CF161: God’s Country


Podcast: Download In this episode:  Del Lago and the TV headache, Philmont and Lost Pines, Qatar, leaving Christ Our Light, the vacuum cleaner ponytail, Rediscover Catholicism study group, Archdiocesan Youth Conference,  Mailbag:Jim from PA. Contact our comment line at (936) 228-1836 or email us [at] catholicfamilypodcast (dot) com

CF160: Chicken Plucker


Podcast: Download In this episode: the best daddy in the world, chicken plucker, mattie moment, Sweet Brown Cold Pop Escape, CCE field trip, papal lap book, cheap date, mailbag: Chad asks about the recent Boy Scouts of America controversy, Allyson’s book, twaddle

Welcome Back, Easter Catholic

The following is the ‘heart’ of Deacon Tom’s EASTER HOMILY given at his parish in north central Arizona. A bit of it has been modified for the readers at the Catholic Family Podcast site. Dear parishioners … dear folks visiting family members … dear visitors. We wish you a most …

CF159: Mine Is Bigger!


Podcast: Download   In this episode: our own private highway, toddler-friendly advent wreath, Kathryn is confirmed, Christmas play, caroling, mailbag: Bob from Georgia, Dee from Catholic Vitamins, and Sean the Ducktape Guy from Ontario-who? email us [at] or call us at 936-228-1836.    

Recent Articles:

Catholic Survival Shelters

April 29, 2010 Episodes 3 Comments

Do you remember a time not too long ago when some families were building bomb shelters and survival shelters? It was an action many felt called to do during the cold war days. We may have seen many of these people as sort of quirky or strange. They didn’t want to be a part of the uncaring world. There still are firms catering to this survivalist retreat mentality: hardened underground shelters, radiation protection, water purification systems, portable generators, preserved foods, etc. This topic probably has a low level of reader interest — unless you think about the assaults taking place on our traditional American values and our Catholic faith practices.

The battles and attacks I’m thinking about are those which challenge our understandings of marriage as a sacrament between one man and one woman… the battle to deprive us of control over our federal tax dollars such that we must pay to fund abortions and embryonic stem cell research…. the lack of protection and care about the conscience issues of Catholic and Christian health care workers, the more subtle battle against our morals that is happening even in our churches when couples live together without benefit of marriage because of economic or annulment issues. I’m saddened to say that the battleground includes priests (and deacons) afraid to speak out in defense of Church teachings — afraid to upset the flock — afraid to cause letters to ‘the bishop’ or the press.

What I postulate we need are Catholic Survival Shelters — places we can go to survive the tyranny of relativism and indifference. Where can we find these shelters? They are found in strong, vibrant Catholic families!

I don’t mean for this column to be a plug for our podcast found at — but in a show we did some months back — we interviewed the Closs family, Bob and Dar. It turned out to be such a good interview (we have had more feedback on that podcast than any other show) that we divided it into two parts. If you are interested — it was Catholic Vitamin F for Family.

We started the show in the 1960‘s with the marriage of two young ‘kids’ from upper Michigan. Through the course of the interview, we followed them from California to New Mexico to Arizona as they raised a family including 13 (yes, thirteen) children. Wife Darleen said she was ‘pregnant or lactating for 25 years’! Everything the Closses discussed during the interview was about how to concentrate family efforts towards holiness, Catholicism and faith practice. Values and self-worth came about from this family approach. And the thing was — this wasn’t goody two-shoes type talk — this was real and down-to-earth. You could tell that while the Closs family did a lot to live the Gospels in the outside world – they focused inward — creating a sort of survival shelter mentality to help prepare their brood to leave and enter the world.

I’ve spent a little time reviewing the 1994 Letter To Families written by the late, great John Paul II. Here are a few of his thoughts:

-The family is the first and most important way to God through the Church.

-He referred to the family as a ‘living cell’ of mankind. This cell gives special meaning when 2 or more gather to say the words “Our Father….”

-John Paul said that the world needs the indispensable witness of families.

-It is interesting to see the continuing and beautiful teachings of dignity and the Theology of the Body as John Paul talked about the gift of self to others.

-The pope also spoke a repeating theme of responsible fatherhood and motherhood.

I know David and Allyson have invested their time and talents in home schooling and faithful practice of the faith as central components of their own Catholic Survival Shelter. My wife and I were gifted to spend some time with the Sweeney kids — even some time with two of their children away from mom and dad. Having had that experience, one can see evidence of a great hope for holiness and wholeness when the kids take flight from the nest.

I don’t think of myself as a rural survivalist. In fact, I tend to be mostly happy and hope-filled. I like Home Depot shopping and spending time in rural coffee shops. But these times — the laws and movements underway cause me to urge everyone to retreat to their Catholic Survival Shelters. Lock the doors for a while and refresh and renew all inside.


Deacon Tom

CF 130: Stupid Fish


post thumbnail

In this episode: the CF has posted two shows in a row! Mary Jane’s Farm Magazine,  homeschooler’s connections and relationships, idiosyncrasies, good business posture,  table talk, kid career goals – Scare Tactics or Realistic Expectations?  Mailbag:  Tom in MN, Juan in OK, Pat in IN, Christina from Canada on Mark Shea’s Ayn Rand Blog Post.

email us [at] catholicfamilypodcast (dot) com or call the comment line at 206-339-8993.

Post Photo: Stupid Fish

Final Song: Home Cookin: Brick House in Memphis from their album Afrobilly Soul Stew
from Iodapromonet
Afrobilly Soul StewHome Cookin’
“Brick House in Memphis” (mp3)
from “Afrobilly Soul Stew”
(Materiali Sonori)

Buy at iTunes Music Store
Buy at Napster
More On This Album

CF 129.5: Back Catalog Feed


post thumbnail

Just a little note to tell you about our new back-catalog feed. You may have noticed that our subscription feed only goes back to episode 100. Would you like to hear us before I had so much gray hair, before we had teenagers, and when we were young and good looking?  You can download those old shows by subscribing to

If you do decide to check out our old shows, please drop us an email to us (at] catholicfamilypodcast [dot) com or call our podline at 206-339-8993. We’d like to get an idea of how many people find it useful.

CF 129: Weed Flowers


post thumbnail

In this episode: simple flowers,  Simple Fish Soup,   Catholic movies,  NFP Scare, quick confessions, Atlas Shrugged. Final song: Chris Daniels and the Kings: You Don’t Change Horses in the Middle of the Stream

Contact us [at] catholicfamilypodcast [dot] com or call 206-339-8993


April 1, 2010 Deacon Tom No Comments

Catholic Family Column for April 2010 by Deacon Tom Fox

My wife and I have followed the Catholic Family folks, AKA: The Sweeneys for years now. If I remember correctly — David is a convert to the Catholic Faith. And again, if memory serves correctly — Allyson isn’t a convert but was raised in a solid, practicing Catholic family. Converts and reverts to the faith have such a joyous story to tell. Many of them are found on the Marcus Grodi Coming Home program on EWTN television. Other stories are found in books by Scott and Kimberly Hahn, the Surprised by Truth series published by Patrick Madrid – and so many others. I love conversion stories — I encourage you if they aren’t a part of your reading or viewing to give them a try.

The greatest convert is, of course St. Paul. What was he like following his encounter with Christ? Consider his opening words in a letter to the Church in Rome. They show how much this highly educated, chief enemy of the early Church had changed: “I Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus… called to be an apostle… I send greetings to all the beloved of God in Rome, you who are called to be holy. Grace to you, and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Conversion yields such powerful Christians and Catholics. You may be familiar with the Promise Keepers. They got their start in Colorado and they have led a lot of men to a conversion in their lives. And the men’s movement in the Catholic Church is alive and on fire…. throughout the country. There is no denying that these movements call men to conversion to Christ.
And in countless thousands of cases, they lead to profound changes in religious practice, spousal relations, family life and in the workplace.

As I say — I love conversion experiences. Many years ago, EWTN ran several showings of the BBC documentary, SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL FOR GOD. It was the BBC documentary that propelled Mother Teresa to the world stage in 1968. What is most touching and profound to me is that the agnostic journalist who directed this program, Malcolm Muggeridge later credited his conversion to Catholicism to Mother Teresa.

Mother Teresa was no namby-pamby, politically correct nun. She spoke the truth – one example is as follows… Malcolm Muggeridge was walking with Mother Teresa during a break in the filming of this documentary… He said to her, “Mother, I’m sure God needs people in other churches just as much as He needs them in the Catholic Church.” Her immediate reply was, “No He doesn’t.” That ended that paragraph of conversation immediately.

There is another tale of conversion that has often resulted in tears in my eyes. Have you heard the name John Newton? He is the slave trader and reputed alcoholic who turned into an abolitionist preacher… and he wrote the immortal words to Amazing Grace.

Amazing grace… how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found… I was blind, but now I see.” Was blind but now I see… sounds like St. Paul doesn’t it? Perhaps someone in your life… your family… even those of other faiths are converted people who were blind to grace … and who now see.

Amazing Grace was pastor Newton’s personal story of spiritual redemption. An event happened in his life – a near shipwreck off Newfoundland in 1748. He stood in awe of a God who would embrace a slave trader. “Twas grace that taught my heart to fear…. and grace my fears relieved… how precious did that grace appear… the hour I first believed.”

Most interesting about Newton’s words of thanksgiving and praise is that there came to be a religious revival that swept the colonies in the 18th century… plantation owners didn’t so much get involved in the revival – the ones who found religion and Christianity were slaves… thousands of slaves were converted to Christianity. How odd that God should choose a slave trader to participate in new conversions. How odd that blacks would pick up the words and sing the words of God’s loving grace and freedom!

The song Amazing Grace is about being ‘brought low’ and ultimately about victory over sorrow and failings in our lives…

Sometime during this Easter period — or as a preface to a Pentecost conversion for this world — maybe you’d be willing to join me in praying for profound conversion in all our lives… and for rebirth fueled by God’s powerful, loving… Amazing Grace.

Deacon Tom

Support the Catholic Family

David & Allyson ‘s Gadgets and Books

Latest Podcast

CF161: God’s Country


Podcast: Download In this episode:  Del Lago and the TV headache, Philmont and Lost Pines, Qatar, leaving Christ Our Light, the vacuum cleaner ponytail, Rediscover Catholicism study group, Archdiocesan Youth Conference,  Mailbag:Jim from PA. Contact our comment line at (936) 228-1836 or email us [at] catholicfamilypodcast (dot) com

(No Comments)

Subscribe to the Catholic Family