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Deacon Steve Greco is a permanent deacon of the Diocese of Orange, California. He is the founder of Spirit Filled Hearts Ministry, which engages in evangelization and support of the foreign missions. His guests for today’s podcast are a dynamic married couple named Ken and Laurie Shepardson. They have been married close to 30 years, all the while raising 11 children! Our topic today is all about raising a Catholic family in this modern world.




Originally broadcast on 4/3/22


Our studio was rather full the day we recorded this particular show (it was just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit). The Yep family joins Deacon Steve Greco for today’s podcast installment. Thomas and Christina Yep will be speaking about family life and raising their 4 young children. They’ll also talk about an organization they founded called ‘House of Royals.’






Originally broadcast on 5/24/2020


On today’s episode, Deacon Steve brings his wife Mary Anne back into the studio, along with dear friend and ministry associate, Michael Aimola, to share from their hearts about ‘Catholic Marriage and Family.’ Deacon Steve gives talks all over southern California (and even worldwide) and he is quick to say that the issues regarding family life are the ones that are brought up by audiences more than any other.

As the saying goes, the struggle is real. Tune in!






Originally broadcast on 2/25/18


Tired and sensitive pregnant mothers and new parents beware.

“Then Comes Baby: The Catholic Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the First Three Years of Parenthood” is no exception to the lot within the genre of parenting books. There will be a few points of contention amid the advice that Greg and Lisa Popcak extoll. And if you are the type of parent who has to work outside the home shortly after having the baby, cannot nurse the baby and prefers for said baby to sleep in a crib rather than in your own bed, parts of this book might irk you.

But if you are the type of parent who is open to different points of view on parenting (or can skip right past them) and are looking for a perspective that is inspired by Catholic ideas, then this book will provide helpful insight into how to raise a happy baby as happy parents.

Greg Popcak is an author, radio and TV show host, and professor of sociology and graduate theology. He and his wife are directors of the Pastoral Solutions Institute, which integrates Catholic teaching with counseling psychology. In addition to co-hosting shows with her husband, Lisa is also an author, speaker, family-life coach and lactation consultant. Their professional and personal lives help shape the book with a mix of personal anecdotal experience and research-based parenting suggestions.

Generally speaking, parenting books fall into two camps: Baby’s happiness at the initial expense of Mom and Dad’s happiness or Mom and Dad’s happiness at the initial expense of Baby’s. But this book, according to the authors, is based on the principle of the common good: “Those that have the least ability to meet their own needs … have the right to have their needs met first.” So Mom and Dad get a chance to take care of themselves and each other, but in due time.

Following from this concept, the authors suggest that parents need to encourage a strong bonding process with “extravagant” affection and attention for the baby, which includes nursing on demand, co-sleeping and not leaving the baby even for an hour or so during the first few months after birth. This is called self-donation, “using everything we have for the good of others.” This is a tall order for many parents, but the results are a joyful and loving family, the authors suggest.

The Popcaks truly revere the role of parenthood and cannot stress its importance enough. They also insist that it is OK to feel challenged but equally OK to feel happy and confident as a parent. Too often parents share horror stories with each other without being proud of proper self-care and keeping it together.

In the book, parents are offered wonderful ideas on how to introduce prayer into a baby’s everyday life and routine, how to pick strong godparents and how to even take a baby to church without totally losing it. Parents also are given suggestions on how to gently and mercifully discipline toddlers with repositioning, redirecting and re-regulating.

These tips and more may be particularly helpful for parents who are seeking constructive, tangible advice on how to raise a baby in a Catholic home. So, if you can get through the touchy stuff that fuels the fire of many a “mommy war,” then go ahead and enjoy this newest addition to Catholic parenting books.

Lordan, a mother of two, has master’s degrees in education and political science and is a former assistant international editor of Catholic News Service.


ST. LOUIS (CNS) — Seventy years ago, a ballplayer from a small-town Catholic family began a Hall of Fame career in major league baseball.

Albert “Red” Schoendienst, 92, also is known for quietly living his faith and serving as a mentor and role model for young players.

The St. Louis Cardinals marked the milestone by honoring the player, manager, coach and now team special assistant before an early season game. The team also launched a season-long campaign encouraging fans to demonstrate their affection for Schoendienst by sharing a video message via social media using the hashtag #LoveRed2.

He called the ceremony a terrific gesture, especially having his grandchildren and great-grandchildren on hand. “Baseball’s been so good to me,” he said. “I don’t know how to express myself to thank them for everything that’s happened to me.”

To the fans, some of whom wore an “I#LoveRed2” button, he said, “I love you, too.”

He was a familiar figure in recent years, donning a uniform for pregame practice at home games and routinely hitting fungoes to infielders.

Schoendienst grew up in Germantown, Illinois, not far from St. Louis. A member of St. Anselm Parish in the St. Louis suburb of Creve Coeur, he was “born Catholic and stayed Catholic.”

He spreads the credit around. “I owe a lot to a lot of people for being around as long as I have — people who take care of me, trainers, doctors and everybody else, on and off the field, including my family,” he said.

Schoendienst told of games when he went hitless or when he had a hand in a loss, “and you come home and there’s your little girl or little boy giving you a big hug, and that’ll take the pressure off you. All in all, 70 years … I don’t remember everything, but it was great to be in a World Series, that’s what you go to spring training for.”

He made his debut in left field April 17, 1945, when the Cardinals played the Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago. He recalls making an error and hitting a triple.

“Yeah, there’s been a lot of ups and downs and there’s a lot of good things that happened to me” as well as a lot “you wish would have gone the other way, but that’s part of the game,” he said.

Baseball was all Schoendienst knew. He recalled his first game as a professional in the minor leagues in Union City, Tennessee, and thinking that it might be his last because he made two errors at a key point. Cardinals General Manager Branch Rickey was on hand and put him at ease, telling him he was a fine ballplayer — he had four hits in four at-bats — and that he would make many more errors before his career was through.

“He made me feel pretty good. I thought I was going back home, but I stayed and I’m still here,” Schoendienst said.

Schoendienst loves to be around young players, seeing how they react on good days and bad. “I’ve talked to a lot of these younger guys on different things. … You lose a tough ballgame and there’s a lot of pressure put on you. … You try to keep the players in as good a mood as possible.”

Dr. Stan London, who was the Cardinals’ team doctor for 11 years, called Schoendienst “a wonderful person and family man. … Unquestionably he was a mentor to players and managers.”

In his second year in the majors, 1946, Schoendienst moved to second base. St. Louis won the World Series over the Boston Red Sox that season. He played 19 years with the Cardinals, Giants, and Braves, and was a 10-time All-Star.

In 1953, Schoendienst put together his finest season when he established career highs with a .342 batting average, 15 home runs and 79 RBI. On the Cardinals’ career lists, he ranks fourth in at-bats (6,841) and pinch hits (54); fifth in games played (1,795); sixth in runs scored (1,025) and hits (1,980); seventh in doubles (352); and eighth in total bases (2,657).

With Milwaukee, Schoendienst helped the team to consecutive pennants in 1957 and 1958.

Seven times he led or tied for the league lead in fielding percentage. In 1950, he handled 320 consecutive chances without an error, and in 1956 he set a National League record with a .9934 fielding percentage at second base, which stood until 1996.

He finished his playing career with a .289 batting average with 2,449 hits in 19 seasons.

Schoendienst served as a coach on the 1964 World Championship team and was named manager when Johnny Keane resigned at the end of the season. He led St. Louis to a World Series victory over the Red Sox in 1967 and another National League pennant in 1968, part of a 12-year tenure as manager. He ranks second in franchise history with 1,041 managerial wins.

The baseball lifer was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989. He was an inaugural member of the Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2014.

An illness prevented Schoendienst from attending the Cardinals’ spring training this year. He bounced back and hopes to keep bouncing back for a while.

“I want to be around for one more World Series,” he said. “I hope it’s this year.”


Kenny is a reporter at the St. Louis Review, newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.