Women of Christ Wednesday: The Visitation Project

11700706_878146542222851_3725125414599258990_o

From left to right: Bonnie, Rebecca, and Heather. Credit to The Visitation Project’s Facebook page.

From The Visitation Project’s Website:

The Visitation Project is a radio show with one goal: meeting Catholic women wherever they are.

Co-hosts Rebecca Frech, Bonnie Engstrom, and Heather Renshaw come from different backgrounds, regions of the country, and perspectives, yet together they offer a fresh voice for Catholic radio. On-air, the TVP Crew discusses issues and challenges significant to today’s Catholic woman, while infusing huge doses of joy and their love of Jesus Christ and the Catholic faith as the underlying thread that ties it all together.

The Visitation Project is produced through the facilities of Mater Dei Radio in Portland, Oregon. TVPRadio episodes broadcast every Sunday evening at 7:30 p.m. PST on 88.3 FM Portland / Vancouver and 100.5 FM Eugene / Springfield. You can also listen live at http://www.materdieradio.com.

 

1) What is The Visitation Project and where did the idea for this show come from?

The Visitation Project is a weekly half hour radio show that airs Sunday nights at 7:30 PST. Our name comes from the Visitation, when Mary set journeyed to see her cousin Elizabeth. There she was literally with The Lord, but she didn’t ask Elizabeth to come to her. She met Elizabeth where she was, and brought Jesus to her.

That’s the academic answer. What is it really? It’s three Catholic women having an honest conversation about life, family, the culture, and our faith with lots of laughter and the occasional beat-boxing.  We’re meeting women where they are and bringing Jesus with us!

 

2) What do you think makes The Visitation Project different from other Catholic radio programs?

We’re not scholars or theologians, so we’re not talking about things from that perspective. We’re trying, instead, to engage our audience in a conversation about what it means to be a Catholic woman in the modern world. We talk about things no one else is discussing, and we aren’t afraid to say the things you don’t normally hear on Catholic radio.

 

3) You have a few podcasts about vocations. What advice would you give to young adults who are discerning marriage and religious life?

Start off with prayer, asking God to make it obvious where He wants you to be. I always ask him to make it obvious, because I’m not good with subtle. I need big blinky neon lights pointing the way.

After praying, search out people who are living the life you feel called to and ask LOTS of questions about what it really looks like to live that life. Don’t forget to actually listen to the answers, not just the good bits but the bad ones too. Then you can have a full picture of the decisions you are making.

Get all the information you can, and then realize that God is going to lead you wherever He wants you to go.

 

4) What advice do you have for young moms that want to make sure that their kids understand the Catholic faith?

Talk about your faith in front of your kids and let them see you pray. Small children will soak up everything you tell them, but they will believe what they see you do.

 

5) What do you think is the most important thing you guys want people to know about The Visitation Project?

That they need to be listening. Seriously. All the cool kids are tuning in. We’re everywhere – radio, podcasts, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and our website thevisitationproject.com; and we really do want to hear from them. Some of our best shows have come from suggestions or questions from our listeners. We want to know what’s important to you and what crosses you’re carrying. We want to go beyond being your favorite audible addiction. We’re hoping to create a community of Catholic women that helps us all to live our faith out loud and with great joy.

Social Media Storytelling

npw_banner

Back when I was in college, I fell head over heels in love with The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a YouTube web series adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Ever since that series became an internet sensation, many other literary classics have become adapted into a web series format such as The Autobiography of Jane Eyre (based on Jane Eyre) and Nothing Much To Do (Much Ado About Nothing).

But my new favorite web series so far is The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy, an adaptation based on the story Peter Pan by JM Barrie. I linked a playlist to the entire show so far here:

Feel free to watch it right now. The episodes are 3-6 minutes long, so it will only take a few hours to catch up.

One interesting aspect about The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy is that there’s an interactive aspect that goes beyond YouTube comments.

This video advertising the Kensington Chronicle mentions that people can ask the characters for advice and that there are “Neverlandians” on Twitter. The Twitter accounts are fictional, but part of the experience because the show sometimes shouts out to the fictional Neverlandians. One such instance is the upcoming play Panlet, which you can only see being “performed” on Twitter tonight. Subscribe to the list here after catching up to the show.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, I am participating as a fictional Neverlandian. My Twitter handle in the New Peter + Wendy “transmedia” experience is @neverlandslayer. My character, Teresa Delacruz will be “performing” in Panlet as Queen Gwendolyn.

Enjoy the series and wish me luck on my performance!

A note: The series gets a bit PG-13 in the Season 2 episodes. There is some cross-dressing and implications of pre-marital sex and same-sex relationships. This is still a good series, so I’m hoping you can look past that.

Congrats to Bishop-Elect Robert Barron!

Courtesy of Word on Fire

Courtesy of Word on Fire

Back when I was in college, one of my friends introduced me to Fr. Robert Barron’s videos on YouTube. I quickly became a big fan of his because he loved talking about the things that he loved as well as teaching about the Catholic Church. He would’ve fit in with any of my wonderful professors. I especially loved how he often debated with New Atheists and his 10-part Catholicism series. (I have the book version.)

So I was really happy to find out this morning that Fr. Robert Barron is now going to be an auxiliary bishop in Los Angeles!

My personal prayer for the soon-to-be-bishop is that he will follow in the example of Fulton Sheen and keep on making videos and wonderful new projects in new media. I also pray that the people in Los Angeles will be inspired by their new Bishop and follow in his example.

I’ll be here cheering him on and praying for him.

Read similar congratulations from Elizabeth Scalia, Deacon Greg Kandra, Tom Zapino, and Kate O’Hare.

Regardless of Warnings, The Future Doesn't Scare Me At All

Looking into the future of the Catholic Church is a lot like somebody wondering if they’ll ever find love again after a series of heartbreaks. It doesn’t seem like any good will come with all of the persecution, the indifferent (at best) or hostile (at worse) politics and entitled brats that populate the majority of Tumblr who attack the Church on a daily basis. And yet, in spite of everything, I still feel like there is hope.

 

There is hope for a bright future when you see young adults spreading their love for the Church in New Media:

 

 

There is hope when the entire world can relate to the joy found in the eyes of a Catholic priest who happens to be a Star Wars geek:

 

There is hope when even the combox trolls of YouTube see evidence of God through his servants: 

Photo courtesy of Introvert Apologist. The term you're looking for is "Father What a Waste"

Photo courtesy of Introvert Apologist. The term you’re looking for is “Father What a Waste”

 

I see hope for the future of the Church every time I staff at Awakening retreats.

10708197_990884404259850_895288219_n

Copyright to the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston office of Young Adults and Campus Ministry.

 

In the hundreds of people in my diocese attending Mass on a Monday afternoon for Cafe Catholica. 

10394092_10153138608788425_4206869273392838265_n

Posted with permission from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

 

In the millions of young adults who march for the rights of unborn children…

  received_10203485674735167.jpeg[1]  

 

In the millions of people who come to World Youth Day

Wydrome2000  

 

It’s too easy to be pessimistic, even fatalistic. Sure, all these people show up to these events, but how Catholic are they really? God only knows. We can’t write off people who want to be part of the Church, but seemingly falter. We can’t write off Pope Francis and say that he’s a bad pope in spite of his flaws. We can’t dig foxholes where none are required.

GK Chesterton said “Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.”

Like people who’ve been burned by love affairs gone wrong, many Catholics build up walls and put armor around their hearts, keeping outsiders at arms’ reach and daring the world to prove them wrong. They do this in the name of protecting themselves and defending the church, but in truth, it’s a very selfish action. When we find people who want to understand the Church more or even your everyday “spiritual but not religious,” we have to consider where they’re coming from in order to evangelize. If we approach them with all of our armor, it just ends up alienating them.

A small example can be found in something I encountered recently. A person who considered themselves spiritual but not religious posted a quote that I found inspiring, but in the caption, they asked why religion and philosophy were taught instead of affirmations. Being someone who went to a Catholic college and minored in philosophy, I felt like I needed to defend what I learned. But I did so with as much love for the person I was commenting to as much as the love I had for the things that made me who I am.

I said: “I love your quote because it reflects on what I’ve been experiencing recently, but part of my transformation happened through what I learned from religion and philosophy. There is beauty to be found in them. It’s through my faith that I gained the courage and the desire to change. It’s through philosophy that I learned what kind of ideals I should strive for. I definitely agree that having an attitude of gratitude helps as well.”  I was glad to see that they responded positively to what I said.

 

Be not afraid, fellow Catholics. We are in a future not our own, but if we approach the future with an open heart and focus on just being friends with those we dialogue with as opposed to turning people into “projects,” then the future of the Catholic Church will be a bright one.

Men of Christ Monday: Timothy Quigley

Timothy Quigley is an actor and filmmaker based in Lancaster. He is the creator and star of the sitcom, “Ordinary”.

“Ordinary” is a sitcom about a fresh-faced newly-ordained priest assigned to a parish in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. When his rascal little brother Josh shows up at his new home, Father Anderson finds himself facing more challenges and surprises than he could have anticipated. From handling erratic staff to wrestling restless catechumens, he’ll need to summon all the patience he can to get through his ordinary day. You can donate to the Season 2 Kickstarter in the link
Timothy volunteers as a videographer and editor at Lancaster Community Television (LCTV66) and is actively involved in community filmmaking and local theater. He will next be seen on stage in the musical, “Absolutely Anything” produced by The Creative Works of Lancaster, March 5-8.

First of all, tell me (and my readers) exactly who you are and what you currently do for a living.


I’m Timothy Quigley, cradle Catholic, from a happy family of 10 children happy to keep the Irish-Catholic stereotype alive. I am an actor, a filmmaker and local television producer. Those three jobs keep me quite busy.


I take it there are some Irish twins in your family?


None, as a matter of fact!


So you have a family of your own now. Describe a typical day in your life, balancing your family and the jobs you have.


I have been married for almost 7 years, no children (pregnancies but no births). My wife and I both come from large families and wanted to have one right off the bat, but our Father had other plans. We’ve seen this as a time to find ways of ministering where we might otherwise not be able. My wife, Carolyn, is a nurse who works a number of places but primarily as a school nurse at the local high school, JP McCaskey. Monday through Friday, she’s doing her work and I’m doing mine, touching base with each other regularly. We get up early, get ready for work together, then split up until I come back from the office to go to bed. Saturdays we get housework done and Sundays we chill.


What inspired you to create Ordinary?


The first inkling of an idea came from working around the rectory and observing how similar it was to any other workplace. It started as a joke that NBC’s “The Office” could easily do a spin-off called “The Parish”. Years later I returned to the idea and started to write, but it morphed into something very different than what I thought it would be. I didn’t want to fashion a “Father Michael Scott”, if you will. We have plenty of them elsewhere in visual media, and they’re just not representative of the majority of priests I know. This led to centering the show on the priest and his story. The vocation of the priesthood has always fascinated me, and there’s a lot to work with when your character is in persona Christi, with elements both very human and very divine.


Tell me more of your personal vocation story.


I started discerning the priesthood when I was 10 as an altar boy, attending daily Mass. At that time, the only other thing I wanted to be was an actor, but when I learned that movie and TV actors don’t get to write their own lines or direct the movie/show, I said “Forget it then, I’ll be a priest”. I went to a school in New Hampshire for boys wanting to become priests, run by the Legion of Christ. I was with the Legion for a short time but discerned away from there thinking I was perhaps called to diocesan and parochial life instead of the life of a religious community like the Legion, so I entered diocesan seminary at Saint Charles Borromeo in Philadelphia. It was there that I watched the short film, “Fishers of Men” from Grassroot Films. My friend, with whom I had confided my recent doubts about my vocation, turned to me and said, “Doesn’t that just inspire you to want to be a priest!?” I said, “No, it inspires me to become a filmmaker.” I left seminary in 2006 and started studying the craft. Now I’m an actor who does get to write his own lines and direct his own show. Heh, a show about a priest at that. Everybody wins!


What led you to marriage?


It didn’t take much thought or spiritual agony on my part. In 2007, a year after I left seminary, I met a really cute girl at the Saint Gertrude’s 20s Group in Cincinnati and I asked her out. My first girlfriend! I married her 10 months later. Transitioning from pursuing a priestly vocation to a marital vocation was relatively seamless. Because while I discerned I didn’t have a vocation to the priesthood, I was certain I still had a vocation to fatherhood. My whole life changed when I altered my vocational discernment approach to basically, “Pray and just go with your gut.” There’s way too much vocational analysis paralysis among our young Catholics.


What advice do you have for those who are discerning vocations and struggle with “vocational analysis paralysis”?


I think everyone discerning their vocations understands they were created for a purpose. We know that we each have a unique way we are meant to know, love, and serve God in this life, so that we can be happy with Him in the next. That puts pressure on us to make sure we don’t muck this up!! But it’s really not that complicated. Our Father has no interest in making our vocational discovery a PhD in aerospace engineering. (Unless of course he is calling you to be an actual rocket scientist then… yeah.) What He really wants from us is to enter into prayer with Him and stay close to Him. Whatever I am made for is what I am MADE for; it is part of who I am, right there in my gut and will become clearer with prayer. So what is the thing that drives you, motivates you to be the saint you’re called to be? Do that thing. Don’t focus on vocational discernment as a, “What do I feel called to eventually be?” You already know: a saint. Ask instead, “What do I feel called to do today?”


Who are your go-to saints?


The Blessed Mother is number one. I chose the name Mary at my Confirmation. Others I go to regularly are Saint Joseph, Saint Timothy, Saint Raymond Nonnatus. When I’m in the middle of filming, I go to Saint Jude and Saint Rita.


What do advice do you have to young adults who want to pursue a career in film and television? How do you balance your faith and your work?

 

I can’t speak to the challenges of keeping your faith while working in Hollywood. That’s one avenue some take, but I’ve decided to stay in my lovely hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. With the ubiquity of the internet and the low cost and wide accessibility of equipment, there aren’t any good excuses to not just do it. Surround yourself with talented people, which becomes easier the more you do and the more you pay attention to what everyone else is doing. And don’t ever make the mistake of thinking other filmmakers are your adversarial competitors. They’re your allies. One thing that is very cool about our production of the second season of Ordinary is the great team of local filmmakers we’ve assembled. None of them are even Catholic, but they love what they do and they love the show. It’s not worth it to compromise your artistic vision or your religious conviction in an effort to be liked. People value authenticity of character and work that is genuine.

 

Please donate to the Ordinary Season 2 Kickstarter! Season 1 is available for On-Demand on Vimeo.

Photo of the Day: The Nature of Confession

I decided to take CSLentIPJ’s photo prompt of “confession” and turn it into a writing prompt for this blog post.

During my MTV/VH1 phase, I saw this interview with The All-American Rejects where they talk about the making their music video “Dirty Little Secret.” The music video shows people holding index cards with drawings and various secrets written on them. Later on, I found out the website they got those secrets from, PostSecret. For a while, I was obsessed with the website. Sharing anonymous secrets has taken on a new form on social networking sites like Tumblr and Instagram. Tumblr provides the option of making “asks” anonymous. Some Instagram accounts I follow post a series of “confessionals” and share secrets about themselves with all of their followers.

Fr. Robert Barron goes into this whole phenomenon of sharing secrets and public confessions on one of his videos:

Fr. Dwight Longnecker explains the point of view of the penitent in his post that talks about his first Confession.

There’s something in our hearts that compels us to share our secrets and sins with someone. In spite of the declarations of “only God can judge” or “once saved always saved” or the idea of dualism that acts of the body don’t affect the soul, there’s still that desire for sympathy, for forgiveness, for acceptance in spite of our faults. We seek validation for our lives. We seek to improve ourselves. And sometimes, we seek solace.

Confession is unique in that it helps us acknowledge that we are not perfect, but we’re not completely broken either. It shows that no one is beyond saving and that God is a God of second chances.

So for my photo for today, I want to share this confession with you about something I’ve been called recently.

A confessional post that I posted on my Instagram.

A confessional post that I posted on my Instagram.