Ascension Roundtable (Your Catholic Ministry Podcast)

Ascension Roundtable (Your Catholic Ministry Podcast)
Catholic ministry professionals share stories and brainstorm solutions to common ministry challenges.

“Little by Little” Ministry
Nov 7, 2018 • 45 min
Today we are joined by Brother Isaiah, a Franciscan friar who lives in the Bronx. He shares how little by little, he came to love God, discover his calling towards religious life, and use his musical gifts to serve the Lord. He also shares three pieces of…
Ministry Minutes: Embarrassment is Healthy - Yours Anyways
Oct 3, 2018 • 4 min
Allen has suffered through a lot of embarrassment in his life. So, he stopped trying to avoid it, and started trying to embrace it. Shortly after making this decision, he ended up saying his own name wrong during an audition – a situation that could have…
Ministry Minutes: When You’re Planning are You Praying Too?
Sep 26, 2018 • 1 min
In the midst of a hectic fall schedule, busy Catholics need to do everything in their power to make time to be with God in prayer or adoration. Let go of your to-do list for at least thirty minutes a day and make prayer your top priority. If you aren’t…
81: Ministry Minutes: What Kind of Leader Are You?
Sep 19, 2018 • 1 min
When Kanye West was interviewed in 2013 by the New York Times, he told the reporter, “I am so credible and so influential and so relevant that I will change things.” Allen says this is the worst mantra for anybody working in the Church, but it seems like…
Ministry Minutes: Community
Sep 7, 2018 • 1 min
Ministry Minutes: Staff Changes
Aug 29, 2018 • 3 min
From his years of experience in youth ministry, Allen shares two things that kept him grounded when staff changes threatened to throw him off balance. It’s God ministry, we are merely stewards of it. When people leave, the ministry remains. There will…
Ministry Minutes: A Witness to Beauty
Aug 22, 2018 • 4 min
Ministry Minutes: Burnout
Aug 15, 2018 • 2 min
Allen’s Unexpected Mission Trip Experience
Aug 8, 2018 • 5 min
Ministry Minutes: Are You Caught in a Rut?
Aug 1, 2018 • 1 min
Ministry Minutes: Complaining Won’t Help
Jul 25, 2018 • 2 min
Ministry Minutes: Keeping Up with the Parish Next Door
Jul 18, 2018 • 1 min
Ministry Minutes: Your Most Important Work Happens Outside the Office
Jul 13, 2018 • 2 min
71: Happy 4th of July & An Important Announcement!
Jul 4, 2018 • 1 min
Happy 4th of July & An Important Announcement! by Ascension
70: A Winning Formula for Confirmation Prep
Jun 27, 2018 • 37 min
One parish in Louisiana transformed their confirmation prep ministry by making three simple, yet powerful changes. Their teens went from begrudgingly memorizing answers about Catholicism, being confirmed, and then disappearing from church, to becoming…
69: Parishes, Please Invest in Better Music
Jun 20, 2018 • 43 min
Whether we like it or not, people leave parishes because of bad music. While music is not essential to the Mass, it has the potential to move people’s hearts and draw them closer to Christ. Today Steven Joubert (a writer, musician, and youth minister)…
68: 3 Prayers You Might Not Be Praying … and Why You Should Start Praying Them
Jun 13, 2018 • 27 min
If you’re not praying, you’re not going to get very far in understanding your faith or being able to help others grow in theirs. Historical theologian Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio explains three prayers of the Church to help you deepen your own prayer life…
67: How One College Professor is Challenging Today’s Hook-Up Culture
Jun 7, 2018 • 24 min
Dr. Kerry Cronin doesn’t just give her students essays; she gives them an assignment that requires them to ask someone out on a good, old-fashioned first date. It’s something she’s been doing for a while, and her experiment is featured in a new…
66: How to Talk About Fertility Within Your Ministry
May 30, 2018 • 32 min
When it comes to parish life, women’s fertility and health is a topic often relegated to a brief discussion during marriage prep, and then it’s either ignored or rarely touched upon again by anyone in the parish because of its sensitive nature. But this…
65: NFP Baby
May 23, 2018 • 39 min
How much do you know about Natural Family Planning? Today, nurse practitioner Alex DeRose gets real about NFP, a topic that can be uncomfortable to discuss and therefore avoided. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Not only does Alex provide an overview…
64: Understanding and Helping Victims of Child Abuse
May 16, 2018 • 46 min
Victims of sexual abuse often feel overwhelmed with intense feelings of worthlessness, despair, and loneliness. Many times it’s hard for them to even consider sharing what happened and how they feel. Today, Joann shares her childhood sexual abuse story,…
63: How to Pray with Anyone
May 9, 2018 • 38 min
Sometimes we get so caught up in the organizing and executing of ministry duties that we forget that one of the most powerful things we can do is stop to pray with and for the people we encounter in our days. In today’s episode, we speak with Deborah…
62: 5 Ways Catholics Ruin Small Groups
May 4, 2018 • 32 min
In this episode, we identify five major things that cause small groups to fail, and then we suggest ways to avoid those pitfalls. From losing focus on the bigger purpose of the small group to facilitation faux pas, you’ve probably seen these issues at…
61: 7 Ways To Support Millennials Working In Ministry
Apr 25, 2018 • 27 min
What would you do if we told you that a simple smile, a family meal, or a weekly chat could make a dramatic difference in the life of a young minister (or any minister, for that matter)? It is all too easy to forget that even ministers sometimes need the…
60: Survival Tips for the Young Minister
Apr 18, 2018 • 54 min
Today’s conversation isn’t just for the young minister; anyone can benefit from the experiences and insights shared by today’s guest. The reality is, our parishes are supposed to be intergenerational, supposed to act like a family and include people from…
59: A “Frank” Conversation with a Former Catholic
Apr 11, 2018 • 43 min
In ministry, we all know how hard it can be to get a practicing Catholic to commit to a weekly Bible study, youth group, or service project. So, how can we reach out to those who do not actively practice their faith, or someone who has left the Catholic…
58: Blessed Triduum and Happy Easter
Mar 28, 2018 • 0 min
Blessed Triduum and Happy Easter by Ascension
57: Three Ways to Lead a Holistic Catholic Ministry and Life
Mar 22, 2018 • 31 min
Does feeling burned out in your personal life affect how you approach your ministry? In this episode, we discuss three important aspects of a holistic life and ministry. Discover what aspects of your life and ministry may need revitalization and then take…
56: Make Catholic Formation Holistic Again
Mar 15, 2018 • 41 min
Catholic formation isn’t just about teaching the brain; it has to do with the development of a whole person spiritually, physically, mentally, and socially. The Church has long recognized that this formation best happens in a Christian community. In this…
55: Answers to Your Questions About Ministering to People with Same-Sex Attraction
Mar 8, 2018 • 39 min
In last week’s episode with Fr. Philip Bochanski, we talked about the principles of ministering to those who experience same-sex attraction. In this episode, Father takes those principles and applies them to situations you might find yourself in. How do…
54: How Catholics Can Serve People Who Experience Same-Sex Attraction
Mar 1, 2018 • 44 min
Many people think there’s no place in the Catholic church for people who experience same-sex attraction. Others hope that the Church changes her teaching on this issue. Today’s interview with Fr. Philip Bochanski will introduce you to a ministry that is…
53: What Catholics Need to Know About Sexual Addiction and Porn
Feb 23, 2018 • 47 min
Learn about new ways to understand addiction with therapist Mike Ciaccio. Discover his research on the prevalence of sex addiction in Christian communities. You will find out why he is hopeful that Christians can overcome whatever darkness we face in this…
52: Catholics, Please Don’t Ignore Single Parents
Feb 14, 2018 • 27 min
Statistically, there are over eleven million single parent families in the USA. Single moms are the only head of household for about twenty-three percent of American children, and single dads make up another six to eight percent. Whether it is a teenage…
51: Reaching Out to Military Families
Feb 8, 2018 • 44 min
On average, military families move every three years. Which means every three years these families leave behind their homes, their communities, and their friends to once more build a new life in a new town. More than just being physically exhausting, it…
50: Bible Study Changes Everything (with Sonja Corbitt)
Jan 30, 2018 • 29 min
Catholic convert and Bible study guru Sonja Corbitt sits down with us to talk about how Bible study changes lives, builds community, and breaks down walls between us and our Protestant brothers and sisters. Whether you’re a bold Bible geek or you feel…
49: How to Make Jesus Your Priority (with Fr. Josh Johnson)
Jan 24, 2018 • 31 min
Juggling work, family, and friends can make life feel too busy to squeeze in anything but Sunday Mass and ministry obligations. But the key to increasing your faith and bearing fruit despite all the hustle and bustle involves one simple (but difficult)…
48: Evangelize Through Marriage Prep (with Scott Seibert)
Jan 18, 2018 • 26 min
While some engaged couples have a great Catholic marriage prep experience, there’s no denying that many couples resent it, feeling like it’s just a meaningless hoop to jump through. How do we change the status quo and make marriage prep an opportunity to…
47: Build a Community of Families at Your Parish
Jan 9, 2018 • 41 min
Leaving an old home and relocating to a new town is tough, but building a new community from scratch once you get there is even more daunting. Scott and KC Seibert, along with their four children, recently moved to Indiana and found themselves in this…
46: Merry Christmas!
Dec 21, 2017 • 0 min
Merry Christmas from all of us here at Ascension! We will be back the second week of January with a whole new season of the Ascension Roundtable Podcast.
45: Youth Ministry in an Age of Desensitization (with Brian Butler)
Dec 18, 2017 • 38 min
In today’s episode, Brian Butler - a seasoned youth minister, speaker, and trainer - shares practical ways in which you can better minister to youth and young adults in a culture that has become desensitized to the reality of the person. We discuss how to…
44: How to Reach Out to Those Suffering from Divorce
Dec 13, 2017 • 23 min
In the first part of today’s show, we talk about how to start a ministry to the divorced at your parish, and then we discuss two helpful “do’s” and two “don’ts” that will help you to facilitate a divorce ministry group. In the second part of the show,…
43: Burning for Christ or Burning Out? (With Rose Sweet)
Dec 7, 2017 • 28 min
Rose Sweet has spent forty years in different areas of parish ministry and more importantly, she’s spent even more time as an avid follower of Jesus Christ. Drawing from her experience in ministry and especially from the way Jesus relates to people in the…
42: Christopher West Talks Marriage Preparation
Nov 28, 2017 • 33 min
We need to get marriage preparation right—the stakes are just too high not to. In this episode, Theology of the Body expert Christopher West explains some of the biggest challenges we face when it comes to preparing engaged couples for a joy-filled…
41: Preparing Someone to Hear the Gospel Message (with Thomas Smith)
Nov 21, 2017 • 30 min
We often think that the first step of evangelization is to explicitly spell out the gospel message to another person. In this episode, evangelist and Bible scholar Thomas Smith challenges that notion, explaining how evangelization can start with one very…
40: Why I Converted from Mormonism to Catholicism (with Thomas Smith)
Nov 15, 2017 • 30 min
In today’s episode, evangelist and Bible scholar Thomas Smith tells his story about converting from Mormonism to the Baptist faith and then eventually becoming Catholic. He explains what it is about Christianity that made him question his Mormon faith,…
39: Whole Parish Renewal (with Tim Glemkowski)
Nov 9, 2017 • 40 min
What happens when one young man decides to pursue the heights of holiness and sets out to bring entire parishes along with him on the journey? Find out in today’s episode with Tim Glemkowski, founder of “L’Alto Catholic Institute. Stay tuned to hear how…
38: Fr. Mike On Building a Better Relationship with Your Pastor
Nov 2, 2017 • 21 min
This week’s episode is short and sweet, but it hits on a topic many of you have written to us about—collaborating with your pastor in a healthy and constructive way. We might all want to be saints, but the reality is that none of us are yet. That means…
37: 4 Things a Mom Wants You to Know (with Danielle Bean)
Oct 26, 2017 • 26 min
Danielle Bean, mom of eight, served as a DRE in her parish, and because of the unique perspective she’s gained from wearing many hats, we asked her what four insights she’d like to share with you. You’ll finish this episode feeling encouraged, and you’ll…
36: An Interview with ProjectYM
Oct 20, 2017 • 54 min
Today we sit down with Tony Vasinda and Michael Marchand, co-founders of Project YM, to pick their brains about youth ministry. We discuss the value of a holistic approach to youth ministry that is fully integrated with the rest of parish life, creative…
35: 3 Tips for Parish Staff (An Interview with Sonja Corbitt)
Oct 10, 2017 • 34 min
In this week’s episode, we sit down with Catholic convert and Bible study author Sonja Corbitt, who shares three tough lessons she’s learned when it comes to working within the Church. Plus, she gives a sneak peek into her upcoming Bible study.
34: How to Engage Parents During Sacramental Prep
Oct 4, 2017 • 38 min
You know that parents are the primary educators of their children, and that’s why it can be so hard when it seems completely left to you, the catechist, to teach them the Faith. How can we, as parish communities, evangelize parents during those key…
33: Spiritual Multiplication (an Interview with Dr. Carole Brown)
Sep 26, 2017 • 42 min
In a perfect world, we’d bring thousands of souls closer to Christ in our lifetime. But in reality, we'd be lucky to help even ten people grow considerably in their faith. In today’s episode, Dr. Carole Brown explains how our impact may seem…
32: Evangelizing Within Your Parish
Sep 21, 2017 • 25 min
This week’s episode is part two of a conversation about dealing with divisions within a parish. If you want to hear the first part of the discussion, go back and listen to episode thirty-one. In today’s show, Tom and Allen respond to a listener’s question…
31: Millennials, Clichés, and Catching Foxes
Sep 13, 2017 • 56 min
Today we sit down with Luke Carey and Michael Gormley, hosts of the Catching Foxes podcast and enthusiastic lay evangelists. We talk with them about reaching millennials with the message of the Gospel, building communities of radical vulnerability, and…
30: Dealing with Division in Your Parish
Sep 6, 2017 • 35 min
As long as the Church is made up of human beings, certain levels of division will continue to exist. When we’re working at the parish level, how do we understand and work through those divisions with charity and prudence? In this week’s episode, Tom and…
29: Entrepreneurial Ministry: An Interview with Matt Pinto
Aug 31, 2017 • 35 min
Most people don’t associate ministry with entrepreneurialism, and in certain ways, that's for good reason. But in this episode, we sit down with Matthew Pinto, president and founder of Ascension Press, who shares with us seven entrepreneurial impulses…
28: Catechesis Needs Conversion (An Interview with Dr. Bob Rice)
Aug 22, 2017 • 38 min
Catechesis, evangelization, theology…you've certainly heard these terms, but what’s the relationship between them? And when it comes to catechesis, how can we make sure we lead people to deeper intimacy with Christ instead of just filling their heads with…
27: How the Columbine Shooting Changed Our Ministry (An Interview with Jim Beckman)
Aug 16, 2017 • 45 min
Jim Beckman and Tom McCabe worked at the Catholic parish closest to Columbine High School at the time of the shooting, and they were some of the first people on the scene after gunshots were reported to them by a parishioner who lived nearby. In this…
26: Mary Ann Wiesinger on Making Your Parish a Center of Hope and Evangelization
Aug 8, 2017 • 36 min
Mary Ann Wiesinger is the Director of Evangelization and Parish Outreach for the Archdiocese of Miami, and she’s working with Archbishop Wenski to help Miami parishes become centers of hope and evangelization. Mary Ann breaks down what that means,…
25: An Interview with Maria Mitchell: Beauty Catches the World’s Attention
Aug 1, 2017 • 25 min
Today we chat with Maria Mitchell, the producer behind the Ascension Presents videos. In the first part of the show, Maria shares the story of how being in Rome when JPII died helped her realize her vocation to produce powerful Catholic media. She and…
24: An Interview with Jeff Cavins: What Catholics Can Learn from Protestants (and Vice Versa)
Jul 25, 2017 • 25 min
Jeff Cavins grew up Catholic, but he left the Church at age 18, eventually becoming a protestant pastor. Some years later, he returned to the Catholic faith, bringing with him a lot of practical insight from his time in the protestant community. In this…
23: Let Them In! Hospitality as Key to the New Evangelization
Jul 18, 2017 • 38 min
In the third episode of our miniseries on evangelization, Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio shares how Christian hospitality and the witness of Catholic community are among the most powerful, yet under-played, instruments of evangelization in the life of the…
22: Want to Evangelize? Tell Your Story
Jul 11, 2017 • 36 min
If we want to evangelize, we need to rediscover something that the Early Christians knew very well—that telling stories about how Christ has transformed our lives is what will catch people’s attention. So how do we build a Catholic culture where…
21: Evangelization 101 with Dr. Italy: Putting It All in Context
Jul 5, 2017 • 39 min
In this episode, Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio (aka Dr. Italy) puts the New Evangelization into the context of the ups and downs of our Catholic story. The early Christians grew from a group of 120 at Pentecost to 10% of the Roman empire in about 300 years.…
20: The Do’s and Don’ts of Catholic Fundraising
Jun 28, 2017 • 33 min
Today we interview Brice Sokolowski from He’s going to tell you why you should fundraise (hint—it’s not just about the money), and how you can avoid common Catholic fundraising pitfalls.
19: Is Your Work Just a Job? An Interview with Jake Samour
Jun 19, 2017 • 34 min
Jake Samour worked as rocket scientist. He lived in a big house and drove a nice car. So why did he give it all up to take a job in Catholic ministry? Twenty-five years later, he tells his story. Stay tuned to hear Jake give you the advice he wishes he’d…
18: Tackling Tough Topics
Jun 13, 2017 • 38 min
We’ve all heard the complaint, “I could be Catholic if it weren’t for (insert unpopular Church teaching). In this episode, Colin and Marisa break down where this resistance often comes from and discuss how to engage with those people in a disarming and…
17: Ministry on a Shoestring Budget
Jun 6, 2017 • 33 min
Let’s face it— most of us working in ministry don’t have a large operating budget, so we get creative when it comes to executing our missions. It’s not easy, but it can be done. Stay tuned to hear our hosts share different methods you can start using…
16: 4 Strategies to Maximize Your Team’s Potential
May 31, 2017 • 29 min
In our last episode, Colin and Allen tackled three issues often faced when building a ministry team. In this episode, they’re going to talk about how to develop, disciple, and sustain your team so that you can maximize their potential.
15: Where’s My Team?
May 22, 2017 • 40 min
In this episode, Colin and Allen troubleshoot three issues often faced when building a ministry team: 1. “I can’t find anyone to help me” 2. The people who have stepped up aren’t the right people for the job”, and 3. I’ve got a great people, but my team…
14: Why Rebrand a Diocesan Office? An Interview with Anthem Philly
May 15, 2017 • 45 min
What do Our Lady of Guadalupe, Apple, and Anthem Philly have in common? In this episode, we talk to Megan and Jacob, directors of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, and they tell us why they went through a rebranding process, why they chose a…
13: Is “Discipleship” Just a Buzzword?
May 10, 2017 • 30 min
We’ve mentioned discipleship in past episodes, but we’ve never fully explained what we mean when we use the term, and we’ve also never made an argument as to why your adult ministry can only succeed when a discipleship model is at its core.
12: De-Mystifying Mystagogy
May 1, 2017 • 32 min
The Easter Vigil Mass is a powerful and exciting time in the life of the Church. But sometimes we can forget that RCIA doesn’t end when the Easter vigil closes—it continues with a special time called mystagogy, where the newly initiated are brought deeper…
11: An Interview with Father Mike Schmitz
Apr 24, 2017 • 43 min
In this episode, Fr. Mike Schmitz, Director of the Newman Center at the University of Minnesota Duluth and Director of Youth Ministry for the Diocese of Duluth, shares an inside view about his experiences in these ministries. He also tells us how he…
10: Ministering to People Who Suffer: Part II of an Interview with Dr. Greg Bottaro
Apr 10, 2017 • 30 min
How can you help people forgive? When do you refer someone to seek professional help to deal with certain psychological suffering? How can the Catholic community better serve those who are hurting? This episode is Part II of our interview with Catholic…
9: Mindfulness in Ministry: An Interview with Dr. Greg Bottaro
Apr 3, 2017 • 45 min
This episode is Part 1 of our interview with Catholic Psychologist Dr. Greg Bottaro. In this segment, Dr. Greg discusses how those in Catholic ministry can approach their work with full presence of mind and a healthy perspective. He also shares tips for…
8: An Interview with Jason Evert
Mar 24, 2017 • 44 min
There are a lot of you out there who haven’t had a chance to learn about Saint Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, or you’ve heard about it, but you’re not sure how it can help you in your ministry. So, we decided to do a show about it, and we…
7: More Than Grades: Evangelizing in the Classroom
Mar 24, 2017 • 54 min
It’s one things to reach young people in the context of a youth group, where things are more casual and there’s no pressure on them “to perform.” But things are very different in the classroom, when grades and school drama can be at play. Stay tuned to…
6: Why Does God Allow Us To Be Tested?
Mar 23, 2017 • 30 min
Have you ever felt like God is trusting you with more than what you can handle? Last episode, Tom and Allen talked about how the cost of being a disciple in ministry can feel overwhelming at times. In this episode, they offer three reasons why God lets us…
5: Balancing Your Inner Mary and Martha
Mar 23, 2017 • 54 min
When you work in ministry, the job is never done. So how do you make yourself hit “pause” on your to-do list and take some time for prayer? Tom, Colin, and Allen share their personal struggles with this inner tension, and then they share what’s worked in…
4: Can Youth Group Small Groups Actually Work?
Feb 17, 2017 • 36 min
If you’ve ever led a teen small group, you’ve probably experienced at least one of the following—blank stares, the teen who never stops talking, more than a few awkward moments, and hopefully a few groundbreaking ones. In this episode, Allen and Colin,…
3: So Why This Podcast?
Feb 10, 2017 • 22 min
The Ascension Roundtable hosts introduce themselves and explain why, if you're involved in Catholic ministry, this podcast will soon become one of your favorites.
2: The Cost of Discipleship
Jan 13, 2017 • 22 min
Most people don’t accept a job in ministry because they think it will make them famous or earn them millions—they do it because they want to serve God and others. But, that doesn’t make it easy. Tom and Allen confront that reality in this episode, sharing…
1: Three Essential Elements of Catechesis: The What, the Who, and the How
Jan 13, 2017 • 46 min
Tom and Allen discuss a three-pronged approach to teen catechesis and share ideas to troubleshoot a common tough scenario involving your volunteers. Disclaimer: At Ascension, we are fully committed to the fullness of truth found in the Catholic faith. We…