The Family Room

Join co-hosts Mari Cleveland from St. Jude the Apostle and John Gordon and Craig Wesemeyer from St. Peter Chanel as they speak with authors, theologians, and local priests and lay leaders to provide your family encouragement, resources, and hope. Enjoy heartfelt stories and engaging conversations with Catholics who are excited to share their life experiences and acquired wisdom to help your family continue to live out your faith with joy.

Guests: Catholic school parents from Archdiocese of Atlanta


Are you curious about why you should send your children to Catholic school? Listen in as numerous parents share their experiences with a variety of types of Catholic schools. We even get to hear from a recent graduate about how her Catholic school experiences are making a difference in her life during her college journey.

Jan 25, 2023

Craig, John, and Mari share some of their favorite interviews of 2022


Join John, Craig, and Mari as they comment on some of their favorite interviews of 2022. Relive the fun and recall the wisdom of The Family Room guests!

Co-hosts Craig, John, and Mari with surprise guest, The Quest’s producer, Dave Savage


Craig, John, and Mari share intimately about what God did in their lives in 2022 and how He informed how they walk into 2023. Surprise guest, our producer Dave, shares his thoughts as well!

Bob and Karen Botte, parishioners of St. Oliver Plunkett Catholic Church in Snellville, Georgia


Bob and Karen Botte are blessed with four children, six grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. As cradle Catholics raised in loving homes, their own marriage seemed destined for “a lovely magic carpet ride” as Bob describes. Join us as the Bottes share their candid marriage journey and how the practical program “Retrouvaille” has helped them and many other couples rediscover the blessings of marriage and the keys to rebuilding a loving relationship.

Resources

  • The Retrouvaille Program is for married couples facing difficult challenges in their relationship. It’s a Christian marriage program, Catholic in origin, that helps couples of all faiths or no faith background restore their marriage and rebuild a loving relationship. Retrouvaille is primarily a practical program to improve communication, build stronger marriages, and help couples reconnect. Presenters are not trained marriage counselors, but rather couples sharing their personal stories of marital struggles and the tools they used to rediscover their love. For general information about Retrouvaille or additional Retrouvaille events in the United States and internationally, visit www.helpourmarriage.org
  • To contact Bob and Karen Botte, e-mail them at: retrobobandkaren@gmail.com

Evan Lemoine discusses the impact of Saint John Paul II’s Theology of the Body


Evan Lemoine discusses the impact Saint John Paul II’s Theology of the Body had on his life and the lives of those that he and his wife minister to throughout Latin America. During a time when identity, sexuality, and happiness are hot topics, the wisdom and prescient teaching of Saint John Paul II provide clarity and hope.

Resources

Scripture

“Find your delight in the LORD who will give you your heart’s desire.” Psalm 37:4

Evan Lemoine

Evan Lemoine, born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, an expert on John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, was drawn to Mexico in 2004 to discern a possible vocation to the consecrated life. As a missionary there, he began to teach the Theology of the Body full time around the country and throughout the Spanish-speaking world. After 8 years of vocational discernment, he found his call to marriage, and boarded a plane to Philadelphia to continue his formation in the Theology of the Body Institute, and there, in the Philadelphia Airport, met his wife, María Fernanda Gómez Solórzano. Both Evan and his wife shared the calling to dedicate their lives to studying and spreading the Theology of the Body throughout the world, and together founded the Amar al Máximo Institute in 2013.

Evan has been studying the Theology of the Body since 2002, when this deep and transformative teaching on human love and sexuality changed his life forever. He is a graduate in the Masters Program on Marriage and Family in the John Paul II Institute in Mexico City, where he was later a post-grad professor. He is also a graduate from the Theology of the Body Institute in Philadelphia, where he has specialized on the vision and teachings of John Paul II. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Louisiana State University with a Minor in Psychology, and a Masters in Humanities from the Anahuac University in Mexico City. He has worked for the past 14 years working with youth and adults in Mexico and throughout the Spanish-speaking world, having given thousands of conferences and courses in local, regional and national events. He was a keynote speaker for the Spanish track at the past two Theology of the Body Congresses. He has given the Spanish track alongside Christopher West on several occasions with the COR Project. He is presently teaching an online Theology of the Body course in Spanish through the University of Dallas and is the founder and main Speaker of the Theology of the Body Specialization Program in Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico. He has a compelling ability to reach the heart of his audiences and bring the elevated teachings of John Paul II down to Earth and apply them to the daily life of both youth and adults. He is not only bilingual (Spanish and English) but also bi-cultural, thanks to his upbringing in Louisiana and his 14 years living in Mexico.

Jason Evert, apologist, speaker, and author


Jason Evert has spoken to more than one million people about the virtue of chastity. He is a best-selling author of more than ten books, including “Theology of the Body for Teens,” and “How to Find Your Soulmate without Losing Your Soul.” Jason earned a master’s degree in theology, as well as undergraduate degrees in counseling and theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is a frequent guest on radio programs and his television appearances include Fox News, the BBC, MSNBC, and EWTN. Jason and his wife Crystalina live in Denver with their children.

Anna is a clinical social worker in practice since 2006 in the Atlanta area.


She has worked in several different settings including residential mental health, private practice, and substance abuse work. In particular, her clinical experience as a cognitive behavioral therapist with convicted sexual offenders propelled her to pen her debut book, Duck Duck Groom: Understanding How a Child Becomes a Target.

As a clinician, Anna saw firsthand, not only why but more importantly, how families and children are groomed. Grooming, the obligatory process of building trust to earn access to a potential victim, is intentional, gradual, and observable. This revelation was only fully understood after Anna had a family of her own.

As the mother to five children, Anna witnessed her own children in setting after setting where she had to evaluate the potential risks of adults and minors. Her book, Duck Duck Groom, is the manual for parents of young children who want to learn how to protect them from a potential groomer.

Anna Sonoda now provides consultation for individuals, communities, and agencies exploring how to handle grooming proactively in order to interrupt the process and protect our most vulnerable, our children.

Favorite Prayer: St Patrick’s Breastplate (Abbreviated Extracts)

Resources

Questions for Caregivers

In addition to completing a background check, reference checks and follow through, and basic information, such as address, school, phone number, social security number, and date of birth, use the questions below to get you started in your in-person interview of the candidate. You may not need all questions, but directly addressing these topics will strengthen your decision when hiring caregivers.

  • What draws you to work with children?
  • What are your strengths in working with children?
  • What are your biggest challenges when working with children?
  • What situations are most difficult?
  • How do you discipline a misbehaving child?
  • How do you handle your device when in the presence of children?
  • Photo or video taking and sharing?
  • Are children permitted to use or watch along with you on your device?
  • How would you handle a child who shares they are being abused by a family member or friend?
  • How do you handle private spaces for bathing or toileting?
  • What is your expectation when washing, dressing, or toileting my child?
  • How would you handle a child who is touching themselves on their genitals in your presence?
  • What are your thoughts about having guests over while you’re babysitting? Share with me a circumstance where you’ve had to withhold information from a child’s parent?
  • Tell me about any circumstance where you had a secret with a child you cared for?
  • Please describe a time when babysitting did not go well. Why?
  • Looking back, what could you have done to improve the outcome?

Source: Duck Duck Groom: Understanding How a Child Becomes a Target

Dec 14, 2022

Fr. John Bartunek, LC, S.Th.D


Fr. John Bartunek received his BA in History from Stanford University in 1990. He comes from an evangelical Christian background and became a member of the Catholic Church in 1991.

After college he worked as a high school history teacher, drama director, and baseball coach. He then spent a year as a professional actor in Chicago before entering the religious Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ in 1993. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 2003 and earned his doctorate in moral theology in 2010. He has taught moral theology at various ecclesiastical institutions at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

He provided spiritual support on the set of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ while researching the 2005 Catholic best seller, Inside the Passion, the only authorized, behind-the-scenes explanation of the film.

Fr. John has contributed news commentary regarding religious issues on NBC, CNN, Fox, and the BBC. He also served as the English-language press liaison for the Vatican¹s 2005 Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist.

His most widely known books are “The Better Part: A Christ-Centered Resource for Personal Prayer” and “60 Days to Becoming a Missionary Disciple“.

In 2016 he published a series of meditation books delving into the spiritual values behind the natural world: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter Meditations. A compilation of his many online answers to questions about the spiritual life was published in book form called, Answers: Catholic Advice for Your Spiritual Questions. Dynamic Catholic approached him to write a book on prayer in 2017 called, A Quiet Place: How Daily Prayer Can Change Your Life.

His most recent book is Spiritual But Not Religious; The Search for Meaning in a Material World.

He has also written three Regnum Christi Essays: “Sharpening Your Tongue: An RC Essay on Charity in Our Words”, “What Is Regnum Christi? An RC Essay the Statutes of the Regnum Christi Federation and the Rule of Life for Lay Members”, and “Our Formation Pathway: An RC Essay on Integral Formation and the Journey to Christian Maturity.”

His series of Do-It-Yourself online Catholic Retreat Guides are available in multiple formats at RCSpirituality.org.

Fr. John currently resides in Atlanta, where he is serving as a member of the Legionary Territorial Council.


Quoted from: Fr. John Bartunek’s Bio

Join John, Craig and Mari as they get personal while reflecting on Advent and Christmas!

Kathy Powell, a passionate nonprofit and faith-based communications professional


Join us as we speak with Kathy Powell on how to walk through grief with Jesus. Kathy shares her personal story of miscarriage and the healing ways to address grief. Kathy, a big-picture thinker, lives in Roswell, Georgia, with her husband Kent and three children. When not brainstorming up new ways to push Becky out of her comfort zone, Kathy spends her free time reminding her kids to use their inside voices, cooking without recipes, and walking with families who have lost a child due to miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss.

Join Kathy for Praying with Jesus During Advent: Receiving Light in the Darkness a live virtual Evening of Reflection on Thursday, December 1.

If you like the Examen of a Day of Crisis, we invite you to visit the Guided Audio Ignatian Prayer Library (beckyeldredge.com/guided-audio), made possible through the Ignatian Media Lab, a program of the Jesuit Conference of the US & Canada. With over 30 guided audio prayers, including an extended recording of Kathy’s Examen of the Day of Crisis (Beldredge98 – Examen-of-a-day-of-crisis). This is a free resource for your personal prayer and one you can share with others.

More from Kathy & Becky Eldredge, LLC / Ignatian Ministries:

All Embrace, Inc is a local Atlanta organization that serves families who have lost a child due to miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death. Visit https://www.facebook.com/allembrace for more information.

Lisa Wheeler, president of Carmel Communications


Lisa Wheeler talks about living out the Gospel message through foster parenting and adoption.

Resources

  • Springs of Love: Our mission is to encourage, educate, and equip Catholics to discern and live out the call to foster and adopt.
Nov 17, 2022

Lisa Wheeler talks about living out the Gospel message through foster parenting and adoption.

Becky Eldredge, Ignatian-trained spiritual director


Married for nearly 20 years and parents of three children ranging in age from 8 to 15, Becky and Chris Eldredge know the challenges facing families trying to find time to pray and discern God’s will amid busy lives. In this episode, Becky, an Ignatian-trained spiritual director and retreat leader, reflects on her own journey of faith, including how and when a “lived practice” of the Catholic faith became a reality for her.

Prayer is a passion for Becky who inspires us to prayerfully read the Scriptures, the Living Word of God; God’s Word “reads our hearts,” she says. Becky’s eight-year-old daughter, Mary, enjoys leading a simple, family-friendly version of the Ignatian examen prayer. As is the case in our human relationships, spending time together with God in prayer is how we grow in love.

After many years of leading others closer to God as a spiritual director, Becky assures us that wherever we are in our prayer life, “God’s got more for us.” Discerning how God is moving in our lives helps us see that God cares about every facet of our lives, not just our spiritual lives.

Resources

Key Scripture

  • Prayerfully read: Psalm 46

  • Luke 11: 1, “He was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”

Heather Triggs of the DeSales Secular Institute


There is a sense that all Christians are called to consecrate every aspect of their lives (family, work, leisure) to Christ and be conduits of grace, love, and mercy in a world both fallen and redeemed. Heather Triggs, a consecrated woman of the DeSales Secular Institute, gives testimony to the providential love and care of God the Father in her life, as she has come to discern, over a number of years, this vocation to “be the leaven in the world for Jesus.” (See the DeSales Secular Institute in the resources.)

Steeped in the wisdom and spirituality of St. Francis de Sales, these consecrated women share a rule of life and vows (poverty, chastity, obedience), and they live in the world. They live the consecrated life espoused to Christ Jesus, bringing His salvation and compassion into daily life. The mission of the Church is evangelization, and this vocation beautifully fulfills the Church’s mission!

Resources

Key Scripture

  • Mt 17:4: “Lord, it is good that we are here.”

  • Jn 1:3: “All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be.”

Randy Hain, business consultant and coach


Randy Hain has us on the edge of our seats sharing his journey into the Catholic Church. The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist comes to life in Randy’s story. God, family, and work (and in that order!) are sources of grace and wisdom for this husband, father, successful businessman, and author of eight books. Randy and Sandra Hain have two sons, Alex and Ryan. Randy gives us a glimpse into his son’s being diagnosed with autism, inspiration from his wife to convert, and practical ideas for daily and family prayer.

Resources

Key Scripture

  • John 6:51: “I am the living bread that comes down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
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