician and singer, but you may not know his unusual story. God turned his life around. In this interview John Michael tells Fr. Mike of his conversion from a Methodist to Catholic and how that occurred. In 1971 he had an experience of Jesus. The show includes John Michael singing “Send Forth Your Spirit:” They discussed how important love is in our lives, but also how tough it is to realize you are loved.
John Michael then talks about his involvement in the Jesus Movement and his growing devotion to St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis affected him greatly then and this has lasted even to this day.
God’s Troubadour Part 2
Sometimes God asks us to go where no one has gone. In this second interview, John Michael Talbot continues his interesting story. He explains how he now lives in reclusion and what that means. He is the Founder and General Minister of the Brothers and Sisters of Charity. Each member can choose to live a quiet life with others or be a helper living apart. Those in community meet for Mass on Sundays and Holy Days and a weekly community meeting. He then talks about contemplative prayer and ends singing “Breathe in the Spirit of God.” He encourages all of us to pray at least 20 minutes a day. If we do this, he assures us that we will experience at least two minutes of contemplative union with God that will enable us to face the challenges of the day. John Michael then sings “Worship and Bow Down”, one of his newer songs. He explains how he and the men and women living with him in Arkansas were able to survive after fire destroyed their home in 2008. This program is worth seeing!
Wounds of Sin
It is apparent today that there is so much pain among us. Some are struggling with depression, homelessness, mental or physical difficulties. Fr. Mike talks about all this in this program.B ecause he is a priest, people are apt to share their stories with him. They believe that he can help and certainly that he understands .If you are beset with worry, no matter the source, perhaps looking afresh at your life might be helpful. Sometimes we don’t really deal with the pain and suffering. We ignore it and we ignore God in the process.Fr. Mike then goes on to explain the seven most harmful sins – sometimes called the Seven Deadly Sins. He explains each of these – pride, greed, anger, envy, lust, gluttony and sloth – and how they can seem to control us rather than we controlling them. Don’t miss this very helpful lesson on the Wounds of Sin!
Vincent de Paul with David R. Fields
Jesus cared for those whom no one else cared for.In this program, we hear the story of Vincent de Paul who is the inspiration for David Fields, Executive Director of Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of Los Angeles and how they care for the poor as Jesus did.Fr. Mike talks with David about all that the Society does to help the poor, especially giving practical help with food, clothes and furniture. They run Thrift Stores where they sell and also have free distribution. They work for systemic changes in people’s lives. This particular Council has 2500 volunteers, serving over 300,000 poor people in the LA region.
The program includes scenes of the various sites around the area, an impressive view of the good work done by the Society. David also talks about what we can do to help with the massive problem of poverty throughout the world.
Jesus the Person
Who is Jesus? This is a question that we spend our whole lifetime trying to answer. There are many ways to understand who Jesus really is. In this program, Fr. Mike tells his own personal experience of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We know Jesus through prayer, our talking to him and Jesus talking to us. We also know Jesus through others, in our family, in church, in society, and even in our enemies. We also come to know him in the difficult times of our lives.
Fr. Mike looks at the four gospels and then concentrates on the Gospel of John to see who Jesus is.He explains the five characteristics of Jesus that he sees and illustrates them through the stories in this gospel. Jesus is humble, approachable, compassionate, intimate and divine.Listen to this explanation of who Jesus is for Fr. Mike and see if it makes Jesus more real to you right now!
If you love Jesus, you have to love life. As followers of Jesus, we have to make sure life in the womb and life outside the womb is protected. In this program, Fr. Mike interviews Lutheran Pastor Jason Kilian who believes “Every baby is a miracle.” Pastor Kilian is involved with Assure Pregnancy Clinic which has two branches (Fontana and Montclair) in southern California. These clinics offer support for the mother and child after the birth. The Pastor gives such statistics as at two weeks there is a heartbeat and at ten weeks the infant’s feet are defined. 75% choose abortion without knowing all the facts. They also talk about the after effects of sadness and depression that often accompany an abortion, as well as other physical, mental and emotional outcomes. The Pastor was careful to explain that their mission was not to condemn the person but to offer help to the women. There are two segments with Lori Bryant who is in charge of Community Education at the clinic. She explains why some women choose abortion and that this decision is often made in times of crisis. The Clinic offers education for the women, her parents and the father, all of whom can influence the decision. The program also included statements from Kirk Bauer, CEO of Assure Pregnancy Clinic. He explains that the Clinic offers pregnancy consultation free of charge to anyone in need, including a free lab-quality pregnancy test and ultrasound for confirmation. Educational, emotional and spiritual support services are also provided by a caring and compassionate staff. Fr. Mike and Pastor Kilian end the conversation by discussion of other life issues that need our attention and prayer.
Faith to Follow… Thomas
Thomas was a great apostle as well as a doubter! That’s why many of us can relate so well to this man of faith.In this session, Fr. Mike looks at the circumstances surrounding Thomas, especially in the gospel of John.
Thomas was the one to whom Jesus answered – “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”. Thomas showed great courage, stating he was willing to go to Jerusalem with Jesus, even if it meant death for him..Fr. Mike also looks at Thomas as one who was willing to ask questions “. How do we know the way?” This, too has application to our own lives.Then he spends time exploring the most famous scene of the “doubting” Thomas and what it says to us today.
Faith to Follow: Mary Magdalene
One of the most significant people in the life of Jesus was a woman – Mary of Magdala. Fr. Mike combines the gospel stories to construct what we know about this Mary. She used her resources to help pay for the expenses of Jesus and those who traveled with him. She may have been cured “of seven demons”. He discusses the idea that perhaps she was not a prostitute. She stood by Jesus at the cross and was one of the first to see him after the Resurrection.
Fr. Mike looks at this story of Mary and what it has to say to us today. There is much in the life of this woman that all can emulate
Faith to Follow: Judas Iscariot
Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve Apostles, betrayed Jesus. What went wrong? Why did Judas betray Jesus?
Fr. Mike looks closely at Judas, the chosen one who had shown great promise. He was one of the twelve who followed Jesus closely. He was given charge of the money. Perhaps he was even intimate friends with Jesus since he kissed him in the garden.
Fr. Mike tells the history of Judas, his background, and what might have motivated his actions.
Then he reflects on what the life of Judas might say to us. Judas ended his own life, as you know. What does that say to us as well? Fr. Mike looks at the concrete challenges and lessons from the life of this apostle in a new and different way.
Life a Treasure
What do you do when you have a child who is physically challenged? How do you care for them, love them? How do you experience God in their lives? Fr Mike interviews Lisa Manning, a mother of a physically handicapped son. Lisa and her husband, John, were told that Lucas, their premature son, would not survive. He is now 20 years old. They talk of those twenty years with the joys and struggles and the effect on others. Lisa knows that parents with special needs children usually end up in divorce. That is not the case here. She and John explain how they coped, actually how they thrived. They also talk about how we should react when seeing a child, or an adult, who is physically challenged. These extraordinary parents started a baseball club for special needs kids. Called Baseball Buddies, each child is paired with a high school teenager as a “buddy” who helps them play the game. What a rewarding service on all sides! You will be inspired by Life a Treasure.
Close to You
A beautiful woman comes, approaches Jesus, lets her hair down, and washes his feet with her tears. Imagine what the others at the table were thinking! In this program, Fr. Mike continues with the stories of people of faith in the Gospel of John. This time it is the story of Mary. He compares this story in all four gospels, noting the differences. This is an intimate story. The woman touches Jesus. She uses very valuable oil. Judas says that it should have been sold and given to the poor. But that is not what this woman wants to do with it.Fr. Mike goes on to discuss the closeness – the intimacy – of God with us, God wants to be part of our lives. There is a deep reality here, real tenderness. Jesus knows that the woman is preparing him for his death. What does this say to us? Fr. Mike gives several suggestions about the reality of death in our own lives and how we can prepare.
Faith to Follow: Bethany Friends
When someone we know and love dies, we are naturally sad. Did that happen to Jesus? The gospel of John tells us the story.In this program, Fr. Mike talks about the deep friendship that Jesus had with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. He would often go to their home as he passed through Jerusalem. They were very good friends.So it is no surprise that Martha and Mary tell him of the death of Lazarus. Martha tells him that their brother would not have died had Jesus been there. But Jesus has a different outcome. Fr. Mike explains this friendship and how deeply Jesus was affected. As the gospel says so tersely, “Jesus wept.” He was moved because he loved Lazarus so much. Fr. Mike then goes on to explain how life on earth takes on a different dimension, because there is life after death. This is not the raising from the dead, as happened to Lazarus, but everlasting life. Jesus assures us of this. We can live confidently, securely and at peace because of this tremendous fact. The power of God’s love is that great.
Many people have left the Catholic Church – and other churches, as well. What can we do to invite them to return? To come home? In this program Fr. Mike talks with Tom Peterson, President and Founder of Catholics Come Home. They talk about the reasons people leave a church. Tom gives statistics about the Catholic Church in America, quoting about 70 million baptized Catholics with about one-third of them attending Mass regularly. The reasons for leaving give hints for how to treat people in this group. Fr. Mike and Tom agree that what people want from the Church is to be welcomed, listened to and empowered.This reflects what Jesus was to his followers. Jesus showed mercy, compassion and love to all. That is what we must do as well.
Tom’s book entitled Catholics Come Home – God’s Extraordinary Plan for Your Life – goes into further detail.
Is anyone listening? We want people to hear us and we want to communicate what is in our hearts.In this program Jean Holsten, Director of Dialogue and Outreach of Bread of Life Center, Sacramento, CA, discusses with Fr. Mike how she helps people achieve real listening and true dialogue with others.
Jean tells of her life growing up in the 60’s in diverse San Francisco. They then moved to Sacramento and it was a different world. There was an African American family who lived near them. Someone lit a cross on their lawn.
Eventually she became disillusioned and moved away from the Church. She had become a successful lawyer but discovered a hole in her life. Alcohol and drugs seemed to fill that void, but not really. She recovered through AA Twelve Step Program and became a new person.She went to the gospels and found that Jesus was always in relationships. But we humans don’t know how to deal with relationships. So now she helps others with practices, skills and tools to slow down enough to hear and see God through others. She calls this Contemplative Dialogue or Active Engagement.
Suppose you were born blind. You never saw color, the sky, birds or people. Then one day someone touched your eyes and you could see. Imagine seeing for the very first time – seeing this wonderful world! That is what happened in the gospel of John in the story of the man born blind. Those around him were asking whose sin caused this blindness. Was it the sin of the parents? Or, was it his sin that caused it? Jesus says no, it was neither, but rather it was to show God’s power and mercy. In this program, Fr. Mike looks carefully at this story of the blind man. He explains the situation of the religious leaders at that time and the laws that they subjected the people to obey.He then explains in detail the many messages of this story from the spittle to the pool of Siloam. He ends with the meaning of looking someone in the eyes.
We all want to know who Jesus is. Well, in the 10th Chapter of John, he say this is who I am. In this program, Fr. Mike looks at what Jesus says through the story of the good shepherd. He researched shepherds and reveals what he found out about shepherds in the time of Jesus. They were solicitous of their flock, They developed a familiarity with each sheep so that the sheep knew the shepherd’s voice even amidst many flocks and many shepherds.Fr. Mike explores further how we hear God’s voice in our lives, and how we hear God calling us by name.
Neither Do I
During his lifetime, Jesus meets some unsavory people. In today’s program, Fr. Mike speaks about his encounter with the woman taken in adultery. This story is in the eighth chapter of the Gospel of John. Fr. Mike retells the story in an interesting way, quoting the law as found in the first books of the Bible and then in the Law of Moses as the Scribes and Pharisees were enforcing it. They wanted to “catch” Jesus by dragging this woman before him. But Jesus was wiser than the Scribes and Pharisees and knew how to teach them something about life at the same time. So he began writing on the ground. We don’t know exactly what he wrote, but it was enough to cause the condemning men to turn away. Fr. Mike then draws out the lessons in all this for us to ponder. We need to get away from generalities and judgments of others, and offer them a second chance as Jesus does.Fr. Mike then spends some time talking about why adultery happens today and what we can do to live in a brand new way.
Heart of Agape
What if God said to you: “I want you to share my love with as many people as possible.” Would you be able to do it? In this program, Al Mozino tells Fr. Mike just how he has done this in his life. Al was inclined to Church even though his parents didn’t attend an organized church. As he grew up, he began to realize how important community is to nourish our faith, giving the support needed to remain faithful. Al Mozino is the RCIA Director at Blessed Teresa Church in Winchester, CA. There he teaches about the Catholic faith, from the prayers, to the Mass and Scriptures. He explains about the faith in easy to understand language. He has also written a book entitled Getting to Agape – A Lesson on Love. In this he explains God’s unconditional love.Toward the end of the interview, Fr. Mike and Al get into a personal discussion about asking God for forgiveness with a contrite heart. You don’t need a formal prayer to do this – just go to God on your own. God knows what in within.
Healing by the Pool
Imagine being sick for thirty-eight years, and then all of a sudden, you are cured! What an experience.That is just what happened to the man by the pool in Bethsaida as recorded in the fifth chapter of the Gospel of St. John. Fr. Mike looks at this wonderful story of healing. Tradition was that when the waters of the pool were stirring, the first one in was miraculously healed. The man waited by the pool year after year, but was so sick that he could not get into the pool by himself.Then Jesus enters into the picture. He asks the man what he wants. Then he simply tells the man to stand up, pick up his mat, and go home.
But the Jews couldn’t let this be. They tell the man that he has broken the law by picking up the mat. Then later on, they go to Jesus and ask him what right he had to heal on the Sabbath. Fr. Mike looks at this legalistic approach to life and compares it to the never ending love of God. He then looks at healing itself, whether it be through medicine or by the hands of a healing minister. He warns us about not believing in magic, but in the true and deep healing that comes from God’s love for us.
Hunger is a fascinating reality in our lives. We are surrounded by fast food stores, yet some go hungry. What does this mean in our relationship with Jesus.Fr. Mike looks at the feeding of the five thousand in the 6th Chapter of the gospel of John. He analyzes each part of the story to go deeper into its meaning for us. Why did these people come from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Jerusalem? What was it about Jesus that drew such large crowds?What are the blessings if we share and risk what we have, as that young boy did in this story? What about the 12 baskets collected afterward? Do all these aspects say something to us now?
Improv for Wellness
We don’t usually think of Hollywood as a place where one can come closer to Christ. But some people really do just that.Today’s guest, Nanciann Horvath, has spent her life combining nursing with acting. Now she uses these skills to help others live in the present.Throughout this interview of Nanciann by Fr. Mike, they talk about ways that acting can be used to illustrate bible stories. Nanciann even talks about Faith in FIlm – using Cinema Diviina – to examine ordinary movies to see what God can be saying to us through this media. It does happen. Movies can be modern day parables.Then Nanciann talks about using improvisation to help relieve everyday stress and other illnesses. She tells the participants to be in the NOW, don’t negate!
What she says has great possibilities for enhancing teaching bible study or catechesis.
Life At Last
We hear a lot about crimes of robbery, murder, bombings, etc. What about white collar crimes?
In this interview with Fr. Mike, Wid Bastian tells of his successful life in securities as a stock broker. Things were going well, but then he drifted into dishonesty when he needed the money. He admits now that this can be devastating to the victims. He told lies to cover up his mistakes.
He was a fugitive for 14 months, ends up in jail and then the conversion really began.
Imagine having a conversion experience in jail! But Wid did just that. He also realized while in prison that he had pursued the wrong career. He is really a writer. He had written one novel before prison. While in jail, he wrote Solomon’s Porch which is now doing well.
He says that he realizes some think that prison conversions are shallow. He knows that his was not. HE did change. Realizing that he hurt a lot of people, he now tries to strike a balance in his life by coming to terms with it all.
Faith to Follow: Samaritan Woman
There was a woman, of a different religion, who had been married five times – and Jesus turns her life around. What a story! Fr. Mike turns to the gospel of John for this story of the Samaritan woman. He looks at the history of women at the time of Jesus and all that they couldn’t do. Besides being professional mourners and confined to domestic duties, they could do nothing else. That’s why it is extraordinary that Jesus talks to this woman. AND, she was a Samaritan besides, despised by the Jews. Fr. Mike goes on to explain how Jesus treats her even though she had been married five times. Not only that, but he empowers her to go and share the good news with others. Sometimes we get “used to” the stories of the gospel. We hear them and take them for granted. Don’t miss this program by Fr. Mike for a fresh new look at this wonderful story.
Faith to Follow: Nicodemus
How do we encounter God? How do we get to know him in our own lives?
In this program, Fr. Mike talks about a fascinating man, Nicodemus,and how Nicodemus can help us
strengthen our own faith.
Using the Gospel of John, Fr. Mike reads that Nicodemus “comes at night” to question Jesus. He was part of the religious institution at that time. There were priests, levites, elders, scribes and, of course, the Sadduccees and Pharisees, as well as the court of the Sanhedrin.
Jesus was a threat and so Nicodemus was careful.
Fr. Mike speaks of the threats we might encounter and how the story of Nicodemus can help us. He explains what Jesus meant when he said we need to “be born from above” and we “don’t know where the wind blows” and how these apply to our lives.
Sometimes we forget essential elements of our faith. It is important to be reminded once again and what better way than through the
story of this man, Nicodemus.
River of Hope
It is never too late to give your life to Jesus. In this interview by Fr. Mike, Bryant Smith, an 89 year old man, tells of his first 45 years when he really didn’t know how to be a Christian. One day he heard a good preacher who spoke of forgiveness and the coming of the Holy Spirit. Since then Bryant, known as a “bulldozer” to his brother, loves to tell people about God. He walks up to anyone and says “Jesus loves you and so do I.”Bryant’s life has taken him to Mexico where he has helped 22 orphanages. He has also worked with drug addicts, alcoholics, abused women, Teen Challenge, and a myriad of other ministries. He believes that it is never too late and quotes “Failure is one step toward victory if you don’t stop!”
“No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.” We all believe this, don’t we? But, do we believe that 17,500 human beings are enslaved in the USA each year?
700,000 to 2,000,000 women and children are trafficked throughout the world each year. It seems unbelievable, doesn’t it? In Stolen Lives Regained survivors tell their story. We hear and see them because now they are free and safe from their masters and want to help others from this same fate. In this short documentary, Fr. Mike explains the situation here in the states and how CASTLA helps to change this dreadful scene. The staff of the Coalition Against Slavery and Trafficking, Los Angeles (CASTLA) talks about their work and gives direction of what to do if you suspect someone is enslaved. They give clues to look for that will help to determine if it is something that needs reporting.
Fr. Mike ends by saying “Knowledge is power. Educate yourself.”
Fr. Mike wishes and prays for the very best Easter ever for you in this program for Easter Sunday, as well as for life in all its fullness.He talks about our fear of sin and our deep fear of death. But our faith overcomes all that fear. He speaks of the wonderful Easter stories, such as the women at the tomb and the disciples on the way to Emmaus. But most importantly, Fr. Mike speaks of two aspects of Easter: 1) memory and 2) Christ is alive now.At the end of the first half, a beautiful Alleluia is sung by Tacji. Then in the second half, Fr. Mike talks about the challenge we have in Easter and that there is nothing that we can’t overcome when Jesus is with us. Ralph and Victoria Mohutsky end the program with a beautiful rendition of And The Sun Rise
Gloria Loring was a famous soap opera star on “Days of Our Lives”. Everything was going great and then something challenged her.In this interview with Fr. Mike, Gloria tells her story. Her life was filled with music from the very beginning. Her father was a musician and her mom a singer. So it was natural for her to choose singing and acting as a life choice.But then she went through a period of anger, intense rage, and deep hurt. These dark feelings ultimately led her to find the person within. It was a difficult path but so very worthwhile.
As a result, Gloria wrote a book, Coincidence is God’s Way of Remaining Anonymous. In the book she writes, “I learned that pain is my friend. It leads me to where the hurt is so that I may heal it.”In the remainder of the interview, Gloria talks about her journey to prayer and meditation and sings a song of her father.
What if Jesus came and was very angry, “fit to be tied”? It is true and is in the Bible. (JN 2: 13-18) In this program, Fr. Mike reviews the story of Jesus in the temple, clearing out all the people selling animals. He even overturned the tables of the money changers. Though it is true that animals were needed for the sacrifices in the temple, it seems that the balance was gone. Sometimes we can become so concerned about money, that we lose our sense of freedom. We need always to realize our dependence upon God. Fr. Mike then talks about other examples of the anger of Jesus, especially in the Gospel of Mark. How do we reconcile being kind and having anger? He looks at good anger and bad anger. When we bottle up our feelings of anger, stifle it, then one day it will boil over and explode in unacceptable ways. We all have experienced times like this.
Faith to Follow: Mother Mary
People who encounter God in their lives can help us do the same. In this program, Fr. Mike talks about Mary, the Mother of God. He looks at the Gospel of John for the story of the Wedding Feast at Cana. Studying the beautiful bond of love between Jesus and Mary, he looks at three ways this story can help us.
He then looks at the story of Jesus leaving the family home and moving into his ministry. This, too, can relate to us in several ways. It is difficult sometimes for us to let go. We want to hang on and keep things the way they always were. Mary has a different lesson for us .Finally he looks at Mary standing at the foot of the cross. Again what a beautiful lesson this is for us in God’s economy of spirituality.
God can move in your life even under traumatic circumstances and even if you are a famous sportscaster. In this program, Ross Porter, a very famous Dodger sportscaster, tells Fr. Mike about his career, beginning at age 14 in Oklahoma.
He started on radio announcing for school games. He loved the “play by play” calls and soon advanced to high school sports, to college, to NFL (7 years there) and finally to the Dodgers. Then something happened to Ross. Because of heart problems, he had to have a defibrillator inserted into his heart. This worked for some time. But then he had an episode that put him in the hospital. He was sent home and then special circumstances occurred and he was back in UCLA, a different hospital. He had a Code Blue and was “dead” for several seconds. This experience had a great impact on his life.He learned much during this time, especially finding God in so many people and in so many ways.
Education That Works
We all know how important education is for everyone. It is particularly so for children of low-income families and more difficult for them to receive a good education. In this documentary on Immaculate Conception Academy (ICA) in San Francisco, we see how this can really happen. ICA is a Cristo Rey School, a work/study concept for high school students, the brainstorm of Fr. John Foley, SJ. Cristo Rey schools are a network of schools throughout the US. They give needy students an opportunity to earn part of their tuition by working
five days a month and studying the rest of the time. This is possible through a cooperative program with corporations in the area who hire the students.
In this program, students, faculty, directors and corporate sponsors speak of their roles in this school. Students testify to all that they learn about balancing work and study. They reflect on how real it is to work in a corporate setting that will definitely prepare them for a career later on. ICA offers a full college preparatory program along with the corporate work program. It is challenging for the girls, but all agree it is worth it all. Care of the earth, citizenship, moral and social values are all included in this excellent school. All aim for college at graduation. This program gives new hope, safety, stability and optimism for the children of our nation.
Faith to Follow: Nathaniel and Philip
Sometimes deep in our hearts, we might sense that we do harbor a bit of prejudice. What about an apostle who does just that as well? In this program, Fr. Mike continues with a deeper exploration of faith by studying two more men of the Bible: Nathaniel and Philip.He looks at Philip first. Philip was from Bethsaida, a town influenced by the Greeks. In fact, most likely Philip spoke Greek. So when the Greeks want to meet Jesus, it is reasonable that they would come to Philip to ask him to take them to Jesus. Philip also plays an important role in the feeding of the five thousand in the desert. Fr. Mike then tells the story of Nathaniel whom Jesus saw under the fig tree. Jesus praises him for being straight –forward, “without guile” .Before, Nathaniel had portrayed his prejudice by asking the question. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Fr. Mike elaborates on this statement and on Jesus’ directive to love our enemies and how that really helps us as a person. He shows how these two men of faith can strengthen our own faith.
Faith to Follow: Peter and Andrew
There has been much in the news about the “nones” , the ones who answer the question about what religion they have with “none”. What about you? Do you have faith? Do you really believe? In this program, Fr. Mike looks at two people in the Bible who exemplify that strong faith, people who have encountered God in a personal way. He looks at Peter and Andrew through the Gospel of John.
Knowing who these two men were, how they lived, and how they came to deeply believe in Jesus helps our faith to grow.Sometimes as we read their names or hear about them in the Gospel, we don’t really take in their motivation. Fr. Mike shows us more about them and gives suggestions of how our faith can grow.
The Lisa Project
We are surrounded by violence. It is happening every day. What happens to the victims of this violence? Does anyone help them? In this interview, Fr. Mike talks with Lachelle Crivello who is the Director of Victim Services for the Riverside County D.A.’s Office. District Attorney’s Offices around the country have Victim Assistance Centers with advocates for the victims who stand behind them and help them through the ordeal. Lachelle, a victim of abuse herself, is well equipped to understand, reach out and help others in similar circumstances. She relates stories of victims that move the heart. Lachelle was also instrumental in getting The Lisa Project into the Riverside area. It is an interactive mobile project that tells the story of all kinds of abuse. There is a reflection room where viewers can write responses, as well as one with various resources. You can actually see parts of the exhibit on the show.
Imagine as a child you are told that your kidneys aren’t functioning and you are going to die! Then four members of your family step up so that you can live.
That is the amazing story of David Trajillo. In this interview by Fr. Mike, David tells the story of his life. At age 3 months, his parents find out that he has kidney problems and had to be put on dialysis. Then at 3 years old, his father donated a kidney for him. That lasted ten years. Then at age 13, an uncle donated a kidney; at 21, an aunt and then the fourth one came from a stranger. This last one was a swap – his brother donated and they gave David one from a stranger. As David’s story unfolds, we hear of the difficulties and challenges he has faced, but also his inspiring story of faith. He is a sign of hope to all of us. We hear from his mother and girl friend and the part they have played in this journey. David has established IGNITE – In God Now I Trust Everything – to help transplant patients and their families.
Voice in the Desert
We want to believe, want to believe in others, in the airplane pilot and in God. Atheists reject God, the church community, authority. Others put their faith in money, in power, Some have faith from their childhood but it is not grounded so when scandals happen or disaster strikes, their faith is shaken.In this program, Fr. Mike talks about how we can protect and nourish this tremendous gift of faith. He uses the Gospel of John and begins with John the Baptist.John the Baptist has a message for all of us. When God calls us, we are challenged to change. We are challenged to do difficult things but we have the strength to do this. John is calling each of us to follow Jesus humbly with the freedom and power we never experienced
We all admire firefighters. They protect us and save us. There are also firefighters who want to bring us to Jesus.In this interview by Fr. Mike, we discover that Tommy Neiman is just such a firefighter. Tommy has been a fireman for over 28 years. He has made it into a real spiritual ministry. While dealing with horrific tragedies, and sometimes death, he is sensitive to the needs of the victims and their families and often brings comfort
and peace to them that go well beyond the physical.Tommy talks about his experiences “in the heat of the moment”. He has many stories to tell, especially of one man whom he hadn’t seen for 17 years. Besides all this, Tommy is Florida’s Director of the Fellowship of Christian Firefighters, a national organization. In this capacity he has spoken at over 400 churches in the nation.
Toward the end of the interview, Fr. Mike asks Tommy about his greatest fear and his greatest joy.You will want to see Saving Sirens to hear his answers!
Imagine a priest who not only prays but has a talent to compose and sing! That is the story of Fr. Raul Caga, SVD. Fr. Raul is from the Philippines, a country made up of over 7,000 islands and 85% Catholic. He comes from a religious family of ten children.Now he is a professor and teaches moral theology. But he has decided also to use his musical talent to bring people to Christ. IT is an extraordinary life for a priest. He gives concerts and even has an album.In this interview by Fr. Mike, Fr. Raul tells us of his three goals -1. to be a priest; 2. to use his talent to help encourage vocations to religious life and the priesthood; and 3., to raise funds for the seminary. His music helps him to do all three things very well. In this program, Fr. Raul sings My Sweet Surrender and a second song in his native language that proclaims God is Fulfillment of My Life.
Birthing Jesus Today
There is a very special guest on this show today. Lupe visits with Fr. Mike to hear about how Jesus is born in us at Christmas time. She doesn’t quite understand it, so Fr. Mike explains that God loves us so much that Jesus comes to live in us. He explains what that means and how we can bring Jesus to the world. St John the Baptist is a model for what we should do. We start by loving others and listening to them. Then we share our own story with them. Lupe agrees that she can do that and invites us to join her.As a very special treat, Jose Feliciano sings Feliz Navidad in Wordnet’s own studio.Then the show ends with Tatiana singing Gloria In Excelsis Deo.
Strong in Faith
Sometimes we might be “wishy-washy” with regard to our faith. There are times when we need to stand up for what we believe.In this program, Fr. Mike looks at our natural faith in pilots and doctors and then at our faith in God.In our pluralistic society, there are many faiths and some say one is as good as another. But, Fr. Mike says, we must be convinced that we have chosen the faith- religion- that God wants for us. And be convinced of it, even willing to die for it.We do need to respect others and their beliefs, but we must be willing to say out loud, yes, this is what I believe.He then goes on to talk about children and faith. Sometimes parents just let the children go off and experiment with any religion they want. Others work very hard to ground their children in the faith of the parents, and then find that they abandon it after all that was done to promote and strengthen it during their growing years. Fr. Mike has advice for these parents.
Poverty is all around us, in this country and around the world Is there anyone out there who cares? Marlene Merrill is one who cares very much. In this interview with Fr. Mike, she tells him a little of her family background and how she became involved in community action. She herself had gone through job loss so she understands those who are in that same boat experiencing the humiliation and devastation as a person. So there is real understanding when she meets them. She also realizes that distributing food, giving gas cards or clothing vouchers is helping countless numbers of people. Her organization uses an “army” of volunteers to help pack the food, etc. Sometimes these volunteers are simply trying to stay afloat themselves, but come to help others. She says “You can’t put a dollar value on what you get back when you serve others.” It is wonderful to know that this kind of service is going on around us when poverty is so rampant.
HEALING THE LOSS
Losing someone you love, losing a job or a home, or losing the presence of a spouse through deployment in the service can leave you devastated. Is there any way to get help while going through the pain of this loss? In this interview , Fr. Mike explores with Victoria Stephan what she did when she lost her husband at an early age. Victoria comes from a very spiritual family, growing up in the faith atmosphere of the University of Notre Dame. She went through a period of search, floundered a bit, and came back stronger. Then her husband died and she had a difficult time finding the strength and support she needed. But it did happen. Now she is engaged in helping others cope with all kinds of loss. The Stephan Center which she founded educates professionals who work with those in loss and provides all kinds of services for churches, faith groups and individuals on how to deal with loss.
Imagine if you were a TV soap opera movie star, very successful, and yet not happy. What would bring happiness to you? In this interview, Fr. Mike explores with Karyme Lozano the story of her conversion. She has been in eleven Spanish novellos and has established her career. She has also appeared in several movies. In her latest movie, For Greater Glory, the story of the Mexican revolution in the 1920s which gained freedom of religion in that country, Karyme played the mother. Now she carefully chooses roles that inspire people.
In talking about her life, Karyme said that she spent many years searching in all the wrong places. But the story of her conversion is the most fascinating. It not only changed her life interiorly, but also gave her a deep and abiding respect
for all life. She is now very active in helping women contemplating or having gone through an abortion.
Faith is an important word. There is our faith in God, but faith covers much of our lives. This program wrestles with the problem of faith. Pope Benedict XVI has declared a Year of Faith. So, Fr. Mike has decided to spend much of the coming year exploring this topic. He has studied the Bible, the Catholic Catechism, and the documents of the Second Vatican Council.All these resources have much to say about faith. Then talking to people and how they live out their faith helps us to do that in our own lives. He will also touch on questions that arise. What about doubt? How do we experience God? There are many ways this can happen. What about the faith of those of other religions? There are many ways of exploring faith. Don’t miss this first of the series,
When our lives become difficult and we don’t know what to do, is there any hope? Fr. Mike gives a resounding YES! He goes on to speak about St. Paul’s advice to the Corinthians in 1:26-28. God chose the foolish and the weak…
Sometimes we have to hit bottom before we can truly know God’s love and power. This is so true of addiction, isn’t it? Fr. Mike tells a moving story of an addicted nurse. He then talks about God giving us a second chance. There is always a second chance! Ezekiel 36:26-27 is so encouraging and consoling. God will replace our stone hearts with hearts of flesh. There is no place for abiding discouragement or despair. And – we never give up on others who are feeling helpless.
A Better Life
Immigration is a struggle within our nation and around the world. How do we deal with the real people involved? Fr. Mike’s interview of Jose Jullian, a young actor in A Better Life, deals with this question. The movie centers on a father who struggles to get a job, standing on the street corners with the “cattle call” as Jose names it.Jose reveals that the young man he portrays in the film mirrors his own life. He grew up in the turbulent 90’s with a single parent mom, who was undocumented. They lived in a gang-infested area. He reveals that many immigrants whom he knows refuse to get into criminal activity. They don’t want that kind of life for themselves or their children.Then Fr. Mike talks about the five things that Catholic Bishops say we should do with regard to immigration.
Don’t miss this very interesting and challenging show.
8 Strike Chaplain
Imagine being in prison for several years, getting out and then being asked to come back and be a chaplain! That is the story of Ed Welsh who now serves as Chaplain Liaison for the LA downtown jails with over 18,000 inmates.
In this interview with Fr. Mike, Ed tells the story of his life – an abusive, alcoholic father, a mother who died in a car accident when he was young, and a life in and out of prison. At age 22, he ended up in San Quentin in the 1970’s when the violent jail gangs were at their worst. It was only at age 31 that his life began turning around. This was due to people who cared for and loved him. He held a job in the aerospace industry for over 16 years. Now he serves those in prison. Quite a turnabout! He now knows that God is a God of mercy and grace and is able to convey that to others who are reluctant to believe.
We have to make choices every day. There are many things out there reaching out to us and saying “This is the answer!” In Embracing God, Fr. Mike is bold enough to say that he has the answer for us! He explains the two worlds in which we live. The one world, the secular world, has many enticements, luring us to buy more things, to invest our money in a certain thing, even to find a partner for life. There are many “Choose Me” calls. And, many times, we do make the choice. Sometimes our choices are tainted with selfishness or they are based on jealousy, or revenge or a hunger for power. When this happens, we soon find out that it is never enough and it doesn’t last. Fr. Mike then goes on to explain another world – the community of believers. There is a bond here, a different connection where we call God someone we love. We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves. He further elaborates on this world. But the important question is : Which world do we choose? He uses two examples from the Bible to illustrate this choice. One is from Joshua 24:14-15 and the other from the Gospel of John 6:51-57. Fr. Mike ends by challenging us to make a choice for God TODAY!.
Home Run for Christ
Imagine a great baseball player, five times an All Star and he makes Jesus the center of his life! That is the true story of Mike Sweeney. Mike spent over 20 years in professional baseball – 15 of those in the major leagues.He maintained a 297 batting average and hit 215 home runs.In this interview Fr. Mike talks to Mike Sweeney about how this came to be. It started in 1991 in Chino, CA when a priest questioned him about his relationship with Christ. With that event, his journey to a stronger, more personal faith began.Mike often uses a scripture passage to explain or illustrate what is going on in his life. He tells the story of how he met his beautiful wife, Shara, and their involvement in Rachel House, a crisis pregnancy center. There were ups and downs in his career, but he realized early on that what was important is who he was and not what he did.You will want to hear Mike’s story of why 2Timorthy 4:6 – 8 is one of his favorite scripture passages.
Who is God for you? As an orphan,while loving the foster parents, wants to know the birth parents, so, too, we want to know God, the source of our life. In this program, Fr. Mike explores what it means for us to know God. Because God is so great, we need images to help us. We use similes …. God is like this or that. Perhaps a breathtaking sunset or other natural phenomena, tells us something of who God is. Perhaps a person can help reveal God to us.Fr. Mike then explains the image of the potter used in Jeremiah. This beautiful image has great depth and can speak to us on a very personal level. God can take our aberrations, our sins, and re-form us, like the clay in the potter’s hands.The jazz player offers a similar comparison.
Many people are deeply angry about pedophilia and the priests and bishops who have been doing the wrong thing. What is the Catholic Church doing about this? This interview by Fr. Mike is with Elder Samaniego, Associate Director of the San Bernardino Diocesan Office of Child and Youth Protection. After telling his personal conversion story, Elder talks about the process that all priests, religious, deacons, church staff and volunteers must undergo as part of the child protection program that the Catholic Church has implemented since 2002.
Suppose you are a small child and you become friends with a priest. Then it turns out that the priest sexually abuses you. What do you do with this?
In this program, Fr. Mike interviews Hugh Patty who was abused by a priest — as well as by many others — years and years ago. Hugh tells the story of his
life and how he has dealt with all that happened to him. He was born into a very poor family in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern North Carolina. His father was mentally illl and an alcoholic and his mother had many problems as well. He and his siblings were on the streets and were rescued and treated so well by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart. So he ended up in Catholic school and became
an altar boy. Then he met the priest who befriended him and became his surrogate father. The priest was a gourmet cook and so meals were spectacular for this young boy..He received the attention and care he so needed. But then the abuse happened and continued from ages 9 until 13. At that time, the priest became tired of him and desired younger boys.During this time, Hugh went through feelings of guilt and the sense that he was the cause of all this. In fact Father told him that he was! In the years that followed, Hugh went through
all the stages of guilt, anger, revenge and depression. At one point, he decided to get back at the priest. That was a turning point in his life. Hugh is still a practicing Catholic. Find out how Hugh has coped all these years and what his life is now.
No Greater Gift
At sixteen years of age, Melanie was killed by a drive-by shooter. Then something beautiful, though painful, happened. In this interview of Linda Miers, Melanie’s mother, Fr. Mike explores with her the legacy of Melanie’s life.
Not too long before, Melanie had mentioned to her mother that she wanted to be designated as an organ donor when she got her driver’s license. As it turns out, someone came to see Linda at the time of the accident when it was clear that Melanie was brain dead.That started a wonderful ministry with which Linda is still involved today.Follow this heart-breaking story through the tragedy and doubt to the hope and challenge that her life and death offers all of us.
God of Changes
Have you even thought of the possibility of Jesus changing his mind? Sounds strange, and a bit sacrilegious, but he did change his mind. In God of Changes, Fr. Mike gives his insights into this perhaps disturbing thought. He starts with the Gospel of Matthew and shows that at the beginning Jesus sent the Apostle8s to the Jews only. But then as we continue reading the gospels, we know that he went out to Samaritans, Romans, pagans and others who were not of the Jewish faith. Fr. Mike talks about how change in our lives can be scary but also can be a rich, wonderful experience, if we let it. He takes the example of
Thomas and shows how he progresses from courage to confusion to doubt and ends up with a confession of faith that has lasted to this day.
Lost Boys of Sudan
What would you do if war came to your land and you were uprooted from all that is familiar and had to walk thousands of miles to escape? That is what happened to about 36 to 40,000 young boys in Sudan in the 1980’s. They are known as the “Lost Boys of Sudan.” Atem, a Lost Boy himself, tells of his journey and his hopes for his beloved country. He now works with Lisa Marie Johnson at Mary’s Project in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. In this interview we learn about the civil war and how these boys had to flee for their lives, living for a time in refugee camps in Ethiopia and then in Kenya. 3600 of these young men were selected to be brought to 36 different American cities. Australia and Canada also received them.
Fr. Mike asks Lisa about her trip to Southern Sudan. She tells of her visit and the incredibly beautiful people she met there. She stresses how important it is to “step out of our comfort zone” and become deeply enriched in the process.
Sometimes we think of Christianity as Jesus in my heart. But that’s not all! The call of Jesus is to proclaim the Good News to the whole world. Fr. Mike talks about some people who really took this call seriously. People like Paul, who was unstoppable, went many places to preach the love of Jesus. Others include St. Francis Xavier, St. Patrick, Fr. Junipero Serra, and Amos, the prophet in the Old Testament. Then, of course, Mother Teresa who spent many years in India.
Fr. Mike then goes on to tell the story of Kateri Tekakwitha who is to be canonized. This young woman born in 1656 was a native American and knew the struggles of living in their villages in the 1600’s. Hers is a wonderful story that you won’t want to miss. Fr. Mike also recommends seeing the movie Black Robe which tells of other missionaries and what they went through.The point is: Jesus wants you and me to help spread the Good News to all in the whole world. Take that challenge!
The Dinner Hour
Sometimes things fall apart, but then you can pick up a ministry and help thousands of people.This is what happened to Eloy Sanchez .In this interview, Fr. Mike asks Eloy about his story. At age 11, he had a bicycle accident, was seriously injured and had a 50% chance of living. But a doctor operated and saved him. He then became a marine and served for 25 years. On a roundabout journey, he ended up in southern California, working for the railroad as a communications lineman. Once again something happened and he developed a serious heart problem. This kept him from following the railroad to Kansas.
He began helping his friend, Rudy, pick up five boxes of bread to give out. Twenty years later, Eloy is giving away over 15,000 pounds of bread, serving dinner every Tuesday to over300 families. At Thanksgiving he served 800 meals. The Dinner Hour Ministry which Eloy manages also gives out food baskets to the needy and toys to children at Christmas. He trains dozens of volunteers to help with the ministry, including young people who have to do community service for a misdemeanor. He has never had a problem with them. He attributes this to treating them with respect. The young people, in turn, treat the needy with respect. It is a win-win all around.
Miracle Upon Miracle
Sometimes many things, bad things, keep happening in our lives. We wonder when will it all stop? What can we do? Well, a couple in this interview by Fr. Mike, Calvin & Denise Claire, experienced things that most of us will never know. Their first house began sliding down the hill and broke the sewer system. So they had to move. Then at the second house, a one hundred year old tree fell and broke the water and gas lines. So they had to move again. If this wasn’t enough, their 23 year old son, Michael, contracted thyroid cancer. He lost 40 pounds and had to undergo a series of treatments for this. After two years he is back as a fireman and is free of cancer.It is marvelous to see how this couple with four sons coped with all these tragedies. To top it all off, they then tell the story of how Calvin went from being a fireman to becoming an avocado farmer.
You won’t want to miss this inspiring and wonderful story.
Spirit in Jail
Jesus challenges us to reach out to those in prison. “I was in prison and you visited me.” In this interview with Steven A. Gomez, Fr. Mike and he discuss the meaning of “restorative justice”. Many dioceses have offices that have a broader mission than just visiting those in prison. It includes bringing peace and healing to all involved – perpetrators, victims and the families of victims.Steve tells of the research that says putting people in jail costs a lot of money and the rate of recidivism (returning to crime) is very high unless the program includes education and development of job skills. Steve himself grew up in a nice neighborhood, went to Loyola Marymount University, and seems like the last person to be involved in this type of ministry. He tells how this happens. His sincerity and dedication comes through as he speaks about it. He stresses that listening to the prisoner (or the victim) is the basic stance to bring about the healing and peace that all are seeking. They also discuss what one can do to help.
Coping with the Blues
Sometimes terrible things happen and our laws require execution for the crime. What would Jesus say about that? The reality of depression is overwhelming us in this current economic situation.. Is there a solution to this pervasive condition? Fr. Mike interviews Fr. Alan Phillip, CP, a Passionist priest who has written a book on depression entitled From Blues to Smiles to Joy. He speaks of the definition of depression There is a difference between the “blues and blahs” and depression. They discuss the signs and some easy steps to take to help oneself. Fr. Alan stresses the need to talk to someone and to look at our own “self talk”. One of the biggest helps is to count our blessings and to redirect our action to help others be happy. For practical advice on dealing with depression, don’t miss Coping with the Blues.
Sometimes terrible things happen and our laws require execution for the crime. What would Jesus say about that? n this interview of Sr. Helen Prejean, CSJ, by Fr. Mike the conversation centers on the death penalty. Sr. Helen was awakened to the issues of social justice early in her religious life, but one experience changed her forever. This event became the cornerstone of her book Dead Man Walking, as you may know. She tells a moving story of a father whose son was killed and his attitude toward the man who did it. Sr. Helen explains carefully the “culture of life” and how Christian and so like Christ this is. Toward the end of the interview, she explains how we can decide our own response to this complex problem in light of the Gospel.
Imagine being in jail for twenty years for a crime you didn’t commit! That is the story of Franky Carrillo. He tells Fr. Mike how this happened in 1991 as he was accused of killing a 43 year old husband and father in a drive-by murder. One witness identified him and later five others corroborated this . There was no other evidence. In the first jury trial, there was a hung jury – seven for Not Guilty and five for Guilty. Then in the second trial, he was convicted and sentenced to 30 years to life. Franky’s story is amazing. First in juvenile hall and later in adult prison, he just emotionally shut down. But volunteers and priests, especially Fr. Greg Boyle, gave him hope and wisdom.Then one day, a woman for whom he had worked, happened to meet a lawyer and that law firm took on his case, which eventually led to his release from prison .Franky has always been inspired by the story of Joseph of the multi-colored cloak in the Old Testament. It is easy to see how Franky would relate well to Joseph’s story.
Have you ever wondered how you could ever start a national TV show? You can only do it if you have a wonderful friend. In this interview Fr. Mike speaks to Jack Knight who helped him begin in the 1970’s. Jack is an actor/singer with an amazing story. They review a bit of their history together but then Jack tells of what he is doing now. 9/11 had a big impact on him. He looks upon the firemen and policemen who responded that fateful day as real heroes. So now he visits the fire houses around the country to tell the firemen that they are his heroes today. Don’t miss this inspiring story and even hear Jack Knight sing to the firemen!
In our world today there are a lot of people who are lonely. They do not have a sense of “belonging” to anyone or any thing. It is important to know if one really belongs. Fr. Mike looks at various areas of “belonging”. Family, friends, groups of shared interest, church….are just a few. These are places where one is accepted without question.Young people join gangs because they want to belong to something.He then moves on to belonging to the family of God. As it says in the Bible,”…we may be called children of God….” And again in John 14:15 God says to us “I will not leave you orphans.” Then Fr. Mike tells a story from the viewpoint of a young boy with Down’s Syndrome. This helps us to look at the world from a different perspective.
Priest Turned Prophet
You may or may not know much about Ezechiel. It is such a strange name and the book of Ezechiel has many strange stories. But Fr. Mike simplifies Ezechiel’s story and makes it relevant today. Ezechiel had a very difficult life. He was a priest who was captured and enslaved. He, with many others, was forced to march 900 miles from Israel to present day Iraq. His story is one of hopelessness, but then God empowered him. Fr. Mike illuminates the story of the “living creatures” and compares God’s loving care of Ezechiel with the Good Shepherd in John 10. He helps us ponder whether any good can really come from tragedy. He ends the interesting story of Ezechiel with that wonderful image of the field of dry bones.
Tangled in Addiction
Addictions are a reality in the lives of many today. How do we get out of them?
Mary Cook, an experienced counselor-psychiatrist, discusses all this with Fr. Mike. She explains that addictions are like chasing after false gods. They take over our lives. Part of us does the chasing and the other part is ashamed and wants to stop. Addictions speak loudly, but then there’s this little voice – called grace — that says to us “You may not want to do this.” Mary Cook, the author of Grace, Lost and Found, speaks about the internal work that needs to be done, and that we don’t have to do it alone. In the course of the show, Fr. Mike and Mary talk about the place of dreams and how to work with the “inner child” within us to bring about true and lasting healing.
Have you ever compared the Resurrection stories in the four gospels? Do you know that they are different? In Easter Gospels, Fr. Mike does just that. He talks about how the four evangelists speak to different communities and the effect that this has on the gospel they write. He points out that the gospels were written at different times, up to sixty or seventy years after the crucifixion of Jesus.
Then he goes through some of the differences of the resurrection stories in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But each one gives testimony to this crucial dogma of our faith, the Resurrection of Jesus so that we might live.
The program ends with a beautiful Alleluia hymn sung by Tatiana. Watch it on right here on the website
Imagine living a life of comfort and security and then, all of a sudden, you are pulled out and sent to a new land. You are a refugee.This is the story of Oanh Le Ngo. In 1975 when Saigon fell, she and her husband were taken away and flown to the Philippines, then Guam and later on to the US. Oanh was pregnant at the time.She was also a Buddhist. After this extraordinary journey, she became Catholic by attending two RCIA (RIte of Christian Initiation for Adults) programs. Since then she has spent her life helping others, especially ministering to married couples. She founded Agapae Life Design and has received two major awards for her ministry in the Catholic Church.
Joy Filled Life
Some who want to be a good Christian think that life has to be serious and sad. What about joy in being a follower of Christ? Fr. Mike looks upon joy as an exciting topic, amidst so many discouraging things in our lives. We need something to lift us up. Sometimes we forget one of the great messages of Jesus. He came to bring Good News. Fr. Mike looks at Isaiah 61:10, the Magnificat of Mary in Luke, the letter of Paul who says:” …rejoice always”, and the gospel of John chapter 16, when Jesus talks about joy in several ways.
He then talks about things and events that sometimes bring us happiness and joy and other times when times are sad and lacking in joy. What is Jesus’ formula of going from sadness to joy? There is one.
Thank God Always
Sometimes a “Thank You” can be
very cheap. It is a bit superficial. What about a “Thank You” that goes deeper?
In this program, Fr. Mike explores four levels of “Thank You” going from the important but rather surface one that we use when someone picks up a pencil for us.He explains very thoroughly the story of the ten lepers when only one, and a Samaritan at that, returns to say “Thanks”.Fr. Mike then moves on to the fourth and perhaps most difficult one of saying “Thank You” to God, not only for the beautiful things in our lives, but also for those that are not so. This is challenging, but with it, blessings come and a great peace.
Some of our young people have difficult lives today. How do they cope with all their challenges? Is anyone there to help them? In Visionary Youth, Fr. Mike talks with Terrance Stone about this problem. Terrance was “born into” a gang family. He was in gangs for fifteen years and spent about ten of those years in and out of jail and juvenile detention. Terrance explains the hold that gangs have on the young, giving them a sense of belonging and being accepted for who they are.While in jail, Terrance was changed. There is an interesting story about Pat Robertson and the 700 Club. Since then, Terrance as turned his life around and now helps other young people to do the same. He is currently CEO of Young Visionaries.
Sometimes we’ve done something wrong in our lives. We’ve gone to the church and asked for forgiveness. But still, there is that “shadow” in our minds that plagues us. How do we deal with this guilt? In this program, Fr. Mike tells the
story of Judy and the guilt that she was living with for years. This deep secret stayed with her and her life felt shallow; she was like an empty shell. She longed to be free of this guilt. Fr. Mike goes on to talk about this and how we can overcome it. He looks at the effect that guilt has on our lives. He speaks of Isaiah 40:1….”guilt is expiated.” The gospels tell us much of how Jesus dealt with guilt.
Don’t miss Resolving Guilt and learn how you can let go!
Did you know that there are 1100 gangs in LA County with 86,000 gang
members? Is anyone doing anything to help correct this problem? Does anybody care? This interview of Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ, by Fr. Mike will give you much hope. Fr. Greg has been working with gang members for over 24 years! He founded Homeboy & Homegirl Industries which helps the young people learn how to run a business, cook, wait on people. It gives them hope. Fr. Greg says that the most important thing is giving them a community where they are respected. In the nation, recidivism is 70%. That number of people are repeat offenders. Only 30% start a new life. But with Fr. Greg’s ministry, it is just the opposite. 70% begin again! It is very inspiring to hear this story of one man who has changed the lives of so many previously hopeless young people.
Suffering’s Other Side
Sometimes when we are ill or things are not going well, we become discouraged. This talk by Fr. Mike will give us hope. Fr. Mike tells the story of a friend of his who had a stroke ten years ago. Now this man is in a wheel chair and has developed heart problems. Fr. Mike relates the stories from Scripture that he told his friend. Mark’s gospel has the parable of the mustard seed and Paul in the second letter to the Corinthians speaks of how he looks upon his own weaknesses. We get an insight as to how Jesus looks upon these situations in our lives. It is good to take stock and “feed” our hope on these words.
Power of Humor
Does God have a sense of humor? In this delightful interview, Fr. Mike and John Fugelsang talk about humor and the role it plays in life. John is an actor/comedian and this comes through strongly in all that he says. John talks about his own religious background, and has some surprising facts here, and how God is always present to him. One particular incident in his life made an indelible impression. No doubt you will be interested in what John has to say about the last TV interview with George Harrison. They talked about God for four hours!
Wounds of Sin
It is apparent today that there is so much pain among us. Some are struggling with depression, homelessness, mental or physical difficulties. Fr. Mike talks about all this in this program. Because he is a priest, people are apt to share their stories with him. They believe that he can help and certainly that he understands. If you are beset with worry, no matter the source, perhaps looking afresh at your life might be helpful. Sometimes we don’t really deal with the pain and suffering. We ignore it and we ignore God in the process.
Fr. Mike then goes on to explain the seven most harmful sins – sometimes called the Seven Deadly Sins. He explains each of these – pride, greed, anger, envy, lust, gluttony and sloth – and how they can seem to control us rather than we controlling them. Don’t miss this very helpful lesson on the Wounds of Sin!
Children are a great blessing to a family. But how do you deal with children and church? Sometimes you can lose the experience of church because of them. Fr. Mike interviews Sarah Ibbetson who has found an answer. She was a professional woman until the children came. Then she and her husband decided that she would be a stay-at-home mom. She discovered a disconnect between “going to church” and “belonging” to church. She noticed others were experiencing the same thing. So she organized a group of women to come together to share similar challenges and minister to each other. They meet for an hour or hour and a half twice a month. Don’t miss this interesting way to help moms in your own church setting.
Christmas A Gift
Fr. Mike tells a story, based on The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry, that will enrich you with the real meaning of Christmas. It is the modern story of Ella and Jeff who are suffering from the downturn in our economy. They are very much in love with each other but have no money to exchange a gift. You’ll have to tune in to hear the rest of the story. Fr. Mike goes on to emphasize that as you give to people in your life, Christ’s giving to you goes on and on and on. It is in encountering Christ in others and loving them that you can find the peace and joy of this season. Fr. Mike asks: What would it take to have this wonderful spirit of Christmas last all year long? Is there something that you and I can do? Yes, there really is.
God is born into our lives with hope and peace. Fr. Mike talks about the gifts that delight our hearts at this wonderful time of the year. Being with family and friends and sharing a meal with those we love and who love us is probably among the top of the list. But don’t forget that God is giving himself to us. God becomes one with us and one OF us. One of Fr. Mike’s passions is to convince us of the greatest reality. That is, in the depth of our hearts to accept that God loves us. He quotes from Isaiah 62:11-12 that we are not forsaken. Sometimes, as Fr. Mike says, we are not happy at this joyful time of year. Sometimes our hearts are heavy and God’s love seems an empty call. Fr. Mike asks us to do something, then, that he has not quite done before. Be sure to watch Christmas Views to find out what he suggests. Tatiana, a beautiful vocal artist, sings two songs in this program: Boxes of Christmas Stuff and Infant Redeemer. Be sure to hear these beautiful Christmas songs. At the end of the show, Fr. Mike asks for your opinion on this question:
To be safely sensitive to non-Christians, should we say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” to everyone? Record your response on our website.
Taste and See
Do you love to eat? What, if anything, does this have to do with your relationship with Jesus? In this interview of Henry Gonzalez, the Executive Chef at Spaggi’s restaurant, Fr. Mike talks with Henry about food and Jesus. They look at all the instances in the gospels when a meal or banquet is one of the essential elements. Henry speaks of how he began in this business and how he looks upon food and what it can do for people. Fr. Mike compares this with Ansel Adams and the beautiful photographs that he has created. Henry talks also of his own growth in scripture through his attendance at classes in the Diocese which will enable him to minister in the Church more effectively. At the end of the program, they discuss the poor, especially those who have little to eat and how we can help them.
Where To Turn
When you come to a dead end in your life and there seems to be no answer to all your problems, what can you do? Some are tempted to give up. Where is our hope? In this program, Fr. Mike tells the fascinating story of Dan, a marine, who loved his life in the military service. He is deployed three times to Afghanistan and experiences a horrific event there that turned his life upside down in a most dramatic way. This moving story illustrates how we can come out of a dead end. Fr. Mike then talks about the tragedies happening around us now, as well as those in the Old and New Testaments.
Where do we turn at these times?
God – A Love Affair
What’s the most important thing about a relationship? What about our relationship with God? In this program, Fr. Mike looks at the Epistle of Paul to the Romans (8:35-39) and explains the passion that is reflected there and what it says to us now.
A recurrent theme in Fr. Mike’s preaching, he repeats again that the love God has for us is so astounding that it can change our lives. He then looks at the Gospel of Matthew and the 55th Chapter of Isaiah. Sometimes we take the love of God for granted, or don’t believe it. Don’t miss God – A Love Affair to help rekindle that love in your own heart.
Social Media Church
There is not much evidence of the Catholic Church in social media today. In this interview with Bishop Gabino Zavala, Chairman of Communications for the Catholic Church, Fr. Mike and the Bishop discuss the reasons for this and also the many ways that the Church IS encouraging the use of mass media. The Bishop talks a bit about the many duties of a Bishop and the problems that one has to face daily. Bishop Zavala is Chair of the Communications Committee which is working with pastors to encourage the people in the pews to become partners in mission through their access to Face Book, email, and other forms of communications. The Church wants the people to use these modern means of communication to spread the Good News of the gospel. One collection each year is taken up for Catholic Communications. Half of the funds collected is awarded to projects in keeping with the priorities of the Church in this area. The Bishop also spoke of how the Church is in dialog with those of other faiths. This ongoing communication is important for all to understand each other and help bring peace to all.
Sometimes financial problems can so weigh us down that we can become depressed and cause other problems in our relationships and family life. In Money Crunch, Fr. Mike tells the story of Paula in whose life everything had gone wrong. She was raped as a little girl. As an adult, this tragedy caused so many other problems in her life; psychological, physical and marital. It seemed as if nothing could be done. But then something did happen. Then Fr. Mike goes on to talk about all the financial problems of today. He explains how Jesus dealt with the rich and the poor .Looking to the gospel and to the prayer that Jesus gave us can guide us in these difficult times.
We all know the story of Damien, the Leper. This dedicated priest served the lepers on Molokai and died at an early age of this dreaded disease. But Fr. Damien has a lesson for all of us.In Mary’s Mercy, Fr. Michael Barry tells of the influence of Damien in his own life. In this interview with Fr. Mike, Fr. Barry says “We think we’re moving with the Lord but sometimes the Lord pulls us in a different way.” That is certainly true of Fr. Barry. He talks of how his own life was changed when a priest said to the congregation in which he was, “You Catholics just talk….talk…talk….Go out and do something.” Then he tells the beautiful story of how he literally helps feed the poor now with dignity and respect. Mary’s Mercy helps deliver over 8,000 meals a month. Don’t miss this inspiring story.
Marriage is tough. Serious things can happen to break it up. Can a divorced couple ever reunite? In this program, Teresa McGonigal tells her story to Fr. Mike of how it really did happen to her.She had a fairy tale marriage to a dark, handsome man who swept her off her feet. Children came quickly before they had enough finances to have a home and car and everything needed to raise a family. So the husband turned to alcohol. As he sought his solace in drink, she turned to other men
who cared for her when her husband didn’t. He stopped for awhile and they got back together, but it didn’t last. It sounds as if this were it, but there is so much more to the story. Find out what happens and how this marriage was saved.
What do you do with anger? Are you far away from being a Christian if you are angry? In this program, Fr. Mike tells a very realistic story about Reed and his wife, Zoey. He paints the picture of a domineering wife and a man who just “takes it” and uses his baseball game to release his anger. Until it becomes too much. The story is so real; it could be one of you and me. Fr. Mike then goes on to explain good and bad anger, giving examples of Jonah and Jeremiah from the Old Testament. He tells about the prime example of Jesus in three or four examples of anger as related in the gospels.
It is good for our physical health, as well as for our spiritual health, to take a good look at Rising Anger.
Good News in Ghana
When we Americans say “our church” we usually mean the church in the US. But the church is universal. In this program we see the vitality and life of the Catholic Church in Ghana. Rev. Gabriel Kumordji, SVD, is Bishop of a Vicariate in Ghana which has 14 priests, 17,200 Catholics, 500 settlements with 19 parishes and 100 stations. They depend greatly on 102 lay ministers to teach catechism and prepare people for the sacraments. The priests are only able to get around to everyone about once or twice a month. But the Church is growing there as well as in the whole of Africa, according to Vatican statistics. In this interview by Fr. Mike, Fr. Gabriel gives a wonderful picture of the celebration of the Eucharist. Wait till you hear how they have the monetary collection during the Mass! Fr. Gabriel then goes on to explain his relationship with Jesus and how this helps him to face the Aids pandemic and ethnic conflicts in the country.
Hues of Joy
God gives us gifts to share with others. Today’s guest, John August Swanson, shares his unique gift of art to help us know God a little better. In this interview by Fr. Mike, John tells us of his early background, his interaction with Corita Kent, another famed artist, and his own struggle to find himself and to find the gift hidden within him.
Out of depression and discouragement has emerged this wonderful artist with a unique gift of silk screening. John explains some of his paintings in the interview…and how the painting reflects life for him and for us. In the one entitled Psalm 23, he used 47 overlays of color. He goes on to explain The Last Supper, The Procession David & Goliath, Take Away the Stone and Come Out of the Tomb. As he shows the art, John unveils the religious meaning and the hope that underlies each of them.
From Night to Day
You and I know what it is to be discouraged and then experience love. Love changes everything. In this interview by Fr. Mike of Louie Velasquez, Jr. , we hear his story of struggle and pain that really began when he was only 3 years old. At that time he saw his alcoholic father beat his mother.Then during his growing years, gangs held fascination and gave him the feeling of belonging that he so desired. Drugs, alcohol and womanizing became his way of life.It was only after years of loneliness and separation from family and friends, that Louie yelled out to God: Where are you? He ended up in a Catholic book store speaking to the owner who would change his life.
Louie heard the whispering voice of God. Listening to his story make help us to hear God through all the pain and struggle.
No Parents Here
What would happen if you were snatched out of your life and sold into prostitution? Would you ever be able to turn your life around? This interview with Janice Higgins tells her painful but powerful story. It almost seems impossible that all this could happen to one person. She was attacked at age 7; her mother was murdered by her boyfriend; Janice has to raise siblings and then when her aunt takes them into her family, she takes care of both families. The story goes on and on. But the amazing thing is that she comes out of all this and ends up “clean” for twenty-one years, running an outreach program for troubled teens called R.A.G.E., and writing three books on her life.
Don’t you hate a pessimist? One who always see the dark side of life? It is so much better to be with one who is optimistic, isn’t it? Imagine God as optimistic! In this context, Fr. Mike looks at the gospels and explains how God is optimistic, even when we fail. He dramatically tells the parable of the sower and the seed and compares this with a baseball player. Imagine that one! Then Fr. Mike looks at all the times that Jesus failed in his life. But even through failure, God works miracles. This is so pertinent to our lives, when we seem to fail more times than not. God still is optimistic and will help us through. God will bring good out of it all if we are confident and share the love of God that we have in our hearts with others.The program ends with a lively rendition of Shout to God by Tess Narciso and The Blessing band..
Get On The Bus
Imagine the fear, loneliness and even shame of a child whose parent has gone to jail. Some may not see this parent for months and even years at a time. A concerned group got together and decided to do something about this. They look upon a child not being able to visit the parent as a violation against children. In California alone there are 200,000 children whose parents are in jail. Bishop Zavala and Sr. Suzanne Jabro, CSJ, saw this need and decided to take action. Thus was born Get On The Bus project, originally funded by women’s religious orders. This project takes children equipped with food and backpack on the four hour trip to visit their mom or dad. Each child receives a teddy bear and brings a letter that they give to the parent during the visit. Counselors are available for the children as sometimes these visits are very stressful for them. The volunteers who accompany the children see this service as a joy and honor. They say: “We come in peace, not judgment.” What a wonderful way to put into practice what Jesus tells us in Matthew 25.
Who do you trust in your life? Is it someone you live with, someone you work with, an airplane pilot? Do you trust God? In this program, Fr. Mike explores the parable of the owner of the vineyard who keeps sending people to the vineyard for his portion of the harvest. He compares the foolishness of this owner to God who so foolishly trusts us, no matter how much we fail. Fr. Mike calls us to change, to begin to trust ourselves, to believe in ourselves and thus become able to empower others We do this because God trusts us immensely. He then goes on to talk about the prophets of today who listen to God’s call and act. Through their lives they challenge us to trust God.The program ends with a beautiful rendition of Without The Cross sung by Ralph and Victoria Mohutsky.
In the Whisper
Sometimes God gets to be “a bit too much for us” and we want to run away from God. It might be a bit consoling to know that Elijah, a special prophet of Yahweh, felt the same way. But then he had an experience of Yahweh God that taught him not to let anything get in the way of making God the center of his life. Watch this show In the Whisper and learn how you, too, can do just this. At the same time, you’ll see wonderful pictures of Haifa and the surrounding area where Elijah lived, and even the place to where he ran.
Advocate for the Ignored
When we’re young, we have high ideals and may be drawn to things of God. Then as we grow older and become more successful, those ideals may go away and we think: What happened to that kid? That is the story of Gerard Straub. He became successful in all three networks (CBS, NBC, and ABC and was a CBS executive. Then one day the search for God returned. How did that happen?
Now Gerry runs the San Damiano Foundation whose mission is “Putting the power of film at the service of the poor.” Quite a transformation!
From the Mount
Against the background of the beautiful Sea of Galilee amidst the waves and flying seagulls, Fr. Mike explains the story of the Samaritan Woman and the Beatitudes. This was filmed while he was on a pilgrimage with other Wordnet supporters in February 2008.
He preaches from the very “mount” from where Jesus spoke and so it takes on a very special meaning. Hear about Jesus’ simple call of love, call to serve. Find out what we need to do to live our lives as Jesus wants. And, at the same time, enjoy seeing the beauty of this land we call “the Holy Land”-a virtual visit to the place where Jesus lived.
How do we get to heaven? What do we do while here on earth to assure heaven? Christ tells us in the Beatitudes. Sometimes this is very difficult to do. But once in a while, there is a person who personifies one or more of these Beatitudes and helps us out.
Dorothy Day is one of those people who took seriously what Jesus tells us. Claudia Larson was so taken by Dorothy Day that she produced a video entitled Don’t Call Me a Saint to tell her story. Dorothy took the Beatitudes seriously and as a result there are hundreds of houses of hospitality around the world today. Claudia spent years producing this video so that others could hear this story from Dorothy herself.
How do we come to Christ? Sometimes it is the example of other people. It may be their courage, their love of the Lord, their willingness to change for the sake of the gospel. Somehow God touches us. We have an encounter with God and our lives are changed.
That is what happened to Paul as we read in the Acts of the Apostles. He was persecuting Christians. He approved of the death of Stephen. But then he receives a call from God and is given the courage to change. Paul was a sinner and became a saint. Maybe there is hope for me, too!
Is your God a God of fear? Or a God of love? Sometimes when we were young, our image of God was a God watching every move we made, ready to punish us and send us to hell if we weren’t good. Some sections of the Bible even reinforces that concept. God is all-powerful, all-present and all-knowing. So our response is marked with awe, fear, and distance.
Listen to Fr. Mike explain how it is possible for God also to be caring and loving and wanting to live in us. Fr. Mike explains how –when we struggle with the questions in our hearts about the meaning of life– God can become the God of love.
Crisis of Forgiveness
We live in a world of violence and terror. We never think that violence will happen to us. What would we do if we were shot? Deacon Mike Bellinder had such an experience and it turned his life upside down. He has found that being able to forgive has given him joy and personal healing. The world says get back at those who hurt you; hold on to that anger when you or your loved ones are hurt. But the story of Deacon Mike Bellinder, in this interview with Fr. Mike Manning, goes against all that.
Champions of Faith
Not too long ago we were reading stories of steroids and baseball players. If you want to get a different view of some of these strong players, watch our show entitled Champions of Faith. Tom Allen has produced a movie about another world of baseball where the players profess their faith in Christ. The movie interviews about two dozen players and managers from five or six major clubs including Mike Piazza, Jeff Suppan, David Eckstein, and Jack McKeon. In the interview with Fr. Mike, Tom Allen tells a wonderful story of reconciliation of Mike Sweeney that happened during the filming of the movie. Don’t miss this inspiring story of athletes who are called to be good stewards of the physical gifts they have and who have a personal ministry of sharing with others….a surprising side of the world of baseball indeed!