On the way out of Jericho a blind man named Bartimaeus sat begging on the roadside. The Gospel of Mark tells us Jesus is passing by, and Bartimaeus cries out for Him to have pity. Jesus stops and asks him what he wants Jesus to do for him.
“Master, I want to see,” he says.
Jesus replies, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” And he received his sight, and then followed Jesus. You can see with your eyes, yes, but you can also see with your mind, heart, and spirit. In this episode of Faith Full we meet Fr. Jamie Dennis, a Catholic priest who is blind, whose journey to helping others see the way to God has not always been easy.
“Here is sort of the blunt truth and I’m not trying to put the Church in a negative light, I’m just stating a fact: the Church hasn’t always been good at dealing with people who are, quote unquote different. It’s difficult.”
You can skip to a section from this episode:
Growing up while losing vision
On his path to the priesthood
On why the Latin Mass and Byzantine Liturgy are more accessible
Continue reading “9: Fr. Jamie Dennis, a Blind Priest Guiding the Faithful”
For some Catholics who are blind, the experience of the Mass can be very different than for sighted people. In normal times, it can be a tactile experience.
But not during the pandemic.
In Scripture, Jesus is recorded as saying where two or three are gathered together in His name, there He is in the midst of them. And that goes for times when the two or three need to be two or three meters apart for social distancing. As with many Catholics, those who are blind have found technology as a way to continue to express their faith even when so much of life is disrupted. Many are also helped by an organization in New York, the Xavier Society for the Blind, which for 120 years has kept coming Catholic and inspirational materials in Braille and audio formats.
We’ll learn more on this episode of Faith Full.
(In this episode we hear from four people: Skip to Donna Slivoski, Roger Erpelding, Fr. Jamie Dennis, or Malachy Fallon)
Continue reading “8: Blind Catholics Keeping the Faith in a Pandemic”
In times of struggle for the institution of the Catholic Church, some look for inspiration and intercession from the Saints. St. Jean Vianney is said to have faced regular attacks by Satan, yet his ministry in the face of those has positioned him as the Patron Saint of Parish Priests, having walked the Earth during a time of great difficulty for the Catholic church in France. The incorrupt heart of St. Jean Vianney is touring the U.S. during another time of trial in the Church. More on that, and the young man traveling with the relic in this episode of Faith Full.
In this episode we have two interviews. (Skip to Fr. Stephen Dominic Hayes talking more about St. Jean Vianney)
Continue reading “6: Penance, Prayers, and an Incorrupt Heart”
We live in a moment when our faith traditions can lead some people to stereotypes right away. If you identify yourself as anything, a whole host of political or social positions may be thrown at you, or attributed to you, without nuance. This isn’t just a modern trend, of course, and today we’ll hear an extreme example of a lack of religious nuance from Switzerland’s past. The Catholic-Protestant relationship, and the murder of Joerg Jenatsch..in this episode of Faith Full.
Continue reading “5: Zealot’s Axe | The Conversion of Joerg Jenatsch”
If a loved one dies, it’s natural to want to hang on to something to remind you of them—maybe a ring, maybe a favorite book or picture. That’s the same idea, in a very basic way, behind the relics of the saints held in high esteem by many faith traditions. And in Pittsburgh, oddly enough, there is said to be the largest Catholic collection of relics outside of Rome. Join us for a visit to Saint Anthony Chapel in this episode of Faith Full.
Continue reading “4: Of Relics, Saints, and Solace”
“Grief can bring on death, and heartache can sap one’s strength. When a person is carried away…sorrow is over.”
The Book of Sirach contains a lot of wisdom but these lines above on death seem too callous to me.
It’s true, if we let grief consume us it can interrupt the lives we’re still blessed to live. But the funeral isn’t the end of the grieving process.
In many ways that process never ends, it just changes.
And sometimes part of that process involves a grandson’s story about his grandfather.
Continue reading “3.5: A Grandfather’s Faith”
How do we know our faith is really faith? It can be easy for us to say we believe something, but if there’s nothing depending on it, is it a deep-seated truth? C.S. Lewis wrote once that it’s easy to believe a rope is strong if you’re just tying a box. But if your life hung by that rope, your faith in it would be tested to a new level. In this episode, a priest held hostage by Jihadist militants in the Philippines.
Continue reading “3: Facing Terror, Finding Hope”
Your faith tradition may be something you keep private, or may be something you need to share with all you encounter. But sometimes, even for people who have dedicated their lives to a religious order, there can be this delicate balance of following your beliefs…but not alienating others who need emergency help. In this episode, a conversation with a nun battling human trafficking.
Continue reading “2: Sisters Against Slavery”
No matter what your specific beliefs, our world is touched and shaped by faith. Our faith–or lack of faith–influences who we are, how we interact with each other, how we interpret everyday life.
Continue reading “1: Saved at Denny’s + The Part-time Friar”