This Catholic Life
Live life to the full! Ancient philosophers, wise teachers, mystics and teachers all agree that we should aim to live life to the full. A life full of meaning. A life full of purpose. A life full of learning, full of beauty, art, and culture, full of meaningful work and hobbies, all in the context of a strong community, full of a variety of cultures, experiences and personalities, centred around family and friends. This is a life full of wonder. A life full of peace and joy. How does this work in a world that seems to be in such a mess? Life seems to be full of confusing news, contradictions and absurdities. It seems so many people are suffering, oppressed, anxious and depressed. What about all these things? What has this got to do with being Catholic? Aren’t Catholics against all the fun stuff? Don’t Catholics sometimes cause some of the suffering and confusion?
This Catholic Life is a few ordinary Catholics from a variety of backgrounds and stages of life, who love life and yet live in the real world. In the real world it is important to be honest about hardships, suffering and frustrations of life. The podcast is simply some ordinary people having a relaxed, informal, and genuinely searching conversation everything from the trivial to the controversial, breaking all the barbeque rules; talking about religion and politics, about movies, mates, masculinity and mental health, about friends, femininity, families and fast food.
The podcast is rated mature because we want the freedom to discuss things at an adult level, when tackling hard topics or even trivial matters, sometimes that gets messy, sometimes that involves strong language, sometimes it takes on things that nobody else wants to. We won’t be afraid to consider criticisms of Catholics and Christians, or arguments and questions that don’t have easy answers. We won’t be afraid to laugh at ourselves, our Church, our country and take a poke at various people in public life. In short, This Catholic Life is an open and lively discussion about current issues, life, the universe and everything, unafraid to ask the hard questions and laugh at the absurdity and wonder of life.
Peter Holmes trained and served as a Lutheran Minister before working in counselling, management, consulting and teaching roles within the Catholic Archdioceses of Melbourne and Sydney. Peter has lectured in Scripture, biblical languages (Hebrew and Greek), and Marriage and Sexuality. Peter’s research interests include relationship between faith and reason and the theology of masculinity. Peter is married with eight children, a fan of many sports, computer games, and fine whiskey.
Dr. Renée Köhler-Ryan is a professor of Philosophy and the Dean of Philosophy & Theology at University of Notre Dame Australia. Born and raised in Australia, Renee studied in Leuven, and lectured in Philosophy in Rome, Italy. She is interested in the ideas, art and architecture, issues surrounding philosophy of the human person, political philosophy, philosophy of culture, and the dynamic relationship between faith and reason in the Catholic intellectual tradition.
Rian served with Catholic Youth Services (CYS) mission team before working with several parishes and youth groups as a youth leader. He studied theology and graduated with honours. While he continues to maintain an active interest in youth organisation(s), and parish work, he is focusing on developing opportunities for creative Catholics, and for developing his own art.
Cormac recently completed his Masters in Philosophy on John Paul II's political legacy. He is passionate about drinking craft beer and stoking controversy, while working for the Sydney Archdiocese helping young men discern their vocation. Cormac resides in the lower Blue Mountains with his wife and (about to be) three young children.
Anna studied at Campion College Australia, graduating in 2012. She began working as a reporter for local newspapers and the Daily Telegraph. In 2016 she started working at Australian Associated Press but left the following year to take up a role as a media advisor in the NSW Government. She now works at her alma mater, Campion College, as media and communications officer. In addition to her work, she is a freelance writer and blogger. She enjoys hiking, swing dancing and drinking tea. https://agonyandhope.com
Monica is the Director of Public Affairs and Engagement for the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney. Prior to this, she was the Archdiocesan Manager of Communications and the Communications Director and spokeswoman for the Coalition for Marriage in the 2017 same-sex marriage postal vote. She is a writer and speaker, and a regular columnist for the Catholic Weekly. Before commencing her work with the Archdiocese of Sydney, Monica spent ten years working as a corporate lawyer in Sydney and London, and holds degrees in law and medical science, a diploma in finance and a masters in bioethics.
Katrina J. Zeno
Raised in San Diego, California, studied at Franciscan University of Steubenville and John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Washington, DC. Katrina is the author and contributing author of many books, including books on the Feminine Genius, When Life Doesn't Go Your Way, and The Body Reveals God (A Guided Study of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body ). Katrina served appeared on EWTN, Catholic Familyland TV on various topics, she is has over 50 articles in publication, and she has spoken throughout the United States and Canada, and in Rome, Switzerland, Austria, England, Canada, Guatemala, and Trinidad, on Theology of the Body, the genius of women and related topics. http://katrinazeno.com/
Marilyn Rodrigues is a journalist for The Catholic Weekly (print and online). She has worked as a journalist and columnist for the paper since 2000. Her special interests are spirituality, psychology and mental health, and life issues. Marilyn blogs in her five minutes of free time a week about faith, family, work and life at marilynrodrigues.com
Simcha is a speaker, freelance writer and author of The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning. She blogs daily at simchafisher.com and weekly at The Catholic Weekly. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and 10 kids.
She won “Best Column” awards from the Catholic Press Association in 2018 and 2019. https://www.simchafisher.com/
Damien a freelance journalist and correspondent for the New Hampshire Union Leader. He describes his profession as “Troublemaker”, but his highest recommendations come from his wife who is often heard bragging about how awesome he is.
Chris is the Team Leader of Sydney Catholic Youth, member of the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation, in 2014, he co-founded Conviction Group, a young men’s mental health group aimed at reaching out to young men with good masculine role models. He is the 2017 Hills Shire Citizen of the Year and former Credo Youth Ministry leader, Parramatta.
Mark Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker, with works such as “By What Authority?”, “Making Senses Out of Scripture” and his “Mary, Mother of the Son” trilogy, Mark has travelled far and wide to speak in parishes and halls all over, and even a couple of visits to Australia!
He blogs at Catholic and Enjoying It.
Sherry Weddell is the Executive Director of the Catherine of Siena Institute, which she co-founded in 1997. Sherry has developed resources and helps lead an international team who have worked directly with over 170,000 lay, religious, and ordained Catholics in 600+ parishes in 195 (arch)dioceses on 5 continents..
Sherry’s book, Forming Intentional Disciples (published July 2012), is a best seller that has sold over 150,000 copies. When not hanging around airports, Sherry enjoys tending her high altitude Tuscan garden in the Colorado Rockies.
Tara Veness currently studies a Bachelor of Law (Honours)/Bachelor of Philosophy at Notre Dame. Tara’s love of metaphysics has guided her research interests; she is writing her honours thesis on the relationship between law and metaphysics. She is an aspiring academic, a lover of wine and cheese, and is recently married.
Andrew Mullins’ career in teaching has included over 30 years teaching in Australian secondary schools, an interest in classical thinkers and philosophers. In his position as headmaster of two different schools in Sydney, Dr Andy Mullins was headmaster of Redfield College in Dural, NSW, (1996 – 2010), and Wollemi College (2011 – 2014). Currently he is on the board of the first Parents for Education school in Victoria, Harkaway Hills College. He has involved parents in the process of developing values in young people. He is the author of Parenting for Character. He is currently working on a doctorate on the neural bases of virtue.
Matthew Tan is a Sydney-based theologian, blogger and author. Matthew studied Law, History and International Relations before completing his PhD in Brisbane, and a Licentiate in Theology in Rome. He has served as a Lecturer in Theology and Philosophy at Campion College Australia, a Visiting Research Fellow at the Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Dialogue at DePaul University in Chicago. Matthew now works in the Archdiocese of Sydney, and is an adjunct Senior Lecturer in Theology at the University of Notre Dame Australia.
Richard Budd lives in Michigan, USA with his wife and two children. He obtained a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Theology from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, D.C.
He has served as the Director of Marriage and Family Life for the Diocese of Lansing, MI for the past four years. In addition to the work he does for the diocese, he directs his parish RCIA program, co-hosts a weekly podcast called The Armchair Catholic, has written for Adoremus Bulletin, Humanum, and Mosaic, and speaks on marriage and the family, Theology of the Body, and related topics.
Beth is a freelance graphic designer, commissioned artist and newly minted housewife. She grew up in the country on a small hobby farm with her Mum. At 14, she moved to the city to live with her Dad, she returned to the country to complete a Business degree. She settled in Sydney in 2011, worked in the Sydney Uni Chaplaincy before working a number of roles in corporate administration, accounting and marketing while freelancing on the side as an artist and graphic designer. She recently resigned to become a housewife and a soon to be stay-at-home Mum.
Dominic grew up in the Hills District, graduated in Commerce/Law, and worked as a Solicitor in Sydney before entering parliament in 2011, and was appointed Treasurer of NSW in 2015. Dominic is married to Helen and they are the proud parents of five children.
William is a professor of Catholic studies and director of the Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology, a research center housed in the Department of Catholic Studies and focusing on the Catholic Church in the global South—Africa, Asia, and Latin America. He has a master’s degree from Cambridge University and a PhD from Duke University. He spent two years working for the Church in a poor area of Santiago, Chile, under the military dictatorship. William is married and has three sons.
John studied applied science (in physics) at UTS in Sydney, and is the operations scientsits at the CSIRO Parkes radio observatory. His involvement began with supporting the 1996 Galileo mission to Jupiter. He was a researcher and techncal advisor for the film “The Dish” which is focused on the facility at Parkes, and in 2016 was awarded the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to astronomy.
The son of a Reformed Church minister, Peter Pelican had a short run as a musician, then followed his father and grandfather’s footsteps and was ordained a Protestant pastor. Ten years later he was received into the Catholic Church. Peter is married to Leone and together they have four children.
Byron and Francine Pirola
Byron and Francine are Directors of the Marriage Resource Centre and are recognised leaders in marriage education, with a particular emphasis on understanding its sacramental nature in the Catholic faith. Married since 1988, they are founders and directors of the marriage enrichment seminar SmartLoving Marriage (formerly Celebrate Love) which has been operating in Australia since 1990, and more recently in the UK, NZ and Asia. They are also authors of the multi-media marriage preparation course SmartLoving Engaged (formerly Embrace) which is used for Catholic marriage preparation in dioceses across several English-speaking countries. They are a former chair the Australian Catholic Marriage and Family Council, an advisory council of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Francine is a former member of the Executive of the Catholic Society for Marriage Education. They are former past Presidents of the Australian Council of Natural Family Planning and have represented the Australian Catholic Bishops at meetings of the Pontifical Council of the Family. Together they have five children and one grandchild.
Lana Turvey-Collins grew up in Queensland and has lived and worked in Switzerland, Zambia, Peru, Timor-Leste, New Zealand and Japan. In 2012 Lana moved to work with the bishops in Zambia as a project officer, whilst completing a Masters in Human Rights and Social Development. She has worked in both corporate and non-profit organisations and began working for the Church in 2007 as the youngest director of the Catholic Mission in the Sydney Archdiocese. Lana is currently serving as the facilitator of the Church’s historic Plenary Council 2020.
Fr Brian Lucas
Fr Brian Lucas is the Director of Catholic Mission. For 13 years, Fr Lucas was General Secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and before that was 12 years Archdiocesan Secretary and Financial Administrator of the Archdiocese of Sydney.
Fr Harrison Ayre
Fr. Harrison Ayre is a priest for the Diocese of Victoria and co-host of the Clerically Speaking Podcast. He was ordained in 2015 after finding his vocation through his participation at the Tertio Millennio Seminar. During his seminary studies, he spent one year working with the Missionaries of Charity in Gallup, NM and San Francisco, CA, a year that has shaped in him a desire to live the heart of the MCs as a diocesan priest.
David Schütz was a Lutheran pastor, and was received into the Catholic Church in 2003. His theological interests focus on ecumenism, history and liturgy, and he is also a professional librarian. He is an adult faith educator for Anima Education, a cantor in his local parish and at the Cathedral, and a member of the Australian Rat Fanciers Association. David served (almost 18 years) as the executive officer of the Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission in the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne. A long term member of the Victorian Council of Churches Faith and Order Commission (both as a Lutheran and a Catholic) David served as Chair of the Commission from 2012 to 2015. He is also a foundation member of the Jewish Christian Muslim Association and is currently the Editor of Gesher, the Journal of the Victorian Council of Christians and Jews.
Peter Rosengren is the editor of The Catholic Weekly newspaper which is published by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney. Before that he was, for 13 years, editor of The Record newspaper published by the Archdiocese of Perth in Western Australia where he had also worked as a journalist and a sub-editor. Aside from a brief foray into industrial relations he has worked mainly in communications and journalism, including in Catholic education and as editor of a student newspaper at the University of Western Australia. Although he never intended to pursue journalism as a career, he is interested especially in religious affairs and the relationship between religious faith and society and its role in history. He is married with two children.
Sean was raised in Otisville, Mich., and spent time as a college seminarian for the Diocese of Lansing before continuing his studies in English and history at the University of Michigan, Flint and obtaining his teacher certification through the University of Detroit-Mercy. He holds a master of science in educational leadership from Cardinal Stritch University, and has been an educator in public, private and Catholic schools. He served as superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Lansing, and Chair of the diocesan Central Service Department of Education, from 2015-2019 before being ordained a permenant deacon for the diocese of Lansing.
Jeremy married Catherine in 2000, together they have 8 children. They homeschool their children, with the eldest at Campion College.
Jeremy has worked as a carpenter and joiner for about 20 years. He has worked for most major window companies in Sydney, and worked on some of Sydney’s larger construction sites. He has also spent time as a truck driver.
Silvana Scarfe works as Research Assistant to the Most Rev. Richard Umbers, Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney and Bishop Delegate for Life. She is a graduate of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family and holds a Graduate Diploma in Canonical Practice.
Anna Krohn is an educator and educational writer who has worked for the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family and the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne.
Fr. Sam Lynch
Fr Sam Lynch was raised in Sydney, was educated in Catholic schools then studied humanities at Sydney University. After university he worked in events management and book publishing before entering the seminary in 2006. Ordained in 2012, he has served in several parishes in Sydney and is currently the parish administrator of two parishes in Sydney’s Inner West.
Melinda Tankard Reist
Melinda (www.melindatankardreist.com) is an author, speaker, media commentator, blogger and advocate for young people. She is best known for her work addressing sexualisation, objectification, harms of pornography, sexual exploitation, trafficking and violence against women. Melinda is author/editor of six books including Getting Real: Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls(Spinifex Press, 2009), Big Porn Inc: Exposing the harms of the global pornography industry(Spinifex Press, 2011, co-edited with Dr Abigail Bray) and Prostitution Narratives: Stories of survival in the sex trade(Spinifex Press, co-edited with Dr Caroline Norma). An opinion writer, Melinda has appeared on ABC’s Q&A and The Gruen Sessions as well as many other TV and radio programs. Melinda is co-founder of the grassroots campaigning movement, Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation, exposing corporations, advertisers and marketers who objectify women and sexualise girls to sell products and services. An Ambassador for World Vision Australia, Compassion Australia, HagarNZ and the youth mentoring body the Raise Foundation, Melinda is also Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Culture and Ethics, Notre Dame University, Sydney. Melinda is named in the Who’s Who of Australian Women and the World Who’s Who of Women.
Alison joined the French Foreign Legion and served in the Congo chasing porcupine smugglers. She has worked as a school teacher, in her own business as an eco-educator and has completed a Masters degree in Fine Art. She lives in Brisbane with her family and a small menagerie of cats and dogs.
Clara, a researcher, educator and Church historian with a deep commitment to the empowerment of lay people in the Church has joined the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference as an executive secretary and is the Australian representative of the Sienna Institute. She breeds Dalmatians for show-jumping and dressage, and keeps a small hutch of homing hamsters.
Brendan Malone is the Director of LifeNET NZ. He has been working full-time in pro-life, marriage, and family ministry for the last 15 years where he speaks at churches, universities, high schools, and conferences on bioethics and sexuality issues throughout New Zealand and Australia. He is married to Katie and they have five children. Brendan also has a background in communications and media training, and he regularly connects with people in the online space via his YouTube channel which has 31,000 subscribers, and his new weekly online independent media show Monday Night Live.
Gabriel was studying in a proteomics science lab before eventually seeing the light and studying medicine. Since graduating from medical school he has embarked upon the Obstetric and Gynaecology training programme, and in conjunction with his clinical work is completing a PhD in restorative reproductive medicine. But secretly he would love to start his own inland surf park and make coffees on a proper coffee machine all day.
Jovina is a General Practitioner with an interest in Palliative Care. She would like to add ‘expert house-mover’ to her CV as she and Gabe have moved seven times in seven years. When not constructing fun therapy games for her sons, Jovina loves listening to music, running and really misses watching the Sydney Swans play.
Dr. Samuel Kaldas
Dr. Samuel Kaldas is Director of Research & Community Engagement at St Cyril’s. He has completed a BA majoring in philosophy and ancient history, with an Honours thesis on the moral psychology of early modern philosopher of religion Ralph Cudworth, who was also the subject of PhD. His research interests range over a wide set of questions about the interface between Orthodox theology and philosophy (both ancient and modern), including questions about religious knowledge, the existence of God, the problem of evil, philosophy of education and the philosophy of liturgy. He also has an enduring research interest in the culture and theology of “service” in 20th century Coptic thought, particularly in figures like St Habib Girgis, Fr Bishoy Kamel and Fr Yousef Asaad. He is the translator (with his grandmother Ramza Bassilious) of Bishop Epiphanius, So Great a Salvation: Biblical Meditations of a Contemporary Desert Father (Cairo: St Macarius Press, 2019).
Rev. Dr. Antonios Kaldas has served as parish priest of Archangel Michael and St. Bishoy Coptic Orthodox Church in Mount Druitt, Sydney, Australia, since 1991. He was previously a medical doctor, has been heavily involved in the spiritual education of children and youth. He is an active researcher in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science, lectures in Apologetics and Philosophy at St. Cyril‘s Coptic Orthodox Theological College in Sydney, and has recently authored Two Become One: An Orthodox Guide to Engagement and Marriage (2017), Ancient Faith Publishing. He is married with two children and a number of pets
Fr Robin Koning SJ
Fr Koning SJ is a member of the Faber Jesuit Community and currently serves as Provincial Assistant for Vocations. Previously he taught systematic theology as part of the faculty of Jesuit Theological College and served as Socius to the Provincial of the Jesuits in Australia. He offers spiritual direction and gives workshops on Ignatian prayer and the Rules for Discernment of Spirits
Chris & Rosina Gordon
Chris and Rosina Gordon have been married for 16 years and have six children. Chris is a high school teacher and Rosina has a background in music and sound engineering. Recently they relocated from North Western Sydney to Wagga Wagga.
Lousia Daniels & Marilyn Cognito
Musicians Marilyn Ng, and Louisa Court, both from south of Sydney, a place we call “the Gong” produce a mellow indie rock under the name Gus and Iggy, named in memory of “two of history’s greatest minds.”
Amy & Isaak
Isaak is an international Feng Sui champion and Ferret breeder, Isaak is working towards developing the sport of Ferret Racing, hoping to use his skills in developing racecourses with positive energy.
Amy left her budding career in horticultural therapy to pursue her dream of replacing politicians with cartoon animals animated by Artificial Intelligence. She says we can’t do much worse than the mob we have now.
Divorced Widower, 2 Daughters, 5 ¾ grandchildren, due mid-August.
Retired Mechanical Engineer, Sales and Marketing Materials Handling Sector.
Schoenstatt Men’s Group member for over 25 years
Member of Australian Catholic Men’s Alliance incorporated (ACMA Inc.) consisting of 5 leaders in men’s ministry, working with CAS/LFO - Maximus – Men Striving for Greatness.
Worked at Holyoake for over 20 years as Facilitator/co-facilitator in support programs for families impacted by problematic alcohol/drug use and gambling.
Recovered workaholic, recovered from hard-core Pornography, recovered sexual abuse victim.
Gwyn has been teaching Japanese in Australia since 1995 and along the way studied a Masters of Divinity and a PhD in Japanese History. In Victoria, Gwyn taught in public and Catholic schools between 1995 and 2015. He enjoys playing basketball with his adult children, jogging and cooking dahl, rice and curries. He now works as a lecturer at the University of New England and his book, ‘Dangerous Memory in Nagasaki: Prayers, Protests and Catholic Survivor Narratives’ was published in 2019.