The Vocation of Dusting (+ a birthday giveaway!)

The Vocation of Dusting

"Dusting is important for saving the world." ~ Leila Lawler & Elizabeth Foss Dusting? Dusting. That was the quote from the Chapter 3 Summer in the Little Oratory podcast that most caught my attention. And it also brought back to mind a story filed away in my to-blog-about-one-day folder. Finally, a reason to talk about DUSTING! The story goes a little like this... One Saturday morning a few weeks back I headed across town to Des Moines' Southside and attended morning Mass and … [Read more...]

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...]

“Framily” Ties


Joel and I were recently reviewing stats from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' 2013-14 study of permanent deacons. Take a guess --- what's the average age of deacons in the United States of America? How many are in their 40s like Joel? I won't spill the beans here, but if you're curious, head on over to my latest post at where I've provided a snapshot of the age demographics. I also reflect a bit on how we've even gotten through this journey with small kiddos at … [Read more...]

Welcoming the Immigrant Among Us

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Some political issues remain simply political until they visibly impact the lives of those around us. Then suddenly we recognize them as issues of human dignity. My latest column for, a "World View Wednesday" post, revisits one such situation about a most serious political issue of our day: immigration reform.  Truth be told, immigration reform was once just a bunch of talking points that affected a group of people. But then something happened to shake that up. Immigration … [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 *  *  * 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...]

Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry (Part 2)

Pray, Hope Don't Worry - St. Padre Pio

“Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.” ― St. Padre Pio Back on September 23, the feast of St. Padre Pio, I issued a "worry list" challenge and invited readers to join along. I came up with five big things that were, so to speak, keeping me awake at night. I wrote the worries out on a piece of journal paper and placed the paper in the back of my Bible, a symbol for placing my worries in God’s hands. I marked my calendar three months forward, … [Read more...]

What “I Know My Limits” Really Means

Lisa at Lucy's Baptism

My social media feeds blew up several days ago with friends near and far sharing their disgust over words an Iowa lawmaker spoke on the floor of the Iowa House. The lawmaker at the center of the kerfuffle is Representative Beth Wessel-Kroeschell who stands in opposition to a bill here in Iowa banning telemed or webcam abortions. The partial transcript of her speech follows. Or watch here if you prefer to hear straight from the source. “I want to let you know that we as women know about babies. … [Read more...]

Even Papa’s Peace Doves Get Pecked Sometimes


“Christians who are afraid to build bridges and prefer to build walls are Christians who are not sure of their faith, not sure of Jesus Christ,” Pope Francis. Bridge building can be hazardous, huh? Just take a look at what happened to the peace doves Pope Francis released while, ironically, praying for peace in the Ukraine where violent protests have raged since late November. The moment provided a bit of inspiration for my latest piece at, Even Papa's Peace Doves Get … [Read more...]

The Lost Art of a Handwritten Note

Handwritten Notes

A couple of weeks ago I received a beautiful Christmas card in the mail. Its loveliness was outmatched only by the thoughtful handwritten two-page plus letter found inside. It read, in part, "This year I've vowed to send a handwritten note to special people in my life to let them know how I feel about them. Of course, it's all good stuff!" (Whew. Exhale. Safe to proceed on...) The letter continued with my friend sharing heartwarming thoughts about our friendship and shared … [Read more...]