Reasonably Catholic: Keeping the Faith

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Her religion is “Eclectic”: a chat with seeker and sage Patti Vassia

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PattiPatti Vassia, now retired after having held leadership positions at various Middletown, CT, non-profit organizations, is a spiritual seeker who has learned the value of both putting down deep roots in one place and of traveling widely. She talks about her spiritual journey, including:


… her achievement in 2013 of a lifelong dream of being rebaptized, this time by immersion. She is shown here being baptized by Pastor Andy Eiss at Fellowship Church in Middletown.

Patti also reflects on her trip last fall to Machu Picchu, another lifelong dream. The photo on the lower right is of Agosto, a wise and helpful guide at the site — he led her to the shady spot where she’s resting in the photo above the one of him. He declared Machu Picchu the center of the world, a place where “we are all one.”

Machu Pichu 1Patti at MPPatti at MP2Agosto

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A Mardi Gras feast of Oscar picks by Commonweal’s Richard Alleva; plus a buncha gals sittin’ around talking about “Boyhood”

photoRichard AllevaBoyhood posterRichard Alleva, a film critic for the Catholic journal Commonweal, predicts which films will take home Oscars on Feb. 22. Also, friends Claudia White, Gigi Wolfgang and Janice Keeman bat around “Boyhood” at Claudia’s Durham, CT, home.


Michael Keaton in Birdman

From Terry Gross’s recent Fresh Air interview on NPR with Michael Keaton, star of Birdman:

GROSS: So your parents were Catholic and observant.

KEATON: My mom was. My dad was a Protestant. And, you know, that was a big deal.

GROSS: Oh, that’s right. You’re right. Right, so what did that make you?

KEATON: It was a blessing because I distinctly remember, you know, hearing only Catholics are going to heaven. And I was blessed by that because I really was a, you know, I bought the whole deal. In Catholic school I was a good Catholic kid, altar boy and all that. And I remember thinking, whoa, now wait a minute, you know, my dad’s not Catholic. I haven’t really seen him do anything really that wrong. You know, I’m going, this doesn’t hold up logically to me. So I think somewhere in the back of my head I tucked it away. I went, eh, I’m kind of in. I’m mostly in on the religion thing but not totally. That was a blessing in disguise, I think. You know, it really made me open-minded to things, I think.

GROSS: Did you have an official exit point?

KEATON: No, because I loved being raised Catholic. I think it was very – I really like it. And I – you know, if I meditate, I still occasionally find that because that’s my – that’s familiar territory for me. I’ll find a church I think is cool, but not often, or, you know – yeah, there were exit points kind of early on, you know, like in – you know, I was kind of the kid who got in trouble in high school, and I was a party boy in college and I was a lot of fun. And also, you know, you start reading more and learning more and you’re open to more people, you know, and different viewpoints. And, you know, I’m a curious dude, so I read a lot. But I never was one of those guys who went, oh, my God, this is scarring, this is horrible, you know. I thought it was pretty cool. I liked it. And I love Pope Francis. I think he’s pretty cool. I hope the other slipper doesn’t fall, as they say, you know, we don’t find out something weird down the road. I hope he gets in and out and everybody goes, wow, how about that dude?



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Toward a church that welcomes gays and a country that cares for the poor: catching up with two travelers

Michael ReynoldsLynn_CampbellMichael Reynolds is heading to Italy this week on an LGBT pilgrimage, where, during a planned audience with Pope Francis, he hopes to pass along to the pontiff a book of testimonies about how LGBT Catholics have been welcomed by their parishes. And Lynn Campbell, director of the Archdiocese of Hartford’s Office of Catholic Social Justice Ministry, is in Washington, DC, for a gathering of Catholic leaders; she and her contingent will meet with the Connecticut delegation to remind them to remember the poor.

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Spiritual but not religious? This place is made for you.

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Photo by Brandon Nappi


The Copper Beech Institute, New England’s newest meditation center, is located at a Catholic retreat center and monastery in West Hartford, CT, but its founder and director, Brandon Nappi, says he hopes all seekers — from lapsed Catholics to Buddhists to atheists in search of stress reduction — will feel welcome there.

treeCB labrynth signCB artFrom left: a copper beech tree, a symbol of wisdom and solitude, after which the center is named; the sign leading to the labyrinth, based on the design of the one in Chartres Cathedral; a painting in the Golden Thread Gallery.

Fr. Richard McBrien Rest in peace, Fr. Richard McBrien

A champion of progressive Catholicism has gone to his reward, where we know he’s praying for us. Read the National Catholic Reporter obituary below:







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Depression and the spiritual journey, with WESU’s Dr. Helen Evrard

Helen head shotDr. Helen Evrard is the producer and host of “Mind Matters,” on WESU, a show about mental health issues which airs every Wednesday from 6 to 6:30 p.m. She is also the author of Positive Matters: Words, Quotations and Stories to Heal and Inspire. Raised Catholic, she ultimately left the faith, but then was surprised to discover that some aspects of Catholicism were helpful in her journey. You can learn more about Dr. Evrard at and at

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Mario Cuomo: a remembrance

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Rodale Hosts Launch Party for Al Gore's New Book - Red CarpetAbraham Lincoln

Harold HolzerFrank J. Williams


Celebrating the late, great Mario Cuomo

The late NY governor shared an interest in Abraham Lincoln with Harold Holzer and Frank J. Williams, our guests on “Reasonably Catholic: Keeping the Faith.” Holzer, a former spokesman and policy advisor for Cuomo, and Williams, retired Chief Justice of the RI Supreme Court, share their reminiscences of the governor, who died Jan. 1st.

You put the community in community radio!

Thanks to all of you who helped bring WESU-FM’s winter pledge drive to a successful close. As a result of your generosity, we made our $20,000 goal. If you gave — or will give — let me know by emailing me at and I’ll send you a spiritually-themed book from my own collection. The most efficient way to give is by going to and clicking on Donate Now.


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The 2014 ‘Reasonably Catholic’ Year in Review

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Rep.-Larson_for_blogSarah-Abbott_for_blogMcCloskeyPatnewbarbaraJacques_Lamarre_for_webTicketsRichard AllevaMark_Mullaney_for_blogFr. Fred Kammer, SJPope Francis and lambRRRGabriella blesses Alexandraphoto 1John RyanBrake logoOpheliaDorothy Daybro mickeyRev. MollyFreudPres RothCardinal Sean O'MalleyMichael O'LoughlinSr. ElaineCindyMattSchmalz_for_blogAnn CareySo smart — and so good-looking! Thanks to all our guests!


Pope Francis’ Christmas message

Gift from the sea

BEach glassI found this on a Christmas morning walk with hubby along the shore at Hammonasset State Park in Madison, CT. It was only after I got home and was poking through my collection of shells, pebbles and glass that I noticed one of them carried a bit of profound wisdom!

Wishing you all a happy, healthy 2015.

But before I go: have you made your tax-deductible pledge at If you give even a small amount and mention “Reasonably Catholic: Keeping the Faith,” I’ll send you a spiritually-themed book as a thank-you gift!

Wishing you all the gifts of the Christmas season throughout 2015!


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Pope Francis to Cuba and U.S. nuns: Peace

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MattSchmalz_for_blogHoly Cross College Prof. Mat Schmalz unpacks Pope Francis’ involvement in the recent U.S.-Cuba thaw. The bottom line? This pope is hard to say no to.

Ann CareyAuthor and journalist Ann Carey, who’s written widely on the vicissitudes of American nuns and sisters, explains last week’s Vatican report about them — which may or may not be the Vatican report on U.S. religious women you were expecting — and which takes a markedly kinder, gentler tone toward them. Our interview with her — and her article here in The Catholic World Report¬† — lays out the whole shebang clearly:


Because you’ve been good, here’s a little sugarplum for you:

Pope Francis, At Christmas Gathering, Blasts Vatican’s Bureaucrats


Ain’t too proud to beg: please support WESU during our winter pledge drive. Go to There’s just a little time left and there’s a matching grant in play. Don’t forget to say you like Reasonably Catholic: Keeping the Faith!



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