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On today’s episode of Cathedral Square, Fr. Christopher Smith welcomes 2 people who are truly “world changers.”

John Straw (Executive Director) and Catharine Quinn (Field Program Coordinator) join us to talk about how CONCERN AMERICA helps to transform need into self-sufficiency.

Since their beginning in 1972, Concern America’s vision has been to build health care, clean water, education, and economic opportunity with communities worldwide

Tune in for some powerful stories and reflections!




Originally broadcast on 10/17/20


Rick Howick, OC Catholic Radio host, interviews guests about important Catholic issues in the Diocese of Orange and throughout the world.

Pete Callahan, president along with Patricia Doyle, advisory board member, of Wells of Life shared their love and enthusiasm with listeners for Wells of Life.

Please visit for more information.





Originally broadcast on 7/25/20


PHOENIX (CNS) — As triple-digit temperatures hit the desert Southwest, charities are working overtime to keep homeless and vulnerable people safe.

“This is our winter,” said Shannon Clancy, chief philanthropy officer for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Phoenix. “Out West when the heat turns up, the need actually increases.”

So far in June, the Catholic society has opened its dining centers for heat relief and emergency overnight shelter. The homeless and those without proper home cooling can rest and get water and snacks.

Charone and Lisa Williams took cover in the society’s expansive downtown dining room June 4. An excessive heat warning was issued and the temperature rose to a record 115 degrees that day.

Charone takes medication that can make him nauseated and dizzy if he’s out in the sun.

“We’re lucky to find a place like this,” he said.

The couple has been homeless since March, bouncing between a friend’s home and shelters. They have a Section 8 housing voucher but can’t find an available apartment. They said they felt “stuck” and weren’t sure what they would do next.

That day, in the kitchen’s walk-in cooler, dining room coordinator Theresa Jones was stacking heavy cases of bottled water.

“As long as (water) keeps coming in, we’ll be handing it out,” she said.

“I used to stay out here on the street,” Jones told Catholic News Service. “At the time, they didn’t have heat relief for the homeless. We had to stay outside in the heat and hope somebody would come by with water and food and ask if we were all right.”

Jones is no longer homeless, but she recalls trying to sleep in the brutal heat.

“You don’t want to even move. You’re baking, you feel like your whole body will melt. I use to put cardboard down just to separate myself from the hot gravel. It helped very little.”

Clancy said charities serving the homeless had a sort of awakening in 2005 when some 30 people died of heat-related illnesses during a particularly bad Phoenix summer.

Now, the society and its network of parishes and donors mobilize water and volunteer drives and help raise awareness of the community’s summertime needs.

“If you’re out in the elements in heat like this, it’s very dangerous,” Clancy said. “Your body temperature continues to rise and you may not be able to cool off. Our heat relief efforts bring people inside and give them a chance to do that.”

The society also dispatches mobile heat relief each weekday. A van filled with water, food, clothing, sunscreen and other resources targets areas where people live in the open.

The homeless are not the only concern of the society. Families already struggling to meet expenses also are hit hard in hotter months.

“We have high utility bills because of the air-conditioning that’s running all summer. We have families with kids out of school, so they may not have access to school food programs, so their food costs go up,” Clancy said. It’s at this time of year that it gets really stressful for families and they just have a hard time making it through the month with their income.”

Cheryl Cameron is a single mother of two who works at a food warehouse as a product verifier making about $10 an hour. Cameron and her children eat dinner at St. Vincent’s family dining room most evenings.

“With what I make, it’s difficult,” she said. “And summer is a lot harder. We come here for dinner because it helps with our food costs.”

Cameron said utility bills for the house she lives in with her sister and children can reach as high as $500 a month in the summer.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul assists families in several ways: With daily meals — more than 4,000 are served each day — with food boxes, with vouchers for utility payments and with other housing assistance.

Last year in Phoenix, the society delivered $3.5 million in direct aid for utilities and shelter.

As people leave town for vacations and to escape the heat, summer can create a lull in donations and volunteers, who do the majority of the work for many aid organizations.

“Most of us are looking for volunteers to help out and help support us,” Clancy said.

St. Vincent de Paul and a local TV station teamed up to launch the “Be a Summer Action Hero” campaign encouraging people to hold food and water drives and volunteer or give to the society’s summer relief efforts. It also educates about the hot weather and what it means for vulnerable families and individuals.

Clancy said Pope Francis’ focus on mercy and his call to engage in the Year of Mercy is the perfect opportunity for people to help others.

“As Catholics we are always looking for ways that we can engage with people,” Clancy said. “It’s not so much just handing people food or delivering a food box. It’s really offering in that one-to-one service the opportunity for both people to be transformed.”


VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Jesus’ first miracle of changing water into wine expresses his invitation to share in the joy of the new covenant and reminds people to do as he commands, Pope Francis said.

The miracle also shows how he transformed the law of Moses — represented by water destined for ritual purification — into the joy of the Gospel, which is represented by wine, he said.

“A feast needs to have wine” as an integral part of shared celebration, the pope said June 8 during his weekly general audience.

“Imagine ending a wedding reception drinking tea! It would be embarrassing,” he said, as a way to emphasize why Mary was so worried when the wine was running out at the wedding in Cana.

“Water is needed for life, but wine expresses the abundance of a banquet and the joy of a feast,” he said.

After a series of audience talks dedicated to selected parables in the Gospel, the pope said the day’s catechesis would look at the first of Jesus’ miracles.

“The wedding at Cana is much more than a simple account of Jesus’ first miracle,” the pope told those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

The story sheds the first light on the “whole mystery of Christ” — who he really is and why he came — as well as helping open “the hearts of the disciples to the faith,” he said.

The miracles, or what John the Evangelist calls “signs,” were never meant to astonish people, but to “reveal the father’s love,” the pope said.

Jesus performing his first miracle at the wedding feast in Cana is greatly significant, the pope said. “Jesus manifests himself as the bridegroom of the people of God” and reveals the nature and depth of this relationship: “It is a new covenant of love.”

“It’s like the story of two people in love,” he said. God and humanity seek each other out, they meet, they celebrate and they love each other.

“The church is Jesus’ family into which he pours his love. It is this love that the church safeguards and wants to offer everyone.” Living a Christian life is the response to God’s love, he added.

Those Jesus calls to follow him are united to him as a community, as a family, Pope Francis said, and they are all invited to a feast.

The miracle, he said, also requires the servants to do exactly as Jesus tells them.

In fact, the pope said, the last words the Gospel writers attribute to Mary are, “Do whatever he tells you,” leaving her command as a kind of legacy she hands down to all of humanity for all time.

At the feast, he said, Jesus stipulates a whole new covenant for “the servants of the Lord,” that is, for the church, and a new mission: “Do whatever he tells you.”

“Serving the Lord means listening to and putting into practice his word,” the pope said; it is the guide for a Christian life.

“In Cana, Jesus’ disciples become his family and the faith of the church is born. All of us are invited to that wedding feast so that the new wine will no longer run short.”

Before beginning his catechesis, the pope honored a group of couples in St. Peter’s Square who were celebrating 50 years of marriage. “Now that is the good wine” for families, he said.

He thanked the couples for their “beautiful witness,” which, he said, was something newlyweds and young people today “must learn.”