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Each week, we bring you compelling conversation with church leaders and laity. Today, host Rick Howick welcomes back one of our favorite guests, Daryl Sequeira. Daryl is the former head of the theology department at Servite High School in Anaheim. He currently serves in Catholic education in the state of Arizona, where he resides with his family.

Today’s episode will be a discussion on where we are as a society in 2022. There are so many things going on in our culture today; and, a lot of these trends seem to be running contrary to Catholic faith and belief. On this podcast, Rick and Daryl provide us with a very thoughtful discussion on many of the issues that families are dealing with today.

Be sure to share this podcast!







Originally broadcast on 8/13/22


On today’s broadcast, host Rick Howick visits with a local Catholic businessman who has worn many hats in his colorful career. As he’s grown in his faith over time, he has now transferred that life experience into helping others on their journey. Listen in on this fascinating conversation on finding one’s true purpose in life; and, how we can truly ‘finish well.’






Originally broadcast on 4/30/22


Trish Novobilski has been a religious education instructor for more than 30 years, yet children still surprise and delight her with their innocence and understanding of God. 

“It’s an amazing experience to allow a child to express how they see God in the world,” says Novobilski, a Mission Viejo resident and longtime faith formation instructor at San Francisco Solano Church in Rancho Santa Margarita.  

As one of the hundreds of faith formation instructors and catechists who volunteer to teach religious education courses for children at the Diocese of Orange’s many parishes, she notes that “in a world that has so much negativity, it’s good to see the positive things that are going on with our kids.” 

Jennie Fice, Solano’s elementary and sacramental preparation coordinator, says faith formation in their parish begins with toddlers and continues through high school. Each child has a Bible and learns how to use it, and children reflect upon Scripture every week. 

“Above all else, our program is designed to make sure the children learn that they are loved,” Fice says. “They learn that God loves them to an extent beyond their comprehension, and they develop a deep personal relationship with Jesus.”  

Like Solano, Saint Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Huntington Beach uses the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd format for its faith formation classes. Rose Antognoli, the parish’s faith formation director, notes that the program uses Montessori teaching methods to teach children about Jesus and the Catholic faith. 

“These days children and parents are really busy,” Antognoli observes. “We strive to create a sense of stillness allowing children to listen, time to reflect and absorb. Even the youngest children have the capacity to learn – and the Holy Spirit is the best teacher.” 

In addition to worship, classes include games and activities for each age and discussions about different topics related to weekly Scripture, feast days, or lives of the saints. 

Both parishes recruit catechists who express interest in sharing their Catholic faith. The best faith formation instructors have a strong religious and spiritual foundation, a deep prayer life, and enthusiasm for sharing their faith with others. Strong listening and observation skills are important, leaders say, because lessons are tailored to each child’s learning style. 

“Our best teachers are able to pray with the children, to help them understand the faith, and to have great patience,” Antognoli says. Each volunteer instructor goes through specialized catechesis training before being assigned to a particular grade level. “We’re blessed to have a lot of teachers who have the heart for this work.” 

Faith formation teachers don’t necessarily have to be the most pious people, agrees Fice, “but they need to have a love of the Lord. They also need to love children and be able to make their faith come alive for kids. The most important thing is that they have a heart for this. You can’t train people for that – it must be part of who you are as a person.” 

In addition to their enjoyment of children, adds Amy Franklin, Solano’s director of faith formation, teachers must be welcoming and passionate about their faith, easy to approach, and open. 

“They cannot be intimidated,” Franklin notes. “Leaders are never really alone in the classroom, because we provide the support and materials, as well as ongoing learning and training based on the needs of their specific classroom.” It’s a team approach, she adds. “We’re constantly reevaluating and checking in to see what’s working. 

“We try to design every session to make sure every child’s learning style is met,” she adds. “We start each class with age-appropriate worship and then move on to the class setting. It’s a well-rounded process for students to feel they belong and are loved.” 

While teachers receive an outline and learning objectives, they are encouraged to personalize their lessons. And, Fice and Franklin say, it’s also important for faith formation teachers to be open to learning from the children. 

In addition to children’s faith formation classes, adult courses are available as well.  

Parents support faith formation by reinforcing each week’s lesson. “They can ask their kids about what they learned, and pray with them,” Novobilski says. “Children learn more from our behavior than from what we say. 

“Children have so much to give,” she notes. “Today’s lesson might be something like, ‘What did you do today to put a smile on Jesus’s face?’ And they will share things like, ‘I know my sister is having a hard time reading, so I’m trying to help her.’ 

“They may say, ‘I know my Mom and Dad work hard all day, so I clean up my room and do my chores, so they don’t have to nag me,’” she adds.  

“They’re making a difference and they’re making the right choices.”


Teaching children that the world doesn’t revolve around them is challenging at any time of year, but at Christmas it’s particularly tough.  

Yet the holidays most dramatically show our kids the stark difference between the bounty we’ve been blessed with verses the predicament of those less fortunate. 

Christmas, then, is the perfect time to give generously of our ‘time, talent, and treasures’ and, at the same time, teach our kids the essential values of caring and generosity. 


Giving to the society of St. Vincent de Paul 

“Giving at Christmas is important to show kids that it’s not just ‘all about me,’” says Brigid Noonan, president of the Orange County Council of the St. Vincent de Paul Society and a member of Holy Family Cathedral parish.  

“There’s a whole lot of need out there,” Noonan continues, “and the need is more pronounced this time of year.” The society needs grocery store gift cards, bus passes, money for families who need to pay rent and utility bills, and assistance in packing and delivering groceries to the needy.  

With 25 St. Vincent de Paul conferences in the Diocese of Orange, Noonan says, the organization depends on gifts from parishioners at more than 60 parishes. “There are many ways you can help,” she notes, “and families should consider doing so on some kind of regular basis.” 

“I’ve been president of the conference at Holy Family since 2015 and involved in St. Vincent de Paul since 2013, and I’m seeing fewer families calling in for assistance and many more seniors asking for help,” she observes. 

To donate money or time to St. Vincent de Paul, contact your parish or call the Orange County office at 714-542-0448. 


Donations to OC’s Catholic Schools. 

Anytime of year is the right time to give to Orange County’s Catholic Schools, says Debbie Loughran, the Diocese of Orange’s assistant superintendent for Catholic school development. “But this time of year, people are making a lot of choices about where to donate at year’s end,” notes Loughran, a member of St. Norbert’s Church in Orange. 

“Choosing to support the Catholic schools in any way is transformational in someone’s life, in our community, and in our society,” she adds. In addition to outright cash gifts, certain schools need unused, new items as varied as tricycles and sports equipment or classroom equipment.  

“Catholic education has been transformational in my life and it’s just imperative for me to be part of the process to make our schools part of the diocese’s priorities,” she says. 

Dr. Brad Snyder, director of Educational Programs, notes that parents teaching their children about outreach to the needy can choose to give in creative ways, such as sponsoring a school’s sports team or paying a child’s annual $75 sports fee.  

“Something as simple as paying that fee is really powerful thing,” Snyder says.  “You’re not helping just a poor kid but you’re also helping the entire Catholic community as these kids experience what it’s like to be part of a team.” 

Families also may pay $150 so that a needy child in one of three low-income Santa Ana parishes – St. Joseph’s, St. Anne’s and the School of Our Lady – can learn to play a musical instrument in the Marian Alliance band.  

Interested in contributing to OC Catholic Schools? Call the Office of the Superintendent at 714-282-3056 or visit 


Gifts for Catholic Charities 

Teresa Tita Smith, executive director of Catholic Charities of Orange County, agrees that it’s important for Catholic families to be generous at the holidays.  “We try to foster a culture of sharing God’s love and the first place we can do that is in our family,” Smith notes.  

“Giving back is an extension of our faith and also teaches our children the human qualities of generosity and unity. We are so blessed to have multigenerational families celebrating together and some of us are even blessed with a fourth generation.”  

“Those of us who have something tangible to share at this time of year must take the opportunity to do so in ways that respect the dignity of our brothers and sisters, while carrying out the gospel message to love one another.”  

Catholic Charities offers an Adopt-a-Family program through which families can choose to sponsor an entire family or a single-family member, Smith notes. In addition, the organization provides 750 bags of groceries each week at its Cantlay Center food bank. “We always can use groceries,” she says. “It’s holiday time, so it’s a good time for cocoa, packaged cookies, cranberry sauce – all of the holiday-type foods.”  

Coming up is an opportunity for families to donate time, toys, and cash. The organization’s annual Three Kings Day takes place Jan. 3 and will offer hundreds of toys – provided by private donors, police and fire departments, and others – to needy kids. In addition to toys, Catholic Charities needs children’s books, art supplies, warm socks and caps, and other accessories useful in colder weather. 

“It seems to me the season of Jesus’s birth provides us with a natural time to model to our children that sharing is part of the business of life,” Smith adds. 

To give to Catholic Charities, call 714-347-9600. Donations can be dropped off at the office at 1820 E. 16th St., Santa Ana. Food donations can be left at the Cantlay Center, 2020 W. Chestnut St., Santa Ana. 


Giving thanks through the Knights of Columbus 

Knights of Columbus, an organization of Catholic men with 50 councils and 7,000 members throughout Orange County, offers a number of opportunities to give at the holidays and beyond, says Ronn Knowles, the county chapter past president, who belongs to St. Mary by the Sea parish in Huntington Beach. “We promote keeping Christ in Christmas, and this time of year we encourage families to be more spiritual and more generous,” Knowles says. “Donating at Christmastime is a big help to organizations like ours.” 

Among other efforts, the Knights have a Coats for Kids program, a Wheelchairs for Veterans program, and gave $260,000 last year to help kids and adults with disabilities, he notes.  

“Just as Catholic parents show their children that attending Sunday Mass is a priority, they can influence their children by doing the right thing,” he adds, such as giving to Catholic charities such as the Knights. 

Families are invited to give cash donations to their parish Knights council, or for more information: 


Supporting your parish 

Mike McLean, business manager at Holy Family Parish, and his wife Kathi taught their three children the importance of offering regularly scheduled gifts to their parish. 

“It instills in the children the idea that you can’t continually take, take, and take,” McLean explains. “Our kids saw us help around the parish, not just at Christmas but all year, and knew that we gave additional support to the Church so that it could carry on the ministries the parish offers,” such as first holy communion, confirmation, RCIA and other outreach activities. 

To give to your parish, call the office, fill out a giving envelope, or see the volunteers at your church’s hospitality ministry.


It feels good to give to others. And as Catholic parents, we are committed to teach our children the habits, joys, and responsibilities of giving – at the holidays and beyond. 

Author Mary-Jo McLaughlin cites research from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute that shows if an adult or parent donates or does volunteer work and talks with their child about why they do so, children are more likely to follow their example.  

“This encourages an attitude of generous giving rather than giving out of a sense of guilt or manipulation,” explains McLaughlin, writing in “Four County Catholic,” published by St. Pius X Catholic Church in Granger, Indiana. “It teaches children empathy, compassion and care for others while instilling in them greater gratitude for what they have.” 

Indeed, this research “provides a clear, effective path for parents who want to encourage their children to be generous and caring,” said Debra J. Mesch, Ph.D., director of the institute, which is part of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “Talking to children about charity is effective across all types of U.S. households, pointing the way to raising future philanthropists.” 


Five ways to make giving a habit 

The “Four County Catholic” article lists key ways parents can teach kids to give. 

  1. Help children see that God has given them many blessings. 
  2. Teach children to be grateful to God for the blessings He has given us.
  3. Show children how stewardship has built our Church.
  4. Help children to recognize that stewardship is something we do all the time. 
  5. Help children identify the joy that comes from stewardship.

Still, it can be difficult to be generous – and to ensure our kids are paying attention as we do so – particularly as we battle busy schedules made even more challenging with the added stress of the season. 


Putting generosity into practice 

  • If generosity begins at home, then the best way to begin is to frequently compliment our children on their unique gifts. Their dimples, for example, are God’s gift and they must share them with others.
  • Continuous thankfulness becomes a happy habit. Identifying together the things we’ve been given and thanking God for them generates positive conversations at the dinner table or bedtime.
  • I can’t drive to the market in my neighborhood without spotting at least one homeless person. These sightings are the perfect opportunity to discuss the poor and needy with our children. You can even go a step further: Visit the dollar store, fill a small plastic bag with hygiene products, and give them to the homeless people who cross your path.
  • Giving to the Church on Sunday helps support our parishes and parish schools. Kids can see firsthand the ensuing benefits they enjoy each day. Discussing how to distinguish our ‘wants’ from our ‘needs’ helps focus attention on the amount we spend.


Underscoring the importance of giving 

As noted in the Indiana University study, the most critical way we influence our children’s giving habits is by sharing our own good feelings about helping and giving. 

When we stop to throw a loose dollar bill into the Salvation Army red bucket or the Sunday offering basket, we put giving into practice – and can immediately share the warm, satisfying feeling we experience as we give.