Reasonably Catholic: Keeping the Faith

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Black Deacon Blues: CT’s only African-American Catholic deacon lost his office but says the work goes on

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Deacon ArtDeacon Arthur Miller, who headed the Archdiocese of Hartford’s Office of Black Catholic Ministries until it was eliminated last year (as was the Office of Hispanic Ministries), is still finding plenty of ways to inspire. An activist, author (of The Journey to Chatham, about his growing up in Chicago in the ’50s when he was a schoolmate of Emmet Till, whose murder helped spark the civil rights movement), and popular speaker, Deacon Art was recently arrested for blocking traffic as part of a Black Lives Matter Moral Monday protest in Hartford.

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On synchronicity

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Erin MustoMaddie

Erin Musto describes episodes of synchronicity she experienced — and which she attributes to God’s loving care — during crises in her life: her husband’s leaving her for a family friend and the death of her 5 1/2- year-old daughter, Maddie, to a rare, inoperable cancer.

The foundation Erin set up in Maddie’s memory can be found at and on Facebook. Erin also has a blog,

Prof Combs 2Prof. Allan Leslie Combs, of the California Institute of Integral Studies, is co-author of the classic book Synchronicity: Through the Eyes of Science, Myth and the Trickster. He believes synchronicity is born of the creative abundance of the universe.


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Making peace with aging: advice for women


Catholic author Lisa Mladinich offers spiritual, physical and emotional advice for women at midlife.

Richard AllevaBrooklyn posterCommonweal film critic Richard Alleva recommends “Brooklyn,” a straightforwardly told human story featuring a good-guy priest.


Thanks to all who donated during WESU’s fall/winter pledge drive! You put the community in community radio!


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Introducing Wesleyan’s new Catholic chaplain

Fr. Bill WallaceUntil recently, Augustinian Father William Wallace wore an additional hat, as a practicing lawyer in lower Manhattan, handling fraud cases in the New York Attorney General’s office. Recently, he retired from that job to become Wesleyan University’s new Catholic chaplain.

Click below to hear the episode:

At a November 15, 2015, Mass in Wesleyan’s Memorial Chapel, marking the terrorist attack on Paris, Father Bill read the following, which includes a litany of French saints:

Once again atrocity and tragedy strike our civilized world. The killing and wounding of innocent lives in Paris shakes us to the very core of our being. It demands our attention and our prayers.

In times like these, prayer is, perhaps, the only response, the only action, that we human beings can offer, and, yet, it is an action of great power and great grace. It is an action that Jesus Himself did when faced with unthinkable suffering and death – His own.

Let us now call upon those who have gone before us in faith – the holy men and women, martyrs and saints, of France who intercede for us and with us. Let us call upon their names and ask them to hear our prayers for the people of Paris, the people of France, and all people who are victims of war, violence, injustice, oppression, and hatred.

As Catholics, we pray:
Lord, the ones you love are under siege and in danger at the hands of those who do not know you, and who do not love life. Already many are dead, dying, suffering, mourning, and our grief is unbearable.
We beg your mercy on the souls of the dead, and your healing upon those injured; we beg your mercy upon the city of Paris and the people of France, as they are targeted by a dark madness that travels among us. We understand nothing, Lord, but we do know and are convinced that a light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it. That light is Christ Jesus, your Son.
Christ Jesus, light of the world, come into this darkness. In your light we see light.
Notre Dame de Paris, pray for the people of your city!
Our Lady of Grace, you who showed yourself to Saint Catherine Laboure and brought miracles, who smiled upon Saint Therese of Lisieux and created a missionary, in your holy Motherhood, please intercede for your fearful and endangered people; bring your consolations to the people of Paris and all of France. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, hear us.
Saint Therese of Lisieux, Patron of France, pray for them
Saint Joan of Arc, Patron of France, pray for them.
Saint Martin of Tours, Patron of France, pray for them
Saint Remigius, Patron of France, pray for them
Saint John Vianney …
Saint Jeanne Jugan …
Saint St Genevieve…
Saint Denis…
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux …
Saint Germain Cousin …
Saint Peter Julian Eymard …
Saint Louis …
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque …
Saint Peter Fourier …
Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat …
Saints Louis and Zelie Martin …
Saint Jane Frances de Chantal …
Saint Catherine Laboure …
Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne …
Saint John Eudes …
Saint Vincent de Paul …
Saint Hilary of Poitiers …
Saint Isaac Jogues …
Saint Jane de Chantal …
Saint Jean-Baptiste de La Salle …
Saint Benedict Joseph Labre …
Coptic martyrs and all victims of hatred and intolerance…
All you holy men and women, pray for France and pray for us.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil and all evil.
Lord Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, hear our prayers tonight and the prayers of the people of France, those living and those who intercede for us from heaven.
Bring your faithful departed safely home to heaven, heal those who are wounded and cry out to you for help, comfort those who mourn and are sorrowing, and help us, Lord, help all of us, to be signs and instruments of healing, of hope, and of peace to our troubled and broken world.
We ask you all these things in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.


Father Bill also read as his homily the testament of Father Christian de Cherge, written in the 1990s during the Algerian War, in anticipation of being murdered along with his fellow monks:
If it should happen one day—and it could be today—that I become a victim of the terrorism which now seems ready to encompass all the foreigners living in Algeria, I would like my community, my Church, my family, to remember that my life was given to God and to this country. I ask them to accept that the One Master of all life was not a stranger to this brutal departure. I ask them to pray for me: for how could I be found worthy of such an offering? I ask them to be able to associate such a death with the many other deaths that were just as violent, but forgotten through indifference and anonymity.

My life has no more value than any other. Nor any less value. In any case, it has not the innocence of childhood. I have lived long enough to know that I share in the evil which seems, alas, to prevail in the world, even in that which would strike me blindly. I should like, when the time comes, to have a clear space which would allow me to beg forgiveness of God and of all my fellow human beings, and at the same time to forgive with all my heart the one who would strike me down.

I could not desire such a death. It seems to me important to state this. I do not see, in fact, how I could rejoice if this people I love were to be accused indiscriminately of my murder. It would be to pay too dearly for what will, perhaps, be called “the grace of martyrdom,” to owe it to an Algerian, whoever he may be, especially if he says he is acting in fidelity to what he believes to be Islam. I know the scorn with which Algerians as a whole can be regarded. I know also the caricature of Islam which a certain kind of Islamism encourages. It is too easy to give oneself a good conscience by identifying this religious way with the fundamentalist ideologies of the extremists. For me, Algeria and Islam are something different; they are a body and a soul. I have proclaimed this often enough, I believe, in the sure knowledge of what I have received in Algeria, in the respect of believing Muslims—finding there so often that true strand of the Gospel I learned at my mother’s knee, my very first Church.

My death, clearly, will appear to justify those who hastily judged me naive or idealistic: “Let him tell us now what he thinks of it!” But these people must realize that my most avid curiosity will then be satisfied. This is what I shall be able to do, if God wills—immerse my gaze in that of the Father, to contemplate with him his children of Islam just as he sees them, all shining with the glory of Christ, the fruit of his Passion, filled with the Gift of the Spirit, whose secret joy will always be to establish communion and to refashion the likeness, delighting in the differences.

For this life given up, totally mine and totally theirs, I thank God who seems to have wished it entirely for the sake of that joy in everything and in spite of everything. In this “thank you,” which is said for everything in my life from now on, I certainly include you, friends of yesterday and today, and you my friends of this place, along with my mother and father, my brothers and sisters and their families—the hundred-fold granted as was promised!

And you also, the friend of my final moment, who would not be aware of what you were doing. Yes, for you also I wish this “thank you”—and this <adieu>—to commend you to the God whose face I see in yours.

And may we find each other, happy “good thieves,” in Paradise, if it pleases God, the Father of us both. Amen.

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Just a reminder that, as of this writing,  WESU’s fall/winter pledge drive is still about $2,000 shy of its goal. If you enjoy “Reasonably Catholic: Keeping the Faith,” please show the station some love by donating whatever you can at Along with the new, way-cool rewards the station is offering for pledging, I’ll throw in a Catholic-themed book of your choice — for a donation of any amount at all — from the list you’ll find a few posts below.



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Spotlight on “Spotlight”

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david clohessy picRichard AllevaDavid Clohessy, executive director of SNAP, the Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests, and Commonweal film critic Richard Alleva unpack the new film about the Boston Globe‘s investigation into the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.

support community radioPlease be a living saint and give to WESU during our fall/winter pledge drive! Go to to show “Reasonably Catholic: Keeping the Faith” some love!  For a donation of any size, I’ll send you a book of your choice from the list two posts below! Thanks!

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Habit’s out of style but catechism is “still funny.”

sister's christmas catechism

Actress Nonie Newton Riley plays Sister in the upcoming Long Wharf Theater production of “Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold,” which will run from Dec. 8-20 at the New Haven theater ( The show is just one in a series of catechism comedies featuring Riley, who travels the country playing a role she considers something of a vocation: “I’ve done nothing but this for the last 15 years of my life.”

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Also, please take a moment to donate the WESU-FM’s fall/winter pledge drive. Mention “Reasonably Catholic” with your donation of any size and I’ll send you your choice of the Catholic-themed books listed in the previous blog post. Thanks!



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Ain’t too proud to beg!

BeggingPlease give to WESU during our fall pledge drive by going to and clicking on Donate Now.

For a donation of any amount, mention “Reasonably Catholic: Keeping the Faith” and/ or contact me through this website, and  I’ll send you your choice of the following books:

Peace and Good: Through the Year with Francis of Assisi, by (Reasonably Catholic guest) Pat McCloskey, OFM
The Vatican Diaries: A Behind the Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities, and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church, by John Thavis
Good Pope, Bad Pope: Their Lives, Our Lessons, by Mike Aquilina
Spiritual A.D.D: Overcoming Spiritual Deficit Disorder, by Hank Kunneman
Startled by God: Wisdom from Unexpected Places, by Joe McHugh
Love Never Fails: 120 Reflections, by Debra Herbeck
Integrating Ecofeminism, Globalization, and World Religions, by (Reasonably Catholic guest) Rosemary Radford Ruether
America, Amerikkka: Elect Nation and Imperial Violence, by Rosemary Radford Ruether
Christianity and Social Systems: Historical Constructions and Ethical Challenges, by Rosemary Radford Ruether
My Struggle with Faith, by Joseph F. Girzone
Stories of Jesus: 40 Days of Prayer and Reflection, by Joseph F. Girzone
Celebrating the Spirit of Christmas, written and illustrated by Tim Coffey
Keys to the Council: Unlocking the Teaching of Vatican II, by Richard R. Gaillardetz and Catherine E. Clifford
The Sacraments: Thoughtful Reflections for Catechists, by (former Wesleyan chaplain and Reasonably Catholic guest) Fr. Halbert Weidner
For Love of Animals: Christian Ethics, Consistent Action, by (Reaasonably Catholic guest) Charles Camosy
St. Francis, Pope Francis: A Common Vision, by Gina Loehr, with Al Giambrone
150 North American Martyrs You Should Know, by Brian O’Neel
Epic Food Fight: a Bite-Sized History of Salvation, by Fr. Leo Patalinghug
John Paul II: A Short Biography, by Kerry Walters
Made for Love, Loved by God, by Fr. Peter John Cameron, OP
Praise God and Thank Him: Biblical Keys for a Joyful Life, by Jeff Cavins
The Last Words of Jesus: A Meditation on Love and Suffering, by Daniel P. Horan, OFM
Breaking Grand Silence: A Former Catholic Priest Speaks Out, by Marvin Josaitis, PhD
The Justice Imperative: How Hyper-Incarceration Has Hijacked the American Dream, by (Reasonably Catholic guest) Brian E. Moran
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Catholicism, by Bob O’Gorman, Ph.D. and Mary Faulkner, M.A.
The Holy Land: An Armchair Pilgrimage, by Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ
Bambinelli Sunday: A Christmas Blessing, children’s book by Amy Welborn and illustrator Ann Kissane Engelhart
Adventures in Assisi: On the Path with St. Francis, a children’s book by Amy Welborn and ilustrator Ann Kissane Engelhart
The Joyful Spirit of Padre Pio: Stories, Letters and Prayers, by Patricia Treece
The Spiritual Genius of Thomas Merton, by Anthony T. Padovano
The Dark Box: A Secret History of Confession, by John Cornwell
40 Days, 40 Ways: A New Look at Lent, by Marcellino D’Ambrosio
When Our Church was Young: Voices of the Early Fathers, by Marcellino D’Ambrosio
The Spirit of St. Francis: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis
The Princess Guide: Faith Lessons from Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, by Jennessa Tepraccino
Spiritual Reslilience: 30 Days to Refresh Your Soul, by Robert J. Wicks
Sacred Silence: Daily Meditations for Lent, by (Reasonably Catholic guest) Phyllis Zagano
What Do I Say? Talking and Praying with Someone Who Is Dying, by Margrit Anna Banta
Visiting Mary: Her U.S. Shrines and Her Graces, by Julie Dortch Cragan
Simply Merton: Wisdom from His Journals, by Linus Mundy
Embracing Edith Stein: Wisdom for Women from St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, by Anna Costa
Skirting Heresy: The Life and Times of Margery Kempe, by Elizabeth MacDonald
Fearless: Stories of the American Saints, by Alice Camille and Paul Boudreau
Pope Francis and Our Call to Joy, by Deane M. Houdek
A Eucharistic Christmas: Advent Meditations on the Presence of Christ
Zealous: Following Jesus with Guidance from St. Paul, by Mark Hart and Christopher Cuddy
Accidental Theoogians: Four Women Who Shaped Christianity: Hildegard of Bingen, Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, Therese of Lisieux, by Elizabeth A. Dreyer, with a foreword by Joan Chittister
The Gospels According to St. Francis, by Hilarion Kistner, OFM
Answers: Catholic Advice for Your Spiritual Questions, by Fr. John Bartunek
Seven Saints for Seven VirtuesJohn Paul II, Catherine of Siena, Monica, Augustine, Mother Teresa, Agnes, and Joseph, by Jean M. Heimann
Catholics, Wake Up! Be a Spiritual Warrior, by Jesse Romero
Encounter Jesus: From Discovery to Discipleship, by Fr. Dave Pivonka, TOR, and Deacon Ralph Poyo
Joyful Witness: How to Be an Extraordinary Witness, by Randy Hain

Thanks to the following publishers: Franciscan Media, Servant Books, Basic Books, Tate Publishing, Significance Press, Penguin Books, Rowman & Littlefield, Doubleday, Destiny Image, Harvest House Publishers, Liturgical Press, Twenty-Third Publications, and Alpha Books

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St. Peter’s Squares — and a few progressives. The recently concluded synod is said to both expose the fault lines in global Catholicism and lay groundwork for possible change

synod cardinals

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MattSchmalz_for_blogDeb Rose-MilavecMirim and KateProf. Mat Schmalz, of the College of the Holy Cross, an expert in global Catholicism; Deb Rose-Milavec, executive director of FutureChurch; and Miriam Duignan of the Women’s Ordination Conference who, with colleague Kate McElwee, was detained by Rome police to keep them from approaching bishops exiting the synod.

Find Deb’s excellent coverage of the synod at

Love “Reasonably Catholic: Keeping the Faith”? Show WESU-FM some love by donating during our fall pledge drive. Go to The station has cool thank-you gifts to offer, and so do I. Check out the list of books I’ll post on this site soon. Make a donation of any size, choose a book, and I’ll send it along with my thanks!

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On Livin’ the Dream: The Theology of Joy and the Good Life

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Tom and Matt

The philanthropic John Templeton Foundation, which has a record of funding all manner of inquiries into life’s big questions, has awarded a $4.2 million grant to the Yale Center for Faith & Culture for a three-year investigation into the Theology of Joy and the Good Life. Our guests are Matt Croasman, right, who is director of research and publication of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture, as well as one of the founding shepherds of the Elm City Vineyard Church in New Haven, and Tom Krattenmaker, a USA Today columnist and spokesman for Yale Divinity School.
Tom and Matt appeared previously on RC:KF, in two episodes comprising audio from a Yale event titled “Following Jesus as a Secular Progressive.” Matt was the moderator of a discussion between Tom, a secular humanist, and his friend Tony Kriz, a Christian. You can hear those episodes by clicking the links below:

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