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Welcome to another episode of Orange County Catholic Radio, featuring host Rick Howick.

On this week’s show, Rick welcomes Dr. Erin Barisano back to the program. Dr. Barisano is the Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Orange.

Our topic of discussion today will center on the state of Catholic education in Orange County. How are things looking as we embark on the 2021-2022 school year?

Listen in, and be encouraged!




Originally broadcast on 9/11/21


Host Rick Howick interviews guests on a variety of topics.

Our guest today is someone who has been on the frontlines in helping people during these times of the coronavirus pandemic. Her name is Jennifer Dagarag. She is a registered nurse serving the diocese at her parish in Cypress, St.

Irenaeus. Jennifer is seeing firsthand how parishioners’ mental health is being affected by the pandemic.

She shares stories of both heartbreak and triumph. Join us for this important discussion!





Originally broadcast on 2/13/21


These are indeed troubling times. With all the quarantines, lockdowns and civil unrest, many of us find ourselves on stress overload! Deacon Steve Greco welcomes a guest today who will certainly help us to navigate through it all.

Her name is Michelle Woodward; and, she is a LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist) and a committed Catholic.

Be sure to listen and SHARE!




Originally broadcast on 8/2/2020


Today’s edition of OC Catholic Radio is all about ‘restorative justice.’  Joining host Rick Howick in-studio is a gentleman named Fred LaPuzza. Fred is the Director of the Office of Restorative Justice/Detention Ministry for the Diocese of Orange (otherwise known as RJ/DM).

Among other things, the restorative justice ministry targets those who are incarcerated in our jail systems in Orange County. RJ/DM provides 140 scheduled religious services each week in three languages, along with other pastoral-care activities such as one-on-one visits and confessions. The ministry also helps to bring awareness about their work to local parishes and the community as a whole, and advocates for laws that are in line with Catholic Social Teaching and the Gospel.

Be sure to share this powerful podcast!




Originally broadcast on 6/6/20


Get ready for another healthy dose of inspiration on today’s podcast. Host Rick Howick was honored and fascinated by the testimony of our own Bishop Thanh Thai Nguyen on the show today, and you will be too! The newest Auxiliary Bishop appointed to the Diocese of Orange, here today to share the harrowing story of his escape from Vietnam and his eventual road to the priesthood.

In this Easter season, he gave us an “alleluia” story from which we can all draw inspiration and strength on our faith walk. Thank you, Bishop Nguyen, for giving us hope in this time of pandemic.



Originally broadcast on 5/16/20


While Orange County Catholic schools remain in a distance-learning format for the remainder of this school year due to the coronavirus pandemic, students, families and staff at various school sites have continued to put serving their communities at the forefront. 

At St. Justin Martyr School students stepped up to make thank you cards for essential workers in the community. Inspired by TK teacher Elva Pelayo, whose husband is a doctor, and Kindergarten teacher Kelsey Aguilera, whose husband is a police officer, TK through eighth graders got to work on their handmade expressions of thanks for those who continue to put their lives on the frontlines. 

Once completed, the cards were delivered to a number of grateful recipients at LAPD Central Division and Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center. The project was so well received by the students and families that Aguilera believes there will be a second round of card making in the school’s near future for grocery clerks and other essential workers. 

“I think it’s really important for [the students] to know all the people that are sacrificing their time and their lives for us,” says Aguilera. “This was our way of donating.” 

Each year, third graders at St. Cecilia School learn about Catholic service and stewardship through a fundraising project and field trip to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC). But with the Laguna Beach facility currently closed to the public, Angela Goodwin and her third-grade class needed to switch gears. 

In lieu of garage sales and lemonade stands that would otherwise be used to raise funds for the center, Goodwin’s class is coordinating alternate fundraising efforts, including online donations, to maintain their commitment to the rescue and rehabilitation services that PMMC provides for local marine mammals. 

And instead of seeing the center’s seals and sea lions in person this year, PMMC is offering a virtual “Stewards of the Sea” field trip for the school’s third graders. Goodwin knows that even in the disappointment of not being able to visit PMMC, finding ways to continue to serve in the midst of crisis is a life lesson well learned for her students. 

“I think it’s important to show that while things might be different right now, and they aren’t going the way we were expecting, we can still do things to really help out our environment and the world around us,” says Goodwin, “even though it might look different than we originally planned.” 

Christ Cathedral Academy Interim Principal, Ashley-Rose Cameron did not need to put out a call-to-action in order to see service come to life in the school’s community. 

Mr. Kwang, the school’s Director of Marketing and Enrollment, served at the Catholic Charities Food Bank in Santa Ana distributing groceries to local families in need. Additionally, CCA families joined school secretary Julia Nguyen in sewing more than 1,000 masks for essential workers in support of Sister Thu Hong’s cause. The school also donated wipes to local homeless shelters, and students created videos and cards of thanks for essential workers. 

Having only served in the interim principal role for a few months, Cameron was touched by the selfless acts of the school community that came without prompting. 

“To see everyone come together on their own during a time that has been difficult for our school, but also globally, has been a beacon of hope and inspiration for all of us,” says Cameron. “Knowing people stepped up on their own for the greater good is just another testament to our family community.”


When we began producing the OC Catholic Radio Show in early 2015, many referred to this program as ‘The Bishop’s Hour.’ In other words, this broadcast would always be the vehicle where he could get the word out to the faithful, via the radio (and now podcast) airwaves.

On today’s show, host Rick Howick has the opportunity to catch up with our very own Bishop Kevin Vann. What is on his mind and heart during these days of the COVID-19 pandemic? Tune in and find out!





Originally broadcast on 5/2/20


Today’s podcast is a truly unique edition of Empowered by the Spirit, as sound engineer/producer Jim Governale turns the tables on Deacon Steve and Mary Anne Greco.

Due to all the complications with the quarantine and COVID-19, today’s interview was conducted over the phone, rather than in the studio.

So what exactly have the Greco’s been up to during this ‘downtime?’ Like many, they’ve been embracing technology to spread the Good News like never before!

Listen in.. and you’ll surely glean some tremendous ideas, insights and encouragement from Deacon Steve and his wife Mary Anne!







Originally broadcast on 4/26/2020


I was video chatting with my childhood friend yesterday. We haven’t talked in almost a year and we were organizing a virtual happy hour with our high school friends. 

Why hadn’t we thought about doing this before? I told my friend we had to organize this now because I have sage advice to give about my friends’ futures. 

 Right now, living in Italy means living at least one week and five hours ahead of people in the United States. (Central European Time is five hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time.) 

 March 23 marked the beginning of the third week of my family’s self-isolation at home in line with the Italian government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.   

 As an American living across the ocean from my family back home, I am well-versed in how to keep up a virtual social life, and with two small children, it is rare that I get out to enjoy Rome’s wonderful restaurant and night scene. 

 That has helped make this massive transition less overwhelming, but it does not make what is happening OK. 

 What is happening feels dystopian. Rome feels like August when the city empties out and everyone goes on vacation, but right now no one in the world is on vacation. 

 Rome is silent, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and there are bees on the flowers on my balcony, but our hearts are not calm. 

 In the beginning, when the situation was rapidly changing, we would refresh the news almost every minute, feverishly trying to understand what was happening. Friends, family, colleagues and parents were texting constantly, our eyes barely left our phones. How were we going to make this work? Are we overreacting? Are we doing enough? Are we safe? 

 Living one week and five hours ahead of those I love in America, I am sounding the alarms. This is real. Please take it seriously. Don’t panic but be smart. Wash your hands. Be safe. Ask for help. Help others. 

 Italy is entering its third week of mandatory home isolation with only essential stores open throughout the country. We are blessed to be able to telework with small kids underfoot. We plan virtual playdates and birthday parties, dance and discipline, bake (homemade pizza and pasta) and wait in line for the grocery store, massage cracked dry hands, wear gloves and masks, and keep our distances, watch things break (currently our kitchen sink) and fix things. 

 At times we are afraid and tell macabre jokes. We pray and wish on stars, cry and regroup. We put down our phones for a mental break and try not to obsessively check the news, only to hit refresh one more time. We have two weeks of successfully making it work because what else are you going to do? You figure this out one day at a time. 

 The world is stopping, trying to save our most vulnerable. Your plans are canceled. Our grandparents, cancer survivors, the immunocompromised and now our front-line responders are getting sick and dying. Our doctors and nurses, pharmacy, grocery store and delivery workers are at the front lines of this fight desperately trying to save lives and keep our society from collapsing. 

 What can we do? How can we help? For most of us who do not provide essential services, the answer is: STAY HOME. 

 Are we overreacting? Are we doing enough? Are we safe? I don’t know. 

 I do know, however, that I am being blessed with the privilege of time: Time to watch my kids grow and play. Time to check in with family. Time to help my neighbors. Time to flatten the curve. The whole world needs time. 

 My friends and I are finally organizing a virtual happy hour because, for once, our busy schedules have been abruptly cleared. We realized that this precious time is important to share with those we love. 


VATICAN CITY (CNS) As Italy entered its second week of lockdown, Pope Francis urged Christians to remember the elderly who are suffering not only loneliness but also fear due to the spread of the coronavirus.  

“Today, I would like us to pray for the elderly who are suffering now in a particular way, with great interior solitude and sometimes great fear. Let us pray that the Lord would be close to our grandfathers and grandmothers — to all the elderly — and give them strength,” the pope said March 17 during a live broadcast of his morning Mass. 

According to a March 13 report by the Italian National Institute of Health, the median age of men and women who have died from COVID-19 is 80. As of March 16, the Italian health ministry reported that over 2,150 people have died from the virus. 

The elderly “gave us wisdom, life, history — let us also be near them in prayer,” Pope Francis said at the beginning of his Mass. 

In his homily, the pope reflected on the day’s Gospel reading from St. Matthew, in which Peter asks Jesus how often must one forgive if “if my brother sins against me.” 

“I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times,” Jesus replied. 

The pope said that forgiveness never comes easy because “our self-centered hearts are always attached to hatred, revenge, resentment.” 

“We’ve all seen families destroyed by hatred that is passed down from one generation to the next. Brothers and sisters, who in front of a parent’s coffin, don’t even greet each other because they’re carrying past resentments,” he said. “It seems that attachment to hatred is stronger than attachment to love and this is precisely — we may say — the devil’s treasure.” 

However, the pope continued, God does not condemn, but forgives and is “able to throw a feast for a sinner who draws near to him and he forgets everything.” 

“When God forgives us, he forgets all the evil we have done. Someone has said it is God’s sickness. He doesn’t have a memory. He can lose his memory in these cases. God loses his memory regarding the ugly story of so many sinners, of our sins,” Pope Francis said. 

“He only asks us to do the same, to learn how to forgive,” he said.