Thelology On Tap: Prayer In The Fast Lane


In the last round of Theology On Tap we also had Chris Hulbert come and speak to us, “Prayer in the FAST LANE! Quiet moments to connect with God”. The audio is available for download below:

Main Talk (Download)

Q&A (Download)

Group Discussion (Download)

Where do we get novenas?

This morning I went to Mass. Until very recently, we would have celebrated the Feast of the Ascension, but in recent years the Feast has been moved from this Thursday to the nearest Sunday. I’m not such a fan of this change since it obscures the origin of the “novena”, the Catholic practice of nine days of prayer for a particular intention.


Novenas are associated with the period of time between the Ascension of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost:

[Jesus said] “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samar′ia and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight…

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet… and when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying… All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren…

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

 – Acts 1:8-9,12-14;2:1-4

If you’re looking for a novena to pray between now and Pentecost, my new favourite is the novena to one of my favourites, Pier Giorgio FrassatiWhat’s you’re favourite Novena?

Catholic Bucket List #5: Retreat!

The last Bucket List item was to go on pilgrimage. Today’s Bucket List item is related to the previous one:

Catholic Bucket List #5: Go on a retreat

In modern society we are surrounded by noise and we fill our days with business and it’s extremely easy for God to be squeezed out of our day. This is one of the reasons why retreats are so needed. Setting aside a day, a weekend or week to reconnect with God and spend some time with him in prayer can be so good for reestablishing a healthy life balance.

No two retreats are ever the same and there are many different kinds of retreat which one may attend. I would suggest that everyone should go on a silent retreat at least once. I know that if you have never gone on one before, the thought of spending long periods in silence is a terrifying prospect, but believe me, by the end you’ll love it!

A couple of years ago I was actively discerning the priesthood and, as part of my discernment I went on a silent Ignatian Spiritual Exercises retreat given by the Miles Christi priests:

Finding time to get away on retreat can sometimes be difficult, especially if one has children. If so, you might like to take a 3 Minute Retreat!

Fr Jacob: How to pray with confidence!

Fr. Jacob (Andrew) Bertrand, priest at Santa Sophia, recently gave a talk at Faith On Fire, an event in our San Diego diocese much like Theology On Tap, but specifically targeted at those in their late teens and early twenties.

Fr. Jacob was scheduled to speak at another Faith On Fire series at the end of last year, but was unfortunately sick on the night of his talk, meaning that I had to do my best Fr. Jacob impression and cover for him at the last minute. Fortunately, this time Fr. Jacob ate his Wheaties and took all his vitamins so he was in tiptop, fighting form for his talk on prayer.


The lecture was entitled “How to pray with confidence”.  You can either listen to it using the embedded player or download it in MP3 format using the link below:

(Download Main Talk)

There was also a brief period of Q&A and that audio is available here:

(Download Q&A)

At the end of his talk Fr. Jacob gave a quiz, awarding prizes to those with the most correct answers. Here are the questions he asked:

1. What are the three stages of the spiritual life?
2. What are the four forms of prayer?
3. How many petitions are there in the Our Father?
4. The illuminative way is also known as spiritual adulthood. True or false?
5. Name one of the kinds of evil the Father will deliver us from.
6. God leads us into temptation to see if we will sin. True or false?
7. What is the one conditional petition in the Our Father?
8. The Our Father is considered the ______ of our desire.
9. St. Therese said that prayer is a ______ of the heart.
10. What is Fr. Jacob’s middle name?

If you would like to listen to more of Fr. Jacob, his homilies are available on Sound Cloud.

The article Fr: Jacob: How to pray with confidence! first appeared on

Rest In Peace

A few years ago I went on a pilgrimage to Rome with some friends from Washington DC. We spent a wonderful few days touring the sights and praying in some of the most beautiful churches on earth.

Sadly, this weekend I received a message on Facebook that one of the priests who accompanied us, Fr. Bill Dunn, recently died. A doctor for thirty years before entering the seminary, he was a kind and gentle soul. I hadn’t met him prior to our trip, but he and I had the opportunity to become better acquainted on one of our itinerary-free days in “The Eternal City”. We ended up wandering around the city in a search for the best cappuccino money could buy:


Fr. William Dunn: Rest In Peace

The natural human response at the death of a friend is one of mourning, sadness at being physically parted from a loved one. For the Christian, however, death is not the end. As Christians, we also respond with thanksgiving, praising God for allowing us to share in the life of one who loved the Lord so deeply. Finally, the Catholic also responds with petition, that God will have mercy on our friend’s soul and grant entrance into Heaven. I say it is a Catholic’s natural response but, in truth, I think it is the natural response of every Christian, Catholic or otherwise. We want the best for our loved ones, in this life and the next, so we naturally want to intercede for them in this life and the next.

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Waiting for the glory of Sunday


On Saturday evening preparing for the glory of Sunday, Arsenius would turn his back on the sun and stretch out his hands in prayer towards heaven till once again the sun shone on his face

– Sayings, Aresnius 30

The article Waiting for the glory of Sunday first appeared on

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