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It is always a pleasure to have new friends join us in the studio, high atop the Tower of Hope on the campus of Christ Cathedral. The topic on the table today is all about some wonderful, Godly servants who reside at St. Bonaventure Catholic School in Huntington Beach. They are known as ‘The Presentation Sisters.’ On this podcast, host Rick Howick welcomes three unique guests: Alexa Vellanoweth (a former student at St Bonaventure), Kim White (the principal at St. Bonaventure) and Vanessa Frei (Director of Marketing and Enrollment).

So what exactly is a “NUNUMENTARY?” Tune in, and find out!







Originally broadcast on 5/15/21


Host Rick Howick interviews guests on a variety of topics. On this week’s show, Rick welcomes Dr. Erin Barisano back to the program. Barisano is the Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Orange.

Our topic of discussion today will center on the state of Catholic education in Orange County. How have things been going in regards to ‘distance learning’ in these times of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Tune in, and you’ll surely be encouraged by what you hear!





Originally broadcast on 5/30/20


VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Life is a long series of hellos and goodbyes, so don’t be afraid to let go of the past; remember old friends, but keep moving and be open to the new, Pope Francis told students as the school year was coming to an end.

“We have to learn to see life by seeing the horizons,” not the walls that can make people afraid because they don’t know what is on the other side, he told thousands of adolescents during a 45-minute encounter at the Vatican June 2. The middle-schoolers were part of Communion and Liberation’s “The Knights of the Grail” educational initiative.

In the informal Q-and-A, a teen named Marta told the pope how scared she was to be leaving middle school and most of her best friends as they head on to high school next year. “Why do I have to change everything? Why does growing up make me so afraid?” she asked him.

“Life is a constant ‘Good morning’ and ‘Farewell,'” he said, with the goodbyes sometimes being for forever.

“You grow by encountering and by taking your leave,” he said. “If you don’t learn to say goodbye well, you will never learn how to encounter new people.”

This moment of change in life is “a challenge,” he said, but “in life we have to get used to this journey of leaving something behind and encountering something new.”

Noting that Marta had used the word “afraid” a number of times in her question, the pope said the risk that comes with the challenge is that fear will render a person immobile, “too serene” and unable to grow.

Those who give up, settle down and say, “Enough,” close off the horizons that are out there waiting for them and do not grow.

“Look at that wall? What’s behind it?” he asked the girl. “I don’t know,” she said.

“But if you go outside, to the countryside, what do you see?” he asked. “I see everything,” she replied.

“Everything! You see the horizon,” the pope said. “We have to learn to see life by looking at the horizons” that are always open, always lying ahead, by meeting new people and having new experiences.

Instead of framing the future with terms like “fear” or “afraid,” he added, try “using the word ‘a challenge’ more” and remembering, “I will win this challenge or I will let this challenge defeat me.”

“Look at the wall and think about the horizon that lies in the countryside,” he said. The more a person journeys toward the horizon, the farther, longer and wider that horizon becomes.

Remember to call and visit old friends, he said, “but live and journey with the new ones.”

When asked how kids their age could change the world when it has so many problems, the pope told them they have to begin with the people and situations in their daily lives.

Think of what happens to a person’s hand when sharing a piece of candy, for example: It’s open and moves toward the other person, the pope said. Now think of what happens when a person wants to keep that candy for himself or herself: The hand closes up tight and moves away from the other.

One’s heart has to be like the hand that is responding in a positive, generous way, not the negative, self-centered approach, he said.

“You can begin to change the world with an open heart,” the pope said, and by listening to others, welcoming others and sharing things.

Pray for everyone, including one’s enemies and “those who make you suffer,” he said, “Never return evil with evil.”

Don’t bad-mouth, insult or wish bad things would happen to others, he said. “That’s how you can change the world. There is no magic wand, but there are little things we can learn to do every day.”

Pope Francis suggested that the kids meet up to openly discuss the right and the wrong ways to respond to the many difficulties or choices that have to make each day.



Catholic Relief Services takes college students to Capitol Hill to teach them how to be advocates for those in need and to bring faith into the political and legislative process.



ARLINGTON, Va. (CNS) — The fourth time proved to be the charm for a Catholic school project to send a satellite to space.

After three scrubbed launches, a CubeSat built by students at St. Thomas More Cathedral School in the Diocese of Arlington was finally launched into space Dec. 6, headed to the International Space Station. Astronauts at the station will deploy the satellite — a 4-cubic-inch package that weighs less than 3 pounds and is packed with a payload of scientific experiments — into orbit in late January.

On Dec. 3, hundreds of St. Thomas More students, parents and teachers filled a conference room at the Boeing Building in the Crystal City section of Arlington County to watch the launch on large TV monitors hanging on the walls. The screens showed the United Launch Alliance V 401 rocket ready to go, and students and parents were excited.

“It’s good for the school. It’s a once in a lifetime thing,” said parent Michelle Potter told the Arlington Catholic Herald, the diocesan newspaper.

But there was a problem — a problem not uncommon for launches.

Liftoff was scheduled for 6:03 p.m. local time. But around 5 p.m., there was an announcement that the launch might not happen. Weather, especially strong winds, gave the launch only a 30 percent chance of happening.

There was a 30-minute window for any launch to occur, but at 6:25 p.m. the launch was scrubbed. They would try again the next evening. The Dec. 4 launch also was scrubbed because of weather. Ditto the next day’s attempt. Finally, at 4:44 p.m. Dec. 6, the rocket successfully took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

After first attempt was scrubbed, the children and their parents took the delay in stride.

Some students said they were not surprised.

“It’s kind of what I expected,” said fifth-grader James Pohl. “There was a 70 percent chance it wouldn’t go.”

Science experiment payloads created by students and launched into space are not uncommon. But those experiments usually are built by university graduate students. According to NASA, this is the first time a U.S. grade school built a CubeSat.

The satellite is named St. Thomas More Cathedral School Satellite-1 or STMSat-1.

The project began in April 2012, when Joe Pelligrino, the father of a student and a NASA Goddard engineer, saw the St. Thomas More students form the image of the space shuttle in the parking lot of the school when the Discovery shuttle flew piggy-back over Arlington on a modified 747 from Florida to its final home at the Smithsonian’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly.

About 400 students had a hand in designing, building, testing and launching the satellite. Every class from pre-K to eighth-grade was involved. Every student had a job with a job description.

The main payload component is a small camera that will take a photograph every 30 seconds and transmit the images to earth stations that will be shared by schools around the world. The satellite also will measure temperature in space. NASA provided the school with a special antenna to track the satellite.

There were some objects aboard that are not usually included in rocket launches — a Pope Francis medal blessed by the pope and donated by Sister Bernadette McManigal, diocesan superintendent of schools; a crucifix blessed by Father Robert J. Rippy, rector of the Cathedral of St. Thomas More; and a small metal container that holds personal items from a family who made a large donation to the satellite project.

“I’m just so excited for all the students, teachers and parents (who) supported this mission,” said Nelda D. Thomas, assistant principal. “This wouldn’t have happened without the support of our community.”

Thomas said that the photographs and measurements taken by the St. Thomas More CubeSat will benefit scientists and students around the world.

There was another reason for her enthusiasm about the launch.

“I’m excited that we had a religious payload.”


Borowski is on the staff of the Arlington Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Diocese of Arlington.



As young high school graduates prepare to leave home for college, their parents harbor mixed feelings of pride and concern about how their offspring will handle their new independence.

Catholic parents, like their non-Catholic peers, are talking to their children over the summer about balancing their social and academic lives, caring for their health, assuring their safety on campus, seeking help if class work seems daunting and checking in routinely with their families.

In addition, parents of Catholic high school graduates pray that their children will hold onto their faith and continue their spiritual growth as they become exposed, often for the first time, to academic environments where their Catholicism may be challenged.

“I am excited. But I also am nervous, anxious,” says Paige Tecca, describing how she feels as her 18-year-old daughter, Morgan Byrne, a graduate of J. Serra High School in San Juan Capistrano, prepares to study at the University of California at Berkeley.

Tecca, a single mother, says she and her daughter, who will double major in history and legal studies, have talked about the possibility that some Berkeley professors could espouse atheism. “She is concerned about being able to articulate her faith in a constructive manner without being argumentative,” says Tecca.

Tecca says her daughter discovered that Berkeley has a Newman Center where she can attend Mass and a Catholic fellowship group she will join.

It is fortunate that Morgan will also meet non-Catholics, her mother says, so she will “learn to have tolerance for people of other faiths,” and those with no faith. “We have discussed that we are all children of God whether we know it or not,” Tecca says.

At an orientation for prospective freshmen and their parents at Berkeley, Tecca says, “there was a lot of discussion about the transition to young adulthood.”

“As a parent you just pray that you instilled in them the ability to make good choices and know their moral responsibilities,”” she says.

Kelly Bauer, director of the guidance and counseling office at Mater Dei High School, says as a parent she would want her college-bound child to know how to advocate for himself and to have the campus phone numbers for medical care, counseling and law enforcement.

College students, especially girls, should be warned never to walk home alone at night to their dorms and instead to travel in groups for safety, she says.

Bauer says prospective freshmen should also be warned about social media—something that didn’t concern previous generations. She says if they post inappropriate pictures and messages on the Internet it could gravely tarnish their graduate school and employment prospects.

Michael P. Brennan, the principal of Servite High School in Anaheim, says his chief concern and that of many Servite parents is for the graduates to keep on track spiritually. Parents “see the changes in the world and that our colleges are becoming more secular,” Brennan says.

Brennan urges the young men not to be swayed by professors who may tell them that knowledge and reason will give them power and that they don’t need God.

Marjan Dunn, whose 17-year-old son Richard is a Servite graduate heading to Harvard, says she and her husband “are excited for him, and that kind of overshadows every concern.”

She says her son has a solid faith that she does not believe will be compromised. During a weekend orientation at Harvard in April, Dunn says, Richard “went and sought out a Catholic church on that Sunday and met the priest and some people going there and really enjoyed it.”

Richard was an enthusiastic high school debater and will use those skills if his values are questioned, his mother predicts.

“I think he is up to the challenge,” she says. “I don’t expect most of the people he meets will share his views. I wish I could be a fly on the wall to hear him argue with them. I don’t think they know what is coming.”


NEWPORT BEACH — Students at Our Lady Queen of Angels School, along with their teachers and parents, waved American flags and showed off their red-white and blue uniforms as they welcomed a group of military veterans to their campus on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

School Principal Eileen Ryan welcomed the veterans, nearly all of whom were fathers, grandfathers or friends of the students. A handful of the veterans, who participated in wars and conflicts going back as far as World War II, were asked to speak to the students about their days in uniform.

The event ended with a moment of silence.