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EPISODE #269
EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT: COMMUNITY EMERGENCY FUND

On this podcast, Deacon Steve Greco has invited some folks from a parish in Pennsylvania who have done an amazing service to their community in this time of pandemic. Our topic is about an initiative called the “Community Emergency Fund.”

You will be inspired by this timely discussion that is all about reaching out and assisting our neighbor in need!

 

 

Originally broadcast on 1/31/21

EPISODE #261
EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT: A FAMILY GUIDE TO SPIRITUAL WARFARE (PT. 1) WITH GUEST KATHLEEN BECKMAN

Welcome on in.. to another episode of Empowered by the Spirit with host, Deacon Steve Greco (of Spirit Filled Hearts Ministry).

Today’s guest is author/speaker Kathleen Beckman. On this episode, we’re going to touch on an area we don’t really hear a lot about in our churches and communities.. but it’s high time we bring it out and expose it to the light.. Our topic is spiritual warfare.

Our guest today has immense knowledge on this topic. In fact, Deacon Steve and Kathleen covered so much ground in the studio that this session became a 2-part series!

Be sure to tune in and SHARE this podcast!

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 11/15/20

EPISODE #257
EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT: THE IMPORTANCE OF CHRIST IN TODAY’S SOCIETY

Hosts Deacon Steve Greco and Rick Howick of the OC Catholic Radio Show team up for a timely conversation about how we can truly reflect Jesus Christ in our lives to the society at large.

This is such an important conversation to have during this election season.

 

Listen in – and you will want to SHARE this podcast with others!

 

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 9/6/20

EPISODE #251
EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT: ALL ABOUT EUCHARISTIC MIRACLES

On today’s broadcast, we’re going to learn a thing or two about Eucharistic miracles. Deacon Steve interviews a young man (Ray Grijalba) who is causing quite a good stir with his popular channel on Youtube.

Tune in and hear what he has to say!

Check out “The Joy of the Faith” on Youtube!

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 7/26/2020

EPISODE #250
EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT: “EVANGELIZATION NOW” WITH GUEST FR. AL BACA

Deacon Steve Greco is thrilled to welcome a very special guest to the studio for our show today. It’s none other than Fr. Al Baca, the Diocese of Orange Director of Evangelization and Faith Formation.

Tune in for this lively and timely discussion!

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 7/19/2020

EPISODE #232
EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT: THE DIVINE MERCY CULTURE

On this week’s program, Steve welcomes Alexis Walkenstein back to the show. Alexis has a fascinating background working in media and network TV for many years; and, she is now an accomplished film producer and author. She has worked on dozens of faith-based films in recent years, including UNPLANNED, BREAKTHROUGH and FATIMA.

On today’s installment, our focus is on the Divine Mercy that Jesus offers.. and its evidence in the culture all around us!

Tune in and share this fascinating discussion.

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 2/23/2020

POPE FRANCIS: THE WORLD NEEDS CATHOLICS WHO GO OUT, PROCLAIM JESUS

Vatican City, Feb 2, 2020 / 06:20 am (CNA) – Pope Francis spoke Sunday about the need for Catholics to be active in going out to announce the faith of Jesus Christ to the world.

“The world needs Christians who let themselves be moved, who never tire of walking the streets of life, to bring everyone the consoling word of Jesus,” he said Feb. 2 in his Angelus address.

“Every baptized person has received the vocation to proclaim,” he added “– to proclaim something, to proclaim Jesus – the vocation to the evangelizing mission: to proclaim Jesus!”

For the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel passage, which speaks of Joseph and Mary bringing the child Jesus to be consecrated in the temple, where they encountered the holy Simeon and Anna.

These men and women “represent models of welcome and giving of their life to God,” he said. “These four were not the same, they were all different, but they all sought God and allowed themselves to be guided by the Lord.”

The Gospel describes them as having attitudes of movement and amazement, he said.

According to the pope, “in this way the four protagonists of the Gospel passage show us that Christian life requires dynamism and requires willingness to walk, letting oneself be guided by the Holy Spirit.”

“Paralysis does not suit Christian witness and the mission of the Church.”

He advised parishes and other communities in the Church “to encourage the commitment of young people, families and the elderly, so that everyone can have a Christian experience, living the life and mission of the Church as protagonists.”

In his address, Pope Francis also spoke about amazement. He said, “the ability to be amazed at the things around us promotes religious experience and makes encounter with the Lord fruitful.”

The inability to be amazed, on the other hand, can make people indifferent, he added.

“May the Virgin Mary help us to contemplate the gift of God for us every day in Jesus, and to let ourselves be involved by him in the movement of the gift, with joyful amazement, so that our whole life may become a praise to God in the service of our brothers,” he prayed.

After the Angelus, the pope noted the Church in Italy’s celebration of the Day for Life, with the theme, “open the doors to life.”

Francis said he joins the Italian bishops in hoping the day will be an opportunity to remember “to guard and protect human life from the beginning until its natural end.”

He also added that it is “necessary to combat any form of violation of dignity, even when technology or the economy is at stake, opening the doors to new forms of responsible fraternity.”

Speaking about the celebration of the World Day of Consecrated Life, also celebrated Feb. 2, the pope led those in St. Peter’s Square in praying a Hail Mary for consecrated men and women, who, he said, “do a lot of work and many times in secret.”

This day “recalls the great treasure in the Church of those who follow the Lord closely by professing the evangelical counsels,” he stated.

EPISODE#21
CATHEDRAL SQUARE: HOMILY HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 33rd AND 34th SUNDAYS OF ORDINARY TIME

It’s time to launch another episode of Cathedral Square featuring our host, Fr. Christopher Smith.

Today’s program includes more homily highlights from the Sunday morning masses that we livestream on video for our Facebook feed.

Be sure to share this inspiring podcast with a friend!

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 12/28/19

HIDDEN MEANINGS

At Christmas, our senses come alive. We savor a steaming cup of cocoa, sniff the spicy smell of cloves and cinnamon in the kitchen, enjoy twinkling lights on our tree.  

And everywhere – shopping, baking, commuting, and working – we hear the familiar notes of traditional and newer Christmas carols. One Los Angeles-area FM radio station – KOST 103.5 – began playing Christmas music this year on November 8.  

Still, many of us have no idea about their history, how Christmas carols developed, and what they mean. 

The ubiquitous songs we hear repeatedly each holiday season have their roots in ancient pagan chants, but in English the first Christmas carols appeared in a 1426 book by John Awdlay, a chaplain in Shropshire, who listed 25 carols probably sung by groups of wassailers who went caroling from house to house.  

Publication of Christmas music books in the 19th century helped to spread carols’ popular appeal. The first appearance in print of “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,” “The First Noel,” “I Saw Three Ships,” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” was in “Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern,” published in 1833 by William Sandys. The Victorian era gave rise to such favorites as “Good King Wenceslas” and “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear.”  

Christmas carols have some surprising history and meanings. 

  • “The 12 Days of Christmas” actually was written as an act of rebellion, created centuries ago when Catholicism was outlawed. Each verse references religious beliefs but, sung as the carol, it could be performed in public without fear of persecution. “True love” refers to God and “partridge in a pear tree” stands for Jesus dying on the wooden cross. 
  • “Carol of the Bells” wasn’t about Christmas at all. It was a Ukrainian folk chant called “Shchedryk” that welcomed the spring and described a bird flying into someone’s house to tweet good fortune. Composer Peter Wilhousky heard it and wrote the English lyrics. 
  • “Do You Hear What I Hear?” written by Noël Regney and Gloria Shayne Baker, was penned as a response to the Cold War. When sung in a church, “a star, a star, dancing in the night with a tail as big as a kite,” refers to the star of Bethlehem, but also describes a nuclear missile. 
  • Based on the 1863 poem “Christmas Bells” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the song “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” was written when his son, Charles Appleton Longfellow, joined the Union Army as a soldier during the Civil War. Charles did so without his father’s permission. Having just lost his wife in a fire, Longfellow turned to poetry as an outlet for his sorrow. 
  • Irving Berlin, a Russian Jewish immigrant, wrote “White Christmas.” Legend says he wrote the song, which contains just 54 words and 67 notes, while working away from home and missing his family. “White Christmas” aired on the radio shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and, when performed overseas the following Christmas, it reminded homesick soldiers of their families. 
  • “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” the story of the scrappy young reindeer who felt like an outcast but ended up saving Christmas, was written by Robert L. May. Having skipped grades, May was younger than his classmates and felt that he didn’t belong, so he wrote himself into Rudolph.

KIDS AND THE CRUCIFIXION

Jesus hangs from the cross in the sanctuary of every Catholic church, so it’s no surprise that young children will want the details behind His life, death, and resurrection. 

Still, it can be tough to find the right words to describe Jesus’s passion and crucifixion to little kids – even with the bright spot of His resurrection to happily end the story.  

How can Catholic parents speak truthfully about Jesus’s passion and death to their children without frightening them?  

“How we talk about the core events in the Christian faith to small children depends on their age, interest, and how the conversation about the topic develops,” explains Katie Dawson, Diocese of Orange director of Parish Evangelization and Faith Formation. “The conversation should be customized to the individual child.” 

With her own children, Dawson used a book, “The Garden, the Curtain and The Cross,” by Carl Lafterton, available on Amazon.com in hard cover for $10.99. 

“It’s a beautifully illustrated story that begins when God made the world, where everything was good, with lovely pictures of the Garden of Eden,” she says. “The book takes you through the whole Christian story through a child’s eyes.” 

With a very young child, she doesn’t tell them about Jesus’s crucifixion, the pain, suffering, blood and torture. “I simply say that things were broken, and Jesus came to fix them. He gave Himself willingly and defeated death and came back.” She adds that when we become friends of Jesus, we can do the same thing and live forever with Him. 

For Dawson, talking about the crucifixion with kids is a lot like talking about sex. “We don’t need to give them all the details when they’re not ready. As they get older and we foster their understanding of Scripture and the Mass, the symbols and signs of our faith are good markers for them to focus on. 

“Jesus suffered, He died, and He rose again, that’s the core of the story,” she adds. “But when it comes to meditating on wounds of Jesus or the depth of His suffering, I think that is up to each individual set of parents. It’s not where I would focus with the child.” 

Whenever Catechesis of the Good Shepherd teachers discuss the crucifixion at St. Vincent de Paul Church, says Rose Antognoli, director of parish faith formation, they make sure to focus on the fact that Jesus not only died but rose from the dead. During each Easter season, children celebrate the Liturgy of Light, in which they light a pascal candle to represent the light of Christ and every child lights his own candle from it. 

“They learn that Christ’s light is stronger than death,” Antognoli says. 

Kendra Tierney, writing on her website CatholicAllYear.org, has an alternative viewpoint. During Holy Week, she reads her children the story of Jesus’s passion and death from Scripture. She doesn’t leave out any parts or soften anything.  

“Even though my 2-year-old isn’t ready to understand everything that happens in the story, and he’s certainly not ready to grasp the horrors of Jesus’ suffering, I do think he is ready to hear about it.”  

Once the story is finished, she asks the kids to lead the conversation. “I have found that they have always been able to see through all of that and understand that Jesus’ passion is a story of love,” she says. “I think even the littlest kids deserve to hear it.”