What Every Catholic Marriage Prep Program Ought to Include


How would you answer this question ... Outline a marriage preparation program for your parish. Explain what components you would like to include and why. Joel had to answer this very question for his sacramental theology course, and we thought it made good blog post material, too. It's the topic of our latest column at Catholic Stand. And {cough, cough}, for the record, Joel received a perfect score on his answer. Was the professor too gracious or just right in his assessment? Head on over … [Read more...]

Take 5 with Devin Rose


Catholic convert and apologist Devin Rose discusses his new book "The Protestant's Dilemma". A few years ago, Lisa and I went to our first Catholic conference, the 2011 Catholic New Media Celebration in Kansas City. It was a tremendous experience, largely because of the people we met. One of those people was Devin Rose. During the conference, a number of us went out to dinner together one evening. Purely by chance, Devin and I ended up sitting next to each other. Upon discovering that we … [Read more...]

Mass Forward: A Reflection on Sunday’s Mass Readings


Remembering Who We Are Read April 27, 2014 (Second Sunday of Easter) Mass readings at USCCB.org. *  *  * This weekend, the Church celebrates Divine Mercy Sunday. This devotion finds its inspiration in the visions and writings of Polish nun Sister Faustina Kowalska. According to sister, Jesus told her, “Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the prayer, Jesus, I trust in you.” Years later, on the Second Sunday of Easter of 2000, at the Mass for the St. Faustina’s … [Read more...]

A Taste of Benedictine Hospitality


Regular readers here may recall that for nearly the last four years, Lisa and I have traveled monthly to Conception Abbey and Seminary College for diaconate formation weekends. During that time, we've befriended many of the holy, happy monks there; truly a blessing. As such, it is our great pleasure to welcome Fr. Guerric Letter, O.S.B. to the Soup & Stories series. As a young monk and a recently ordained priest, Fr. Guerric is a bundle of holy energy, and that energy is coming in … [Read more...]

Marriage is like Chicken Soup

Engagement Picture, 2004 (image courtesy of Stalzer Photography)

I learned to cook out of necessity. I was 34 when Lisa and I got married, so I would have starved otherwise. During my extended bachelorhood, I found that I enjoyed experimenting with different culinary techniques. It became something of a creative outlet for me. As a biochemist, I learned to enjoy the science of it, too; I’m a huge America’s Test Kitchen geek. I had also found that women were usually impressed by men who could cook. Let’s be honest here. Before we met, I was single in my early … [Read more...]

Strengthening the Mr. and Mrs. Once You’re Dad and Mom


We were scheduled to lead a young couples event at a parish in eastern Iowa today. We’ve been defeated by the weather once again this winter and were not able to travel due to the snow. But all is not lost. We share with you, dear readers, a portion of our presentation titled “Strengthening the Mr. and Mrs. Once You’re Dad and Mom: The Beatitudes of Healthy Marriages.” Please keep in mind a few things as you read: The target audience is young married couples with one or more little ones at … [Read more...]

Mass Forward: A Reflection on Sunday’s Mass Readings


Is The Minimum Enough? Read January 23, 2014 (Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time) Mass readings at USCCB.org. *  *  * Two men, each around 50 years old. Each doctorate-degreed and very successful in his chosen field. Each a married father of three children. One is a university professor. During his early years before receiving tenure, he worked very long hours – at the laboratory running experiments and at the office writing manuscripts and grant proposals – busily conquering his little … [Read more...]

Why I Love My Wife, Volume 3

Lisa and Lydia

Had enough, yet? Neither have I. Several years ago, I had the opportunity to read from 1 Corinthians for a friend’s wedding. I’ve never really heard it or read it the same way since. It’s the standard to which we should hold ourselves, particularly as a married couple and parents. It’s a high standard, but so much depends upon how well we love. We directly impact the salvation of our spouses and children by how well we measure up to 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. So, how’s my lovely wife doing? Let’s … [Read more...]

Can Miscarriage and Abortion Grief Coexist Peacefully?

In Memory of the Unborn Children

To be perfectly honest, we were feeling pretty good about things. As part of the diaconate formation in our diocese, each candidate is required to develop an Icon of Christ the Servant ministry project.  Essentially, each man or couple is to ascertain a genuine need in the community and undertake a personal outreach ministry to fill it. This directive doesn’t mean a new ministry must be developed. For example, some fellow deacon candidates are visiting shut-ins in hospitals and nursing … [Read more...]