About a month ago Executive Producer, Richard Arena, Board Chairman, Jordan and Jessi Beardslee, and I, Managing Artistic Director Christine Arena, all went on a trip to Italia. There our hope was to grow in fellowship as well as enjoy the beauty that fills the country. It was the Beardslee's first trip to Italy, and nostalgic for the Arena's -- we backpacked through Italy on a graduation trip 4 years prior.
Our itinerary was Florence, Cinque Terre (day trip) and Rome.
It was absolutely spectacular!!!
Before we left the States, we reached out to the Catholic Stuff You Should Know podcast guys, seeking an opportunity to meet them while we were in Rome. And they said yes!
Background: Do you know about Catholic Stuff You Should Know podcast?
If not, you should. They started in January 2010 as a response to Pope Benedict's call to evangelize through the new media. At the time they were seminarians who were enthralled with the knowledge they were gaining from their classes -- cool things about Catholicism, the history of the Church and the people in the Church! As they learned, they thought that everyone should know this stuff!
One fateful road trip, as they listened to a Stuff You Should Know podcast, they thought, "Why don't we start a Catholic Stuff You Should Know podcast?"
So, they did!
The result is 7.5 years of thoughtful, funny, honest and inspired podcasts, discussing an incredible array of Catholic topics in an easily digestible form. Part of what makes these podcasts so enjoyable is the relationships you witness as you listen -- all of these men are part of a diocesan group called the Companions of Christ and are friends. As you listen, you feel like you're hanging out with them as they delve into these dialogues.
Go and listen to Catholic Stuff You Should Know Podcast!
Back to the Story...
When we got to Italy, we finalized our plans to meet up with the Catholic Stuff guys for coffee while in Rome.
Two days before heading home, we wound our way through the Roman streets to a little caffe where a young priest in a Roman collar was sitting. This being Rome, it was not an unusual sight. In fact, we were energized by how many young men and women in religious habits and men in collars we saw all over, all through the city -- even priests in cassocks riding bicycles!
We waited outside to hear if he'd talk -- we only knew them by their voices -- and were pleasantly surprised as we heard the familiar voice advise the college student who had come to talk to her pastor.
The next 2 hours flew by as we 5 discussed our vocation stories, conversion stories, hopes, dreams, and families. In the course of the conversation we talked to Fr John Nepil (his fellow Rome-stationed podcasting priest, Fr Mike Rapp, was at a conference and unable to join us) about Richmond Catholic Theatre, our journey thus far and hope for the future.
Fr John walked us to our next destination, the Basilica of St Augustine where both St Monica is buried and Our Lady of Childbirth altar are located, and we said our goodbyes. We promised to email him our list of shout-outs, so that he could bring it all up on a future podcast. We did so that night.
We finished our Roman adventure, returned to the States on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima and went about our merry business. Fr John, however, continued his studies and weekly podcasts.
This week, today in fact, they posted their newest podcast about Providential Propaganda -- namely how God's decision to bring Christ into the Roman world utilized the already present desire for a Son of God and a Savior -- featured a surprise shout out to Richmond Catholic Theatre!
Thank you Catholic Stuff guys! Thank you for your prayers, time, support and witness!
All in all, we are so grateful for the opportunity to serve in our mission and are inspired by these guys' zeal to serve a faithful priests, shepherding flock through their ministry of the podcast as well as in their capacities as pastors.
We give our praise and glory to God for this surge in the New Evangelization (listen to the podcast and you'll have a new understanding of the etymology and impact of that word)! May God continue to bless you in your work!