046: St. John Paul II Through the Eyes of a Swiss Guard

Featuring Andreas Widmer

catholic_FINAL_150Pope St. John Paul II is one of the most beloved popes of all time. He touched the lives of millions.

But his impact is far from over.

JPII was a world-class philosopher. He taught us truths about ourselves, and humanity in general, in a way that made sense. He understood our deepest longings and turmoil. He could explain the inner workings of our heart in relation to God. JohannesPaul2-portrait

In a nutshell, he taught us how to be fully human through Jesus Christ.

But while most of us learned this from his speeches, encyclicals, and books, Andreas Widmer, former Swiss Guard and now Director of Entrepreneurship Programs at Catholic University of Americas’ Busch School of Business & Economics, received his instruction in person.

This giant of a man swore to protect and serve the Holy Father with his life.

And in return, he learned what it means to truly live. In fact, he wrote a book about it called The Pope & the CEO: John Paul II’s Leadership Lessons to a Young Swiss Guard.

In this special episode of the Art of Catholic, we’re going to:

  • Hear beautiful stories about what JPII was really like in person
  • Learn about the history and duties of the Swiss Guard
  • Discover the relationship between JPII’s famous Theology of the Body and the world of economics
  • Discuss how JPII’s view of poverty and the human person is necessary to understand the heart of Pope Francis
  • Hear this modern saint’s “simple” rule of life he practiced every day

You don’t get too many opportunities to hear personal witness about a saint. Andreas Widmer gives us that and much more!


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Apparitions, Tattoos, and St. Juan Diego

If tattoos are a good barometer of Marian piety, then Our Lady of Guadalupe has got to be one of the most popular Marian feast days of them all.St Juan Diego Statue

Lots of people know that in 1531, Our Lady appeared to a peasant man named Juan Diego in Mexico City. And every year, millions of people visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe to see Mary’s image on Juan Diego’s famous tilma.

(Apparently many then head to the ink parlor.)

I actually visited the Basilica as a Protestant missionary to Mexico in the 90s, but obviously didn’t appreciate what I saw back then. I certainly didn’t head to the tattoo parlor. If I had, it probably would have been a Billy Graham tat, and not Our Lady.

While most of the attention of this great feast is rightly focused upon Mary, there’s another aspect to the story that isn’t often considered. Namely, Juan Diego.

What most people don’t realize is that Juan Diego was in his fifties, which made him an old man for that time in history. (Fifty was the new eighty, back then.)

But because of Mary, his evangelistic life was just beginning.

And look what he was able to accomplish. Look what God was able to accomplish through him. Look what his mother inspired him to do.

St. Juan Diego, not to mention Our Lady, is a great reminder that God can use us no matter where we are in life. All we have to be is willing. We have to ask for God’s grace to stop coming up with excuses or allowing distractions to take our focus off of what’s really important.

So ask yourself, are you willing? Are you willing to do whatever God wants? To conform yourself completely and totally to his perfect will like Our Lady? Are you willing to say “yes” (or “si” in Juan Diego’s case), and let God do wonders through you regardless of where you are in life?

Because if you are, he can use you to help change the world, too.

I pray you continue to have a Blessed Advent!


020: The Most Important Church Council You’ve Never Heard Of

catholic_FINAL_150Okay. I’m about to ask you a question. Be honest…Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard of the Fourth Lateran Council. Okay…How about Pope Innocent III?

For those of you with your hands still up, how many of you can give me any details on either?…Anyone? Bueller? (That never gets old.)

Believe it or not, not knowing is a giant hole in our education. Everyone should know something about both because they played a pivotal role in the history of the Church. Lateran Four is every bit as big as Nicea, Trent, and Vatican II. In fact, it continues to heavily influence how we live today.a_jones

(Full disclosure…I didn’t know “jack” about it until this interview. So don’t feel bad if you didn’t either.)

To plug the information hole in my head and yours, I’ve brought in Dr. Andrew Jones, an expert on the High Middle Ages (which doesn’t refer to people in their late 50s.) He knows all about the Church in the 11th to 13th centuries. Andrew has spent years researching this incredibly rich and fascinating time period and is going to share with us why it was so important.

Medieval Templar Castle of year 1178 in Ponferrada, SpainWhat I think you’re going to find is that much of what took place back then is incredibly applicable to our present circumstances. So go put on your suit of armor, grab an ale, and enjoy.


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