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  • God’s Wild and Wonderful Sense of Humor

    God has a wild and wonderful sense of humor … in hindsight … realized at the end of spiritual journeys … after seemingly aimless and arid desert experiences … after dying to self – yes, living the paschal mystery. God is Good! All the time!! The Roman Catholic Church is the One True Church!!! In the midst of my journey, I used to say that God’s Sense of Humor was “warped;” but my wife, Caroline, said that God is Perfect and I can’t use the word “warped” when speaking about God.
    After a retreat experience or awakening I used to fantasize that my spiritual growth would be steady progress and continuous growth, like a nice straight diagonal line; and that life would be great if God would let me know, in no uncertain terms; the date, time and circumstances for my experiences and spiritual growth. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha – I was teasing God and He demonstrated His Sense of Humor; for if I did know His unique plan for me, I would have bolted, like Jonah to Tarshish instead of Nineveh - in the opposite direction.
    1997; middle-aged; 27 years into a Federal Civil Service career; mature Catholic; great wife; vibrant marriage; five terrific children; regular Sunday Mass attendance, as a family; involved in parish and diocesan ministries – the model Catholic!
    And then IT happened; my unbelievable, bewildering and unthinkable journey. I left the Roman Catholic Church. I had developed a distrust for leadership and authority figures, at work and within the Catholic Church, parish and diocesan ministries. Keeping the Ten Commandments was still important to me, especially “keeping the Sabbath holy,” I had to find somewhere to honor God on Sundays. I took my wife and children with me and we became a part of an evangelical church. Before my final decision, my disdain for a particular priest worked on my negative emotions, to a point where I could not receive the Holy Eucharist because of my unforgiving spirit.
    At this evangelical church, I learned about God, from a very different perspective, particularly from daily Scripture reading and journaling. My relationship with God elevated; and I thought I had found a Christian community for the rest of my life. This community helped me understand myself better than before and aided me through tough career situations – true blessings.
    As life stabilized, I found myself searching; and my continued relationships with Catholic friends allowed me to see the Catholic Church from new perspectives. God placed people who loved me and even strangers gave me clues about how our loving God works. One came in the form of a video, a gift from Bob and Mel Knott (total strangers, initially). The video came in the mail – a VHS recording about Scott Hahn and his choice to convert to the Catholic Church, after being anti-Catholic and a Presbyterian minister, married to the daughter of a Presbyterian minister. I caught glimpses of God’s Wild and Wonderful Sense of Humor.
    An example of my judgment of God’s “warped” sense of humor was with the difficulties of marriage we witnessed, as presenters for Retrouvaille (a weekend and follow up experience for hurting marriages). Another example that prompted God’s “warped” sense of humor from me was the demise of a great Catholic and a dear friend, Judy Winner, terminally ill from a brain tumor. Caroline worked with her and we were in the Retrouvaille ministry with her and her husband, Bob.
    Out of these hurting experiences, comes God’s Perfect Plan. One faith evening in December of 2002; driving home after visiting with Judy, now very weak and near death; Caroline asked: “If we were in Judy’s situation, what would we do?” We paused and both responded in unison: “We go back to the Church.” Where? Which one? “The one where we started (and left); where our friends are, Our Lady of Good Counsel.”
    Upon returning HOME we learned that people, in particular women, had been praying for our return. We learned from Bob, that Judy had been praying for our return and on our first Sunday Mass, back in our home-parish, we were greeted with hugs and we learned Lucy Andrews, France Morris and more women had been praying for our return. God is Good! All the time!!
    Today, we coordinate a diocesan ministry to Welcome Returning Catholics HOME, with Adrienne, Zee, Stella, Barbara, Tino, Ursula, Mike, Mary and a host of gifted Catholic leaders, pastors and staff in our Hawaii parishes. Caroline and I are the itinerant missionary couple – we sold our home near our home-parish, with the intention to live in rental units for the rest of our lives, moving into different parishes every three to four years. My paschal mystery experience has granted me a new lease on life with unbelievable opportunities to befriend priests, sisters, permanent deacons and their wives, and numerous outstanding Catholics. I founded the “Foundation for Transcending Mediocrity,” a non-profit organization and I’m a full-time volunteer (lay minister) for the Diocese of Honolulu. Our Merciful Father paved the way by allowing me to retire before the prescribed retirement age and receive my pension immediately. My purpose is to enliven Faith-based communities, so each member evangelizes the world, by living the Christian lifestyle. And my motto is to help people help themselves transcend mediocrity, when they want to and when they need my help. God had planted “transcending mediocrity” in me in 1991 and I didn’t know what to do with it until recently. I have had the opportunity to help exceptional Catholics learn and discern God’s Call for them and then exercise their charism.
    Today, for Caroline and I daily Mass and Holy Eucharist are priority. Most recently, I experienced retreats to help me differentiate between the person people what me to be, the person I want to be, and the person God created me to be; with strategies and methodologies to respond to God’s unique and perfect plan for me.
    Nothing we have today would be possible without God and His Perfect Design for me – a plan I would never prescribe for myself. I thank God for His Wisdom and Love. Life is grand … for now … until God designs more ways to demonstrate His Wild and Wonderful Sense of Humor. All glory and honor to our loving God. The Roman Catholic Church is the One True Church and I “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28: 19)

    - Stephe O., Honolulu, HI United States
  • I still could not believe that we were the Grand Champions of the whole Philippines in the Third National Catholic Family Bible Quiz held recently at Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati.

    ‘Am I dreaming?’

    Of course, I wasn’t; it was more of a dream coming to reality. Months before it seemed to be a vision which I thought could only happen in dreams or through a miracle, notwithstanding the hurdles that we had passed before we finally made it here – the pressures of everyday living, the negative feelings of anxiety, fear, doubt and exhaustion, the responsibilities our family members had to attend to. The list could be endless. Yet through it all, God has given our family this precious gift – a miracle to remind us to trust in Him no matter what.

    This reminded me of the many trials I encountered in the past which made me think there were no solutions.

    In 1979, my husband lost his government job. His superiors were not happy with him because he would not sign papers for ‘Ghost Deliveries’. My children were still very young and to rear seven without a stable income was not an easy task.

    Both of us were jobless because I resigned when I had my first-born. I preferred to take care of my kids to having my job in the office. We had only a small sari-sari store, a motorcab, a little income from our coconut land and a boarding house I inherited from my parents. The income was sufficient for us at the beginning. But when my children grew up and reached college, we were buried in debts. Our land titles were loaned to the bank and all our jewelry was pawned. It was terribly hard for us financially, to the point that I would even ask myself, ‘Where shall I find rice to cook for our next meal?’

    However, through those hard times, we were still devoted to the Lord. We were active in Couples for Christ (CFC) and in our parish and chapel. My husband was a Lay Minister. I was a Catechist while our children joined the Knights of the Altar and the church choir. We attended Mass together as a family.

    Yet in spite of our faith in God, our troubles affected my health. I woke up one morning to find my two legs trembling and I had no control over them. My heart beat so fast and it was hard for me to breathe. I really did not understand what was going on. My doctor said, ‘What you have is due to the anxieties and worries. Try to loosen up a bit and have fun!’

    She prescribed a nerve relaxant. I felt calm every time I took the medicine but when its effect relapsed, the symptoms kept coming back. So I relied on the medicine for a long time.

    Meanwhile in the CFC, we had signed a covenant ‘to read the Scriptures everyday for at least fifteen minutes’. One day, Isaiah 41:10 struck me:
    ‘Do not be afraid – I am with you!’

    I am your God – let nothing terrify you!

    I will make you strong and help you;

    I will protect you and save you.’

    I memorized the verse. I prayed it with faith every time I had the ‘attack’. I felt calm and relaxed as I uttered it.

    One time my eldest son Rolito, who is a special child, had his legs beaten up by a bad guy at school and was lame for several days. Due to the incident, he had tantrums every day. He threw everything that he could grab. He broke our table glass as well as our cassette player. He even tore the T-shirt that he was wearing. He bumped his head on the wall many times while uttering bad words. He used to lock himself in his room and destroyed anything he could get hold of. He wouldn’t take a bath or go with us to church, as he used to. I had a difficult time calming him down. It was more difficult whenever I was alone, handling his tantrums while my other children were at school. My husband Lito was in Carmona, Cavite, at the time working as a casual employee of Manila Southwoods.

    The psychiatrist who examined my son prescribed various kinds of vitamins and plenty of medicine usually given to drug addicts. But he became worse and we decided to bring him to Manila for further management.

    Despite my anguish, I did not give up my devotion to the Lord. I even discovered that the more I read the Bible, the more courageous and strong I became. Among the verses that comforted me much were: ‘I am with you always’ (Matthew 28:20); ‘If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask in prayer’ (Matthew 21:22); ‘I have strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me”(Philippians 4:13); ‘Let it happen then as you believe’(Matthew 9:29); ‘I am telling you the truth: those who believe in me will do what I do – yes, they will do even greater things’ (John 14:12); ‘Everything is possible for the person who has faith’ (Mark 9:23); ‘I assure you that whoever tells this hill to get up and throw itself in the sea and does not doubt in his heart, but believes what he says will happen, it will be done for him’ (Mark 11:23) and ‘Whoever believes in him will not be disappointed’ (Romans 10:11).

    At one time I was drug dependent but by constantly reading these verses, my faith deepened. I decided to stop all my medications. I was determined to train my mind to believe – erase all the doubts in my thoughts. God is not a liar, is He? My faith in Him worked! Praise the Lord!

    Proven as effective, I applied the same to my son. I stopped all his medications and instead I had him ‘prayed over’ everyday. Now, you can talk to my 31-year-old special son who can speak English, thanks to his special education teacher, Sister Clement Sheehy, a Columban Sister who has now returned to Ireland. We miss her very much . . . I owe to her the progress of my son!

    But even then my problems didn’t wane. For almost three years I suffered hemorrhaging. My stay in the hospital was unbearable since it involved a lot of money. I went twice to Cebu for check-ups by different doctors, yet their diagnosis turned out to be the same – I had a growing cyst in my womb. I submitted myself for Dilatation and Curettage (D&C;), but still the bleeding continued.

    As I was taking the medicines the doctors prescribed, it so happened that I read the literature about the injections and tablets they constantly gave me. I learned that prolonged usage of them could have an adverse reaction that could result in blindness. I even had a cousin who took the same vials and tablets. She is now experiencing blurred vision.

    ‘Lord’, I prayed. ‘I do not want to be blind!’

    From then on, I discontinued everything, even the check–ups. I recuperated at home. My two elder sisters who had hemorrhaged months earlier had already been operated on. They had their wombs removed.

    ‘But I don’t want any operation!’
    So, I prayed. During my fervent prayers, a vision flashed in my mind many times. I was always reminded of that woman in the Bible who suffered twelve years of severe bleeding. She said to herself, ‘If only I can touch His cloak, I will get well!’ With my eyes closed, I could imagine myself clearly as that woman touching the edge of Jesus’ cloak.

    ‘Courage my daughter, your faith has made you well’ Jesus said to the woman. (Matthew 9:20-22). By God’s mercy, my womb is still intact right now and the bleeding ceased.

    Yes, I am a witness to God’s miracles. Once again, He revealed himself to us through this Bible Quiz. The experience in Manila itself is a very great blessing for us.

    I remembered when we were on our way to a restaurant for supper, one of our guides from the Secretariat told us: ‘Sa dalawang beses na ginanap ang National Catholic Family Bible Quiz dito, laging kulelat ang mga taga Mindanao!’ (‘For the past two National Catholic Family Bible Quizzes held here, participants from Mindanao were always at the bottom!’)

    During the rehearsal, we had time to meet the other families from different regions. Looking at them, I felt a little nervous especially because there was a rumor about the backgrounds of two of our competitors. One was said to be an ex-pastor, the other an ex-seminarian.

    ‘Oh my God!’ I exclaimed ‘We are also outnumbered by them!’ I whispered to my daughter who was seated at my right. Mary Grace comforted me by citing 1 Maccabees 3:19, ‘Victory in battle does not depend on who has the largest army; it is the Lord’s Power that determines the outcome.’
    Deep inside, I prayed hard and remained in my most favorite passage – Matthew 21:22.

    ‘But let thy will be done Lord,’ I ended.

    Before the proclamation of the winners, the NCFBQ chairwoman, Madam Elvira Yap Go, gave on-the-spot different verses for the family to read and to share what in the verses struck us most. Ours was St Luke 4:16 – 18. When I read the phrase, ‘The spirit of the Lord is upon me’, I was assured that very moment that our prayers had been granted and that was it!

    ‘Praise the Lord! All glory be to Him forever and ever! Amen!’

    You may write the author at 49-6 Rizal Avenue, Lam-an, 7200 Ozamiz City, Philippines, or email her at vmacelinda@yahoo.com

    - Macelinda D., Ozamiz City, Philippines
  • I am watching you right now on The World Over. I was raised Catholic but never truly got it, till I searched for it after having a few "Godincinces" and then seeing the horror of September 11th. Until then I had had five or six years of what I would now call agnosticsm even though I never completly stopped going to church. I doubted with the "Why would God permit evil ?" question along with "How does God know eveything?" I have read and read and read over the last few years and learned so much and love God so much more because of it. St. Faustina's diary really did it for me. I blog about all things related to my faith among other things at openmindsandopenhearts.blogspot.com to try in my own little way to show others what I have found. Oh how I wish everyone could find it.
    - Amy F., Harrisburg, PA United States
  • I am a cradle Catholic but only began to know the beauty and richness of our faith during the past 2-3 years. While watching EWTN, I heard and saw the enthusiam of Fr. Barron and others and their love for the faith inspired me and continues to inspire me to learn more about the teachings of the Magisterium and the lives of the saints. We need more teachers like Fr. Barron and CATHOLICISM is a great way to get our message out to all people.
    - Mary T., Clairton, PA United States
  • I recently received my disc set and just finished watching the first disc. May God bless the team that had undertaken this endeavor. It is my hope that other people are as moved as me by the discs and will spread awareeness.
    - Craig H., Chicago, IL United States
  • I've listened to Fr. Barron for the last 2 yrs I believe and I so amazed how many people have discovered how awesome he is. My continuing story begins as a child and alter boy for many years in a small town in west Texas where later I became a Eucharistic minister and later fell away from the church...I know that always my faith has followed me like the sun shining on the back of my neck...you just feel it!!! I have always been captured how rich and deep our Catholic faith is and I try to find more every chance that I can. Events in my life and prayers from my mother to our Blessed Mother have brought me back to the faith I have no doubt!!! Life and satan have their way of steering you in the wrong path and I see so much of it these days with the younger generation,but some of it is due to parents who do not teach the faith properly or none at all...It needs to be understood that it is not completly the preist who teach us about the faith but it is our responsibility as well to take action. Almost everything I've learn in the past 3 yrs have been on my own and I'm telling I'm loving it!!! The answers and the questions are all there for the taking and if we would take the time to learn you will see what falling in love with the faith really means!!!! We are so blessed and yet we take it for granted and its just a shame to let Sacred Tradition sit on the shelf and fade away..I do not want that to happen and I pray that it never does. We must all get involved in our parishes and learn the truth cuz that is what the Catholic faith is TRUTH. I feel the time has come now more than ever for all of us to put on the armor of Christ and stand up for our faith..no longer be afraid or timid to those who challenge us and our faith!! I'm tired of being weak and now is the time for all of us to be strong!!! May the wounds of Christ protect us all and the hand of Our Blessed Mother pray for us always!!
    - Victor G., Lenorah, TX United States
  • Thank you so much!
    Series are really good!

    I just want to ask for a translated material of the documentaries.
    In fact, some friends of mine
    wanted to see at least a trailer
    but they couldn´t understand it because of the english:
    my friends only speak spanish.
    Do you have something in this language, or subtitled?

    Thanks again.
    God bless you!
    - Cristian Ariel F., Santa Fe, Argentina
  • I was raised Catholic, went to Mass every single Sunday, and attended Catholic schools throughout my childhood and adolescence. However, I still never felt a strong sense of attachment to Christ and His Church. Perhaps I was never taught enough about the Catholic faith in my youth to help me come closer in a profound way to Christ and His Church. Whatever the case, I never fell completely away from Christ and His Church, but I was not at all serious about my Catholic faith. At the age of 26, I wondered why I felt so unfulfilled in my life. I had a wonderful girlfriend (who is now my wonderful wife), a loving family, and a good job. I began to desperately cry out night after night in tearful prayer, "Show me the way Lord, show me the way!" Christ graciously answered me little by little, and continues to do so. I am convinced that He eventually led me to quit my job at the age of 27 and go back to school to learn more about Christ and His Church at a local Catholic Faculty of Theology. The more and more I learned about Christ and His Church, the more and more I fell in love with Christ and His Church. I started to take my Catholic faith seriously for the first time in my life. I began to actually experience Christ's overwhelming and unrelenting salvific love for me, especially in the midst of His true and real presence in the Eucharist. I began to seek out everywhere for sound and orthodox teaching regarding the Catholic faith. Fr. Barron's remarkable evangelizing work is one of the top sources I came across and to this day I continue to learn so much from him. I eventually earned a Master's degree in theology and then a Bachelor of Education so that I could perhaps teach young people about the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith. I even used Fr. Barron's tremendous book "Eucharist" as a source for my Master's thesis. God's transforming grace has shown me the "way" is Christ, who is The Way. Today, at the age of 31, I am still not exactly sure where the Lord wants me to go in life in terms of a teaching vocation. It is extremely difficult to secure a permanent teaching position in my area's publicly funded Catholic school system. I am not sure where and when I will find a teaching position. Nevertheless, I do know with the great hope that is my Catholic faith that I have finally found my "way" in life, and that "way" is Christ and His Church. In the end, nothing else really matters, and so I will just trust the Lord and follow Him wherever He leads me.

    Take care and God bless,

    - Matthew G., Toronto, Canada
  • I was raised Lutheran and fell away from going to church when I was a teen. I bought into the "Once saved always saved" mantra in the worst possible way and led a most worldly life. Through a series of amazing events, an awful lot of Divine Guidance, and an absurd amount of grace... God was able to put the Catholic Church in my sights and in my heart in 2008 and was confirmed into the Church on the Easter Vigil of 2009. In the past three years, I have absolutely fallen in love with the writings of the Saints of the Church both canonized... and the yet to be canonized such as Bishop Sheen, G.K. Chesterton, and Blessed Pope John Paul II to name a few. In the last three years, my heart has found what it had always been searching for... Christ and his Bride, the Church. I have no doubt that I am not alone, and equally have no doubt that the remedy for all heart's desire is the same. As I write this now, I am a newly received postulant for the Marians of the Immaculate Conception as I discern God's call in my life for the priesthood. You are all in my prayers, please keep myself in yours. God Bless.
    - Timothy C., Steubenville, OH United States
  • I converted to Catholicism following a Marriage Encounter weekend with my cradle-Catholic wife. What blessings I've received in the intervening 30 years! It has taken a long time to come to fully understand and appreciate the Church, but what a joy it is to be a part of this community of believers and practioners of the pursuit of "wholeness and holiness". Thanks be to God for Fr Barron, his gifts as a homilist and theologian, and now this series that will have untold impact. Please read Thomas E. Woods "How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization" for additional insight into the gift that is the Catholic Church. Please support dynamiccatholicism.com and Matthew Kelly as he tries to restore fallen-away Catholics to the Church. God Bless Fr Barron and the Word od Fire ministry!
    - steven h., keswick, VA United States
  • I became Catholic in 1982 shortly before I got married (he was a cradle Catholic) and left for about 10 years after my divorce in 1986. Lately, I've noticed a shift in my faith and I'm scared. I pray less, I've started missing mass and I'm not sure I'm good enough for God or His kingdom. I'm worried I don't believe enough and I seem frozen by this. I think I need a spiritual advisor and don't know how to go about getting one. Here I am, Lord.
    - Cheri A., Kent, WA United States
  • My wife and I were recently dragged (practically kicking and screaming) into the Catholic Church by the Holy Spirit. Being raised Protestant and Fundamentalist, it would (and did) take an act of God to get me to look seriously at the Catholic Faith. We had made up our mind to follow God's plan for us and to pray for that plan to be revealed, so when all of these signs and "coincidences" kept pointing to the Catholic Church and we kept saying, "We must have misunderstood," and then we'd pray some more and sure enough the answer we got again and again was: The Catholic Church. But all the while i would study Catholic theology and as i did i began to see that everything i was taught about the Catholic Church as a child was not just wrong, but wrong to the point of feeling blatantly lied to. So, yes, it is important that we tell our own story because those who would tell it for us are either ignorant, as i was, or have an axe to grind. Thank-you for this great and (for lack of a more powerful term) important work. God Bless
    - Bob W., Bloomington, IN United States
  • For many years I have strayed from my faith. One day, while online, I came upon your website. I watched Fr. Barron's commentaries and purchased his CD lecture set. It touched me so deeply. I began to reflect on my life. I began to pray the rosary which I have not done in a long time. Something happened this weekend...I did something I was too ashamed to do before..I went to confession for the first time in 15 years. I felt the weight on my soul lifted. Thank you.

    - Brendan L., Queens, NY United States
  • When I started teaching college 30 years ago, nearly all my students believed in God. An atheist was a rarity. Today, nearly none of my students believe in God. But except for a handful, they're not ardent atheists. They're simply indifferent. There's a great weariness in them. The Augustinian fire is more difficult to re-kindle in them, although its presence really does come through in so many ways.You've captured beautifully the challenge: to engage intellectually in a way that both defends and models what we Christians believe. Excellent!" - Kerry, Illinois

"The Catholic Church MUST do a better job of teaching the religion. I am an American in my late 40's and attended Catholic school from Kindergarten through 8th grade. I NEVER saw a Bible in school and was taught the "happy clappy" version (as Father Barron had once described his experience of religion in grade school) of Catholicism. Growing up, I was a confused Catholic. I became a born-again but have recently returned to Catholicism. With Catholic schools disappearing across this nation, how are we to educate our children about living a Catholic life without it being incorporated into their curriculum and with them being bombarded with accusations about the "evil" Catholic Church and priests? I do what I can with my grandchildren, but I fear I will lose them to this ever increasing secularist world. It’s too sad and disturbing to think what will happen to them without getting what they need to learn about GOD. Please pray for our children.

    - Irene S., Boulder, CO United States
  • Fr. Barron -- three years ago, I saw (Bill Maher's) 'Religulous' and thought it was brilliant. I stumbled upon your video, and the idea of the Bible being a library was a huge paradigm shift for me. One video led to another, which led to books, and your DVDs, and mass attendance. This year at the Easter Vigil at St. Patrick's Cathedral I was received into the church and confirmed by Archbishop Dolan. I pray for your ministry. God bless you!

    - John D., New York, NY United States
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  • Dave Brenner responds to William J. Bennett's article on the CNN website about "Why Men are in Trouble," offering some valuable suggestions on how to reverse the trend.
    Fr. Robert Barron's Word On Fire - Culture: Let’s get our act together, fellas
    Today, on the Word on Fire blog, contributor Dave Brenner responds to a recent article about women outpacing men in education and the workplace, and urges his male contemporaries to "think different" when it comes to responsibilities to family, work and spirituality.
  • Excellent Documentary.
  • Is there a way to get the Catholicism Series available for mobile devices like Ipads etc...
  • Bobby Mixa gives some philosophical food-for-thought on today's blog post. Read it to learn more about "personalism" and Emmanuel Mounier...
    Fr. Robert Barron's Word On Fire - Philosophy: Personalism and Emmanuel Mounier
    Word on Fire's resident philosopher, Robert Mixa, shares his thoughts on the philosophical theory of personalism and how it relates to Christianity, most notably in the influential works of Emmanuel Mounier, in today's Word on Fire blog.
  • We attended a viewing of the first episode at Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic Church yesterday. Catholicism is a triumph! Can't wait for the next episode...


  • Tune in October 2...http://t.co/UCJ7FkIs
  • http://t.co/2aQOYxUv - Article on Father Barron and the Catholicism series.
  • Father Barron interview in National Review today...http://t.co/Xao4XCga
  • If you live in the D.C. or Maryland area, Catholicism is airing tomorrow night, check it out....http://t.co/4EMI3nqq
  • World Over Tonight: Father Robert Barron on his new Catholicism series and your questions about the news of the week. EWTN 8PM Live...