Friday, October 28, 2016

Marcus, congratulations on 20 years of excellent and super beneficial broadcasting. You’ve become a household name and your shows have helped millions of people. You are a great friend and have my admiration, love and congratulations.

Marcus writes,

I never dreamed this would happen — and I don’t think Mother Angelica did either — but this fall we begin the 20th Season of EWTN’s The Journey Home program! I don’t have the exact number, but I would estimate that I’ve had the great privilege of interviewing close to 900 converts and reverts since that first interview with Dr. Thomas Howard in September 1997. Though The Journey Home is an EWTN program, it has always — and in some ways unintentionally — had a direct relationship with the Coming Home Network International.

Back in the spring of 1993, the “Network” began as a simple newsletter that connected non-Catholic clergy who were on the journey with clergy converts. Three years later, June 1, 1996, was the official start of the now non-profit lay apostolate, with the new name, the Coming Home Network International. I had resigned from Franciscan University of Steubenville specifically to focus full-time on managing the escalating membership of inquirers, converts, reverts, and life-long Catholic supporters.

In July of 1996, I was invited to appear on Johnnette Benkovic’s program, The Abundant Life, to talk about the work of the CHNetwork. Dr. Scott Hahn, Jeff Cavins, and Dr. Kenneth Howell appeared with me, and during the taping, the producer for Mother Angelica’s Live program, heard our conversion accounts, and invited Ken and me to come back and do the same on Mother’s program. It was after this appearance in December, 1996, that Mother Angelica and Executive Producer Doug Keck invited me to host a new, weekly live program in which I would interview converts and reverts to the Catholic Church. The program began with Dr. Howard’s interview, and now nineteen years later, the Holy Spirit continues to provide inspiring men and women to tell their stories about how they “came home” to the Church.

Screen-Shot-2014-10-14-at-2.18.08-PM Marcus Grodi Journey HomeFor the first twelve years of the live program, I flew every week from Columbus, Ohio, through either Cincinnati or Atlanta, and on to Birmingham, Alabama. There, first on Friday nights and then on Mondays, I would meet briefly with each new guest and then help them tell their stories on live television and field questions via telephone or email.

After a night’s sleep, I would grab a plane home in the morning to return to my family, to my work with the CHNetwork, and sometimes to chores on the farm. Though the program has always been EWTN’sprogram, from the beginning the majority of guests have been members of the CHNetwork. And from the beginning of the broadcast, the membership of the CHNetwork has grown as a direct result of the program.

coming-home-network-4Then starting in 2009, through the encouragement of EWTNand through your generosity, we were able to build a fully functioning television studio here in the basement of the CHNetwork. We began tentatively taping the programs here, until now our staff produces the entire program — Scott Scholten, producer; Bill Bateson, technical supervisor; Mary Clare Piecynski, emails and prompter; and Jim Anderson and others manning the third camera. Now instead of a two-day trip from Ohio to Alabama, I drive just seven miles from our farm.

So often over the years, viewers and radio listeners (and now internet viewers) have interconnected The Journey Home program with the CHNetwork. This is understandable for many reasons. Some people say, “I love to watch the Coming Home program!” Once when I was at a bishop’s meeting to discuss the work of the CHNetwork, a bishop, whom I didn’t know, passed me, donning his hat and pulling a suitcase, saying, “Well, I guess I’m on my ‘journey home.’”

It is important to state that EWTN and the Coming Home Network International are separate apostolates. However, I do want to emphasize that it is only through your financial support and prayers that the CHNetwork is able to produce The Journey Home program for EWTN in our studio — which you built! Thank you!

jhtI continue to pray that the stories shared on The Journey Home program are an encouragement to your faith, and that by God’s mercy, the program will continue to inspire many to consider, maybe for the first time, the truth and beauty of the Catholic Church.

Explore 20 years of the Journey Home Program and other Catholic conversion stories here at CHNetwork.org/stories!

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Passover Lamb: A True Story

by JesseRay on October 28, 2016

Contributed by Jesse Ray a while ago but worthy of reposting…

I arrived on the scene with my gun and stoically loaded in some self-defense rounds (although I was clearly not in danger). I did not lavish the idea of slaughtering a lamb, but my friend and new-farmer, Pat, called and sheepishly asked for some help. I guess he thought I was qualified since I had butchered last year’s deer with the help of my family.

It took a while for me to prepare the surroundings, I had never killed something so large, at such close range. During these few minutes I had time think about the gravity of what was about to happen.

Of course my mind took me back to the Jews and passover. Remember, the Bible is not just filled with stories, but with accounts of historical events. These events that we are familiar with actually happened. The Word of God prescribed, no dictated, the killing of a lamb. For the Jews, the lamb was not just dinner. The blood of the lamb was spread on the horizontal and vertical wood of the door frames (of course we recognize this as a foreshadowing of Christ’s blood dripping from His wooden cross).

Samaritan-Passover,-slain-lamb,-tb041106729-bibleplaces

(Picture: Present day slaughter of Passover Lamb by Samaritans in Israel) 

Exodus 12:21-22
Then Moses called all the elders of Israel, and said to them, “Select lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood which is in the basin; and none of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning.

We all know that the consequence of sin is death, yet today we do not always see or feel that direct connection. Before Jesus, the Lamb of God, came as our final sacrifice, a cute, woolly lamb <baaa>, had to die in expiation for sins. The Jews symbolically placed their own sins on the head of the lamb before it was killed in Leviticus 1. The male sheep was chosen from the flock for its spotlessness, just as Christ, sinless and perfect, died for our sins.

We Catholics are blessed with the sacrament of confession, a very quick and clean way of cleansing sins from our soul. Well, let me tell you there was nothing quick or clean about killing a lamb. If we had to go through this every time we sinned I would expect people would either sin less, or would carry more sins around on their hearts.

Passover (doorpost)I tell the following story, not for the sake of gore, but because it was a very raw and spiritual experience. You should stop here if the thought of blood makes you queasy.

I was compelled to pause, and say a prayer thanking God for this animal and for the gift of it’s life. At first it all happened quite fast: The the gun popped, a red spot appeared on the lambs head, the lamb dropped. I was glad that was over with.

What happened next surprised me. All living things try to avoid death, and even after the lethal blow, the lamb was not going to die without a fight. I apologize, for the detail, but far more blood than I expected began pouring out of the sheep’s mouth and nose. The famous painting “Adoration of the Lamb” by van Eyck flashed in my brain, (of course in the painting the sheep is standing, but the flow of blood is clearly key in the comparison).

My friend Pat, the instigator of this whole event, took action (and large knife) holding the sheep down with the full weight of his body and slit the throat. As more blood emerged it was clear that the bloody descriptions in the old testament will never be void of imagery for me anymore.

PETA people refuse to eat lamb chops or wear sheepskin because of (I assume) the violence of slaughter. (or maybe they just need some cause to distract them from the evils of abortion and euthanasia that many support). Before any scriptural lessons, I think seeing that this tasty protein-source doesn’t start out in a Styrofoam package at Meijers is good to know.

But seriously, what kind of a “merciful” God would order His people to do something so violent and base? The answer points to the Eucharist, and is so deep that we need to understand God’s plan of salvation is exposed in history and recorded in scripture. Now we just need to know where to look.

Adoration of the Lamb_van_Eyck_insetMy dad, Steve Ray, teaches about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and its Biblical foundations; he can speak for hours about the beauty and reality. Enjoy this audio sample from a talk he gives entitle Defending the Eucharist: You are What You Eat. The whole talk can be found here, and is really a great listen.

I pray that you will all draw closer to our Lord and find joy in His Cross and Resurrection.

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