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The Big Tree

Author: The Alberione Project

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Catholic seminarians of the Alberione Project, a media evangelization initiative of Theological College, interview speakers on the topics of evangelization, theology, philosophy, and living our faith well in the modern world.
34 Episodes
To close out Season 2 of The Big Tree, Fr. Aquinas Guilbeau, O.P., Prior of the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., explores the relationship between action and contemplation. After considering the history of action and contemplation in Western thought, Fr. Aquinas presents how Christianity, and especially the witness of St. Gregory the Great, helps to resolve the apparent tension between these two aspects of human life. In the end, the apparent tension is exchanged for the recognition that action and contemplation actually enrich each other.Follow Fr. Aquinas on Twitter: @FrAquinasOPThe Priory of the Immaculate Conception: Thomistic Institute: | @ThomisticInstThe Aquinas 101 Series: Ryan Braam (Archdiocese of Washington) and Luke Kirk (Diocese of Lafayette)
This week, The Daughters of St. Paul, take over The Big Tree! Join the sisters as they describe their experience of religious life in the 21st century, living in community, and life as a Daughter of St. Paul. Learn how the sisters have been shaped by community life, the challenges of their vocation, and where they find joy in it all.Be sure to listen all the way through to catch the mini "bonus podcast" after the closing bumper to meet even more of the sisters!"God is beautiful and wants to share his beauty with you." - Sr. Emily BeataHosts: Sr. Bethany, FSP; Sr. Emily Beata, FSP; and Sr. Magdalena, FSP.
This week, Dr. Angela Knobel, Associate Professor in the School of Philosophy at The Catholic University of America, sits down with our Big Tree seminarians to give an honest look at the abortion debate in modern-day America. Their discussions reveal two separate questions at the heart of the matter, from which arises a surprising moral dilemma that can't be solved in syllogisms. You absolutely don't want to miss this!Hosts: Liam Gallagher (Diocese of Portland, ME) and Luke Kirk (Diocese of Lafayette)
This week, Monsignor Stephen Rosetti, Research Associate Professor at The Catholic University of America, returns to The Big Tree to discuss demons, ghosts, evil presences, and what the Church offers to combat these things. "Evil is real." Have you ever felt an evil presence in your house? Or like something wasn’t quite right? Find out in this thrilling episode of The Big Tree for a helpful Catholic perspective on these things from a world-renowned priest psychologist and an expert on this topic!Hosts: Gabe Bouck (Diocese of Memphis) and Nick Clinton (Diocese of Pittsburgh)*Amazon link to his book on blessings, "The Priestly Blessing":**Be sure to check out Msgr. Rosetti's new app "Catholic Exorcism" for exorcism prayers, resources, and more!
We were delighted to welcome Fr. Sam Sawyer, S.J., Executive Editor and Director of Digital Strategy at America Media, to the The Big Tree to discuss Ignatian Spirituality, Ignatian Principles of Discernment, and Ignatian Methods of Prayer. Included in this discussion is a conversation about St. Ignatius of Loyola's life and conversion, discerning between consolation and desolation & its importance in our lives, and the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola! Hosts: Gabe Bouck (Diocese of Memphis) and Vincent Castaldi (Archdiocese of New York)N.B.: Find Fr. Sam Sawyer on Twitter ( and his work at America Media at
In this episode, Dr. David Cloutier (Associate Professor Moral Theology and Ethics at The Catholic University of America) returns to The Big Tree to discuss principles of Catholic Social Teaching in the formation of the voter's conscience during election season. We cover a good range of issues, including: Abortion, Immigration, Health Care, Income Inequality, and the Environment. A very timely and informative episode for us all. Don't miss out!Link to Dr. Cloutier's book, "Walking God's Earth: The Environment and Catholic Faith": Hosts: Cole McDowell (Archdiocese of Louisville) and Gabe Bouck (Diocese of Memphis)
This week, Dr. Christopher Ruddy, Associate Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at The Catholic University of America, joins The Big Tree to discuss a fundamental question: "Why does there even need to be a Church at all?" Find out why God chose such a concrete, broken, yet beautifully holy reality by which He offers His salvation to the whole world. Topics include Church unity, relationships within the Body of Christ, scandal, and the challenge to live in charity toward each other to promote unity.Hosts: Ryan Braam (Archdiocese of Washington) and John De Guzman (Diocese of Raleigh)
Guess who's back on another episode of The Big Tree: Meg Hunter-Kilmer! This week, Meg sits down with our seminarians to discuss how the saints who struggled through life in the midst of anxiety, depression, and trauma, can be exemplary and relatable figures for us as we navigate through the same issues in our lives. Hosts: Gabe Bouck (Diocese of Memphis) and Patrick O'Brien (Diocese of Rockville Centre)WARNING: The topics of anxiety, suicide, depression, sexual abuse, and trauma are discussed in this episode. Listener discretion is advised.
John De Guzman (Diocese of Raleigh), Nick Clinton (Diocese of Pittsburgh), and Patrick O'Brien (Diocese of Rockville Centre) share their experiences from a recent retreat they all went on over Christmas Break led by Bishop Frank Caggiano, Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, and how those experiences feeds into their prayer. Brace yourselves. You'll want to immediately go pray after this one.Also: HAPPY BIRTHDAY to The Big Tree! This is our One Year "AnniversaTREE" episode!
In this episode, Dr. Bradley Gregory, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at The Catholic University of America, sits down with our seminarians to discuss 5 things he wants people to know about reading the Old Testament. He addresses common misconceptions and the importance of understanding genre among many other helpful tips!Hosts: Gabe Bouck (Diocese of Memphis) and Deacon Anthony Ferguson (Diocese of Richmond)
In this episode, Fr. Christopher Begg, Ordinary Professor of Biblical Studies at The Catholic University of America, The Katharine Drexel Chair in Religious Studies, and legendary biblical scholar, talks about the heroes and the anti-heroes in the Bible. Hosts: Deacon Anthony Ferguson (Diocese of Richmond) and Peter Bui (Diocese of Worcester)
This week, The Big Tree crew comes with an early Christmas gift: an interview with hobo missionary Meg Hunter-Kilmer about how to evangelize. The holidays often present the particular challenge of witnessing to one's faith around family members. In this episode, Meg offers practical insights on how to evangelize authentically and on what pitfalls one should be careful to avoid.
We will all face death. How do we do it like Christians? Sr. Theresa Aletheia chats with the Big Tree crew about death and how Bl. James Alberione helped inspire the Memento Mori devotional and prayer journal!Hosts: Liam Gallagher (Diocese of Portland, ME) and Ryan Braam (Archdiocese of Washington) 
In this episode, our Twitter Mother, Sr. Helena Burns FSP, joins the Big Tree crew in discussing the important topic of "Media Literacy," the practice of virtuously engaging the media in all its facets. God created man to be in relationship with his neighbor and our devices should promote that, not destroy it. Also on this episode is the debut of our two newest seminarian members, Patrick O'Brien and Nick Clinton.Hosts: Deacon Anthony Ferguson (Diocese of Richmond), Patrick O'Brien (Diocese of Rockville Centre) and Nick Clinton (Diocese of Pittsburgh)
We all have our default responses to the issue of relativism, but what happens when that's not enough? Find out in this episode where we sit down with Dr. Michael Gorman, Ordinary Professor of the School of Philosophy at The Catholic University of America, in discussing how to strategically respond to clever relativists.Hosts: Liam Gallagher (Diocese of Portland, ME) and Luke Kirk (Diocese of Lafayette, LA)
The Big Tree Crew talks with Dr. Eileen Dombo of the National Catholic School of Social Service at Catholic University about the effects of trauma and what Dr. Dombo wishes every priest or minister would know about it.Hosts: Gabe Bouck (Diocese of Memphis) and Seth Seaman (Diocese of Richmond)
We often hear it said: "Lead with beauty" when sharing the Gospel ...but what IS beauty? Fr. Gregory Pine, O.P. brings the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas to bear on this hugely important topic for our day.Hosts: Deacon Anthony Ferguson (Diocese of Richmond) and Liam Gallagher (Diocese of Portland, ME)
How does the spirituality of St. Thérèse apply to online media evangelization? Find out in this Treehouse episode, featuring the debut of seminarians Ryan Braam and John De Guzman to The Big Tree line-up.Hosts: Fr. Anthony Ferguson (Diocese of Richmond, Ordained in 2020), Ryan Braam (Archdiocese of Washington) & John De Guzman (Diocese of Raleigh)
Fr. Cassidy Stinson (Diocese of Richmond, Ordained 2019) from the Big Tree shared a tweet that went viral. So, the Vici Mundum Show and The Big Tree teamed up to #BreakTheChains. Here is Fr. Cassidy's tweet which summarizes this week's episode:"Hey. We need to talk about something.Pornography.I knew this before I became a priest, but now it’s become all the more clear to me that this is an absolute scourge for so, so many of us, spiritually and psychologically.And you know what? I’m tired of it.I’m tired of seeing so many souls caught in shame and isolation and despair.I’m tired of the wounds it inflicts on our culture, on relationships, on families.I’m tired of the way it makes our media, which ought to be vehicles of beauty, into cesspools of spiritual corruption.I think we do a good job of supporting each other when we’re open about that struggle, but we can do more.Specifically, I think we need to be praying FOR everyone currently suffering from the addictions and habits of using pornography - and for everyone caught in that industry.So, here’s what I think we should do.We should pray, and sacrifice, and encourage one another in working to heal these wounds.We need to be praying *together* for this cause, because if you aren’t personally struggling with this, I promise: many of your closest friends are.Honestly, it would be a beautiful sign of Christ’s triumph to use the media that have become an occasion of sin for so many people to offer our intentions for their healing. I’ll be sharing my own daily prayers to #BreakTheChains of pornography, and I’d love for you to join me.And, if you’re caught in the darkness of sin or addiction, know that we’re praying for you.Don’t be afraid to return to Christ.Don’t be afraid to go back to Confession.Don’t let despair win.The mercy of Jesus Christ is stronger than death, and it is always there for you."
Dr. Adrian Walker, translator of Pope Benedict XVI and editor of the journal Communio, joins The Big Tree to talk Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, Eschatology, Art, Philosophy, Thanos, and much more! The question is: Are you able to fall asleep in Mordor?Host: Deacon Anthony Ferguson (Diocese of Richmond) and Fr. Timothy Deely (Diocese of Pittsburgh, Ordained 2019)
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