Roman Catholic 
Diocese of Ogdensburg


The Office of New Evangelization exists
To support parishes in forming
Joy-Filled, Intentional,
Missionary Disciples of Jesus Christ
So that On Fire with the Holy Spirit
They will be witnesses that
transform the culture around them.


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Readings: 1 Kgs 19:9a, 11-13a/Rom 9:1-5/Mt 14:22-33

The story of Peter walking on the water is one of those familiar bible stories that sometimes we no longer pay attention to when it is read at Mass.  There is so much symbolism in this story.  The fact that Jesus stays behind because he needs to pray. Peter walking on the water is doing fine as long as he keeps his eyes on Jesus. The fact that the storm dies down when Jesus gets into the boat. Sometime we get complacent while we are safely inside the boat, content in the routines of our parish.  Can we, while keeping our eyes on Jesus, step out of our comfort zone, and go out to those who may be adrift and looking for a safe harbor of a loving community of faith?


Podcasts: What are you listening to?

I don’t know about you, but I find myself on long drives around the North Country … whether it is a 20-minute drive each way to get groceries or to commute to the office, or a two-hour drive to visit a parish for a workshop (which sadly hasn’t happened in a while with the Covid19 situation). Sometimes I use the time in the car for silent prayer or a rosary, and sometimes I use the time just to let my mind wander and mull over some project I am working on while I enjoy the scenery of the North Country.

At other times, however, I use the time to learn something new or be entertained by podcasts, serial audio programs that you can subscribe to and download to your phone. There are podcasts for almost every interest, from science to finance to games, productivity, minimalism and art and music. And yes, there are podcasts about faith, Catholicism, evangelization and the intersection of faith and culture. Some of these I have reviewed before (see links at the end of the post).

Here are three more that I have been listening to recently:

thiscatholiclife This Catholic Life Podcast: This is an Australian podcast in which the hosts have easy-going conversations with guests about all sort of topics and issues viewed through the Catholic Lens. Recent episodes have discussed such things as Eastern Catholicism, Parenting, the Meaning of Freedom, Ecology, Theology of the Body, and of course, the Coronovirus. One thing I like about this podcast is the relaxed conversations (and hey, the Aussie accent is fun to listen to). They are also dealing with a similarly secularized culture, and so the intersection of faith and culture are very similar to what we encounter here, yet there is a distinctly easygoing Australian attitude in how to engage the culture rather than simply oppose and react against the culture.
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American Catholic History Podcast: each episode of this podcast tells the story of Catholics who have contributed to the history of America. Some of these are famous but many (if not most) are individuals I have never heard of. Some are canonized saints, and some are just ordinary Catholics who simply lived faithfully and so changed the world and changed the history of our nation. The stories are fascinating and make you realize that you, too, can have effect and do small things with great love and faith and have an impact on our neighborhood and influence the culture around us. 

This podcast is part of the SQPN (Star Quest Production Network) that produces Catholic Podcasts. In addition to the American Catholic History Podcast, check out such podcasts as Jimmy Akin’s Mysterious World, Raising the Betts, and the Secrets of Technology.  

cordial catholic

The Cordial Catholic is a podcast by a former non-denominational evangelical protestant who converted to Catholicism.  He has conversations with theologians, Catholic authors and scholars, bishops, and other converts about topics that help explain Catholic teachings. This is a great podcasts for new Catholics and non-Catholics interested in the faith, but also for those of us whose mission it is to explain the faith to others, because many of the topics covered answer questions that people have about the faith. Some recent discussions have dealt with topics such as Purgatory, Catholic Scriptures and how they differ from Protestant bibles, Apostolic Succession, Redemptive Suffering, Relics and Infant Baptism.



Previous Podcast Reviews: 


Archive of Past Reviews



Resource: Prayer Apps and Other Resources for Your Smart Phone

With the current situation of not being able to use missalettes and hymnal’s in our pews, I thought I would share some apps and other resources that you can download on your smart phone to help you pray the Mass, reflect on the readings and enter more deeply into prayer.

(Note that most of these apps are free, but they also rely on donations to pay for the server, the updating and the creative work behind the scenes.  If you like and/or frequently make use of these apps, consider sending a donation through the app or on their website.)


I will share other apps and electronic resources in future posts.  



iBreviary: (IOS and Android) - FREE

This is probably my favorite app for the readings of the Mass as well as the Liturgy of the Hours. You can download each day or a whole week for use offline. In addition to being able to replace the four volumes of the Liturgy of the Hours, the Weekday Missal and the Sunday Missal, it also offers Catholic prayers and rituals and such as Stations of the Cross, Divine Mercy Chaplet, litanies and prayers, as well as text for ritual masses and rites.

You can also switch languages in the app.

For those of you who manage parish websites, code is available to put the iBreviary on your website as as widget.



Laudate (IOS and Android) – no website – Search for Laudate in your app store - FREE

laudateThis app probably has the largest collection of prayers of any Catholic app and is available in many languages. It also includes the readings for Mass, Saint of the Day, Catechism, Bible NAB and Douay-Rheims, Vatican Documents, chaplets, rosary meditations, podcasts…etc. 

Because it is so extensive, you can create a folder of your own favorite prayers for easy access.

The thing I don’t like about this app is that it tries to include everything and, in so doing, some of the material is not designed for phones making it harder to use or even requiring internet access in order to access (for example, the bible is not available off-line).



Universalis - (IOS and Android) – Free trial, after which you can purchase the app or get a subscription



Like iBreviary and Laudate, this app provides readings for the Mass as well as the Liturgy of the Hours, although it uses the Jerusalem Bible/Grail translations, so the texts will not perfectly match what we use in the US.

The web version (not the app) is free, so if you have access to either wifi or a unlimited data plan, you could access Universalis on your phone browser.





My Catholic Life  - (IOS, Android and Kindle) - FREE

my catholic life


This app has the daily readings and a daily reflection on the readings, a Saint of the Day, Reflections and Prayers related to the Divine Mercy devotion, inspiring quotes, and daily news compiled from various Catholic News Feeds. I really like this app for the reflections on the reading.






Pray as you Go  - (IOS and Android) - FREE

pray as you go


This is an app that started out as a podcast for commuters to pray the Gospel of the day “as they go” to work or home. This app plays a short hymn, followed by the reading of the Gospel. The app then guides you through a reflection to help you enter into the Gospel.  There is a re-reading of the Gospel.   

The entire prayer time lasts about 15 minutes and is a form of Lectio Divina to help you listen and reflect on the scripture of the day, connect with God through prayer and become more aware of his presence in your life.






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Archive of Past Reviews


Book Review: Salvation, What Every Catholic Should Know



Salvation, What Every Catholic Should Know

"Are you saved?" When I was in college, some random student came up to me and asked me this question out of the blue. At the time, I wasn't a practicing Catholic. I wasn't practicing anything. I had no clue what the question even meant.

If you've ever wondered how to answer that question or what the question even means, the book  Salvation, What Every Catholic Should Know, by Michael Patrick Barber, is for you. Most practicing Catholics probably understand that Salvation is important. After all, every Sunday, in the Creed, we pray that Jesus came down from heaven "for our salvation." We know that Christ is the Savior, but what are we being saved from and what are we being saved for?

What I love about this book is that it takes common objections or oversimplifications and begins to tell us what Salvation is by explaining what it is not. Each chapter covers what salvation is not: it's not self help, not just fire insurance, not without cost, not just personal, not just a legal transaction, not a spectator sport, not simply a moment, not inevitable, not just for other people and it is not just about the future. In each chapter, in clear and concise language, Michael Patrick Barber unpacks each of those distortions and strips away the misunderstandings and confusion. Then using from Sacred Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Tradition of our faith, he draws us into the deeper meaning of salvation that calls us to a relationship with Jesus. This relatively easy to read book  will not only help you do answer the question "Are You Saved" but more importantly it will help you pray for the graces needed to truly become a new creation in Christ.

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Archive of Reviews


My faith life in this time of physical distancing …

This article is based on a talk I gave for our region’s virtual Ultreya meeting, which is a gathering of those who have made a Cursillo weekend. To learn more about Cursillo and making a Cursillo weekend see this LINK

My faith life in this time of physical distancing …


No public masses. Social distancing keeping us from gathering at church. For a while, I was really struggling in my faith life because my spirituality is so centered on the Eucharist. Daily Mass, Adoration, short visits to the Blessed Sacrament… Those who know my story know the integral part that the REAL PRESENCE has played in my conversion back to church when I was in college. And for a while, cut off from receiving Communion, I felt very much adrift, like someone had cut the chain to the anchor of my boat …

Slowly I came to realize that even now, even in our isolation, we are not without the REAL PRESENCE of Christ. Yes, receiving Jesus in the Eucharist is the most intimate way we have of communion with our God. But it is not the only way. We are not the first people to be without access to public Masses. I was thinking of places that normally do not get to see a priest, except maybe once a year. It does not mean that they do not have access to God! When I was in college, our campus minister was a Franciscan priest who was also a reserve Air Force chaplain … He would go to an Air Force Base in Greenland near the Arctic Circle every summer and then travel by dogsled to local Inuit village.  There, he would offer Mass, baptize all the new babies, confirm kids ready for confirmation, witness marriages, etc. etc. They only got to see Father once a year, but they were not without God! 

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During this time, we need to find other ways to stay connected. Prayer has changed for me: I am more faithful in praying parts of the Liturgy of the Hours. It helps set a rhythm for the day. It is also a way to connect with others in prayer --- both spiritually, in knowing people around the world are praying these same psalms, readings, and also virtually, by praying vespers together with groups of friends over the internet.

And Christ is REALLY PRESENT in my friends. Relationships and friendships I was taking for granted have pushed themselves to the forefront. I realize that even the most casual friendships/relationships require effort: people you saw at work every day and people you saw at church every day now require that you make an effort to reach out. Relationships are more intentional. We aren’t going to see each other every day. We are not going to bump into people at church.

Similarly, I find that people who never talked about faith before, are sharing prayer requests. There is a new willingness to share our vulnerability. Maybe it's because we are not sharing face to face, but also because we realize that no one is okay. Everyone is struggling with this strange situation, which makes is somehow easier to say: “I am having a bad day today. Could you pray for me.” Because we are all struggling, it is okay not to be okay. Perhaps we can carry this learned vulnerability into the future when things go back to “normal,” even as we know that “normal” is going to be different than it was before.

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Lastly, I think this situation has changed a lot of my priorities – trying to find a new balance between work/home and solitary lifestyle versus friends. Everything takes more creativity. It is one thing to be solitary as an introvert – I like my alone time … but I don’t like being forced to be alone. I think work wise, I have been focusing less on production than on learning new things, new ways and thinking about process rather than product. In a strange way, working from home has really made me think more about the fact that we only have one life. We are not different people at work, at home, at school, at church, at prayer. Rather we are one person and God is present to us everywhere and we should be able to be ourselves everywhere.

Thus, in a way, the REAL PRESENCE of Christ is present everywhere. Masses are continued to be celebrated and we receive the spiritual graces from the Blessed Sacrament on the altar. Heaven still touches Earth on the altar, but we must be creative in accessing those graces: through prayer, through friends, and out in nature going for a walk. When the churches open back up, we need to keep what we have learned during this time of isolation and allow it to broaden and deepen our faith and our relationships with each other and with Christ.

What I am praying about a lot these days is how can we take what we are learning in this time of isolation – whether technical knowledge, book learning or knowledge about ourselves so that when the world opens up again, we can be better disciples, and fan into flame a new Pentecost.

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Resource of the Week: Catholic Hipster: The Next Level

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Book Review: Catholic Hipster: The Next Level

You may recall my earlier recommendation of The Catholic Hipster Handbook. It was a quirky book of Catholics practices, prayers, saints and other cool Catholic Stuff.  It also won the 2019 Catholic Press Award. 

Tommy Tighe ( has brought together another group of great  Catholics authors, bloggers, evangelists and thinkers all exploring how to live our Catholic faith with passion and conviction.  The 39 essays are subdivided into three categories: Living with Faith, Living with Hope and Living with Love.  The essays cover topics as varied as Jesus, I Trust in You (Easier Said than Done); Deck the Halls (with Weird Old Testament Ornaments), Punk Rock Catholicism (aka Tattoos), Catholic Bees. 

Each chapter follows the same format: the essay by one of the contributors, a cool saint that exemplifies the subject, a forgotten prayer and then a living faith activity which will help you put your faith into action.  Each chapter is short (a couple pages at most), and the book should not be rushed through, but rather, allow each essay to challenge you to explore an aspect of your faith that you might not have known about, or that you might have taken for granted.

I think this book would be great as a discussion started for young adult groups or older teens, but would be a great read for Catholics of any age.