Catholic Vitamin P: Pride

Pride is almost always presented in a negative construct. In fact, there are a significant number of (mis-led) people in our country who believe it’s wrong to have PRIDE IN AMERICA. We think that’s so wrong. And similarly, we believe it completely appropriate to have PRIDE IN OUR CATHOLIC FAITH. That’s what this podcast is about. And to help us look at one of the areas to take pride in our faith, we introduce you to the CATHOLIC LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE (CLI).

The team at Catholic Leadership Institute is dedicated to the mission of building authentic Catholic leaders for today and tomorrow.

Catholic Leadership Institute provides bishops, priests, deacons and lay persons in the Roman Catholic Church with world-class, pastoral leadership formation and consulting services that strengthen their confidence and competence in ministry, enabling them to articulate a vision for their local church, to call forth the gifts of those they lead, and to create more vibrant faith communities rooted in Jesus Christ.

Matthew Manion (President & CEO)

We have two guests on this show — a show dedicated to seeing and taking PRIDE in our wonderful Catholic Faith. The first guest is the President and CEO of the Catholic Leadership Institute, Matt Manion. (Pictured at left with Fr. Jack Wall and Melissa Fordyce described below) Matt’s  mission in life is “to restore or increase people’s faith in God, themselves, and others” and he strives to fulfill this in all he does. Matt earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in Church Management from Villanova University. Prior to joining the Catholic Leadership Institute, Matt had a successful career with the Franklin Mint that included running a $100 Million division of collectible cars.

In 1999, Matt switched careers and joined the Catholic Leadership Institute as its first employee, serving as Executive Director.  The Board promoted him to President and CEO in 2003 and he has served in that capacity since.  Matt has written articles and delivered workshops on Catholic leadership for bishops, priests, and lay leaders throughout the United States. He was part of the original design team for Good Leaders, Good Shepherds and Tending the Talents and is a Master Trainer.  He was a design partner and faculty member for the National Young Adult Ministry Certificate Program and the Archdiocese for Military Services’ Catholics Seeking Christ training.  Matt also served on the Evangelization and Pastoral Council Formation Committees of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Pastoral Council and Stewardship Committees of his home parish. Matthew, his wife, Kerri, and their three children, Grace, James and Kathleen, are parishioners of St. Monica in Berwyn, PA.

You can reach out to Matthew at

Melissa Squarcia Fordyce

Our second guest in this show on being proud of our Catholic Faith is Melissa Squarcia Fordyce. I’m given to believing that this talented lady wears many hats. Officially, Melissa serves as the Manager of Donor Relations for Catholic Leadership Institute. She joined the team in 2007. Previously she served the organization as its Senior Communications Coordinator.  As an assignment editor for NBC 10, Melissa joined the team with an extensive background in media outreach. Prior to NBC, Melissa worked for her alma mater, Villanova University, in the Office of the Alumni Association. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication. Melissa, her husband, Joe and their son Daniel are parishioners of St. Eugene Parish in Primos, PA. Contact Melissa at:

Good Leaders, Good Shepherds

One of the programs offered by CLI is Good Leaders, Good Shepherds.

Using Jesus Christ as the ultimate shepherd and model of leadership, the Good Leaders, Good Shepherds curriculum for clergy was specifically designed to help Catholic priests overcome the challenges today of a diminishing number of clergy and more complex circumstances for priestly ministry. The goal is to minimize the frustration and energy spent on their administrative roles and maximize the joy and time spent on the pastoral duties for which they were uniquely ordained. The impact will be more holy, healthy, and happy shepherds of vibrant parish communities, leading more people to a deeper relationship with Christ.


The CLI will be hosting the 13th annual Awards for Outstanding Catholic Leadership in Philadelphia in a few days. It will be held at the Drexelbrook in Drexel Hill, PA.

Among those receiving awards this year are:

Lisa Brenninkmeyer: Co-chairman of the Board and founder of WALKING WITH PURPOSE.

William Bill Donohue: President and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

Rev. Jack Wall: President, Catholic Extension Society

Sr. Angela Ann Zukowski: Director of the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives and Religious Studies, University of Dayton

The CLI annually honors outstanding Catholic leaders, women and men – lay, clergy, and religious whose exemplary leadership in the family, the workplace, the community and the Church has been inspired by their Catholic faith. The event takes place in Philadelphia and welcomes more than 600 guests–including bishops, priests, religious and national Catholic leaders–from around the country.


I went on to the internet looking for some ideas about having… taking pride in our Catholic Faith. I found this letter attributed to a talk by a Jewish businessman, Sam Miller. I was so interested in this, because as I shared in last week’s show, it was a non-Catholic, very Jewish businessman that helped start me on my road to rediscovering Catholicism. At any rate, I shared this on our show this week:

Sam Miller, prominent Cleveland businessman – Jewish, not Catholic – is fighting mad about the seemingly concentrated effort by the media to disparage the Catholic Church in the United States. The following are excerpts of a speech by well-known Cleveland businessman Mr. Miller at the City Club of Cleveland, given on Thursday, March 6, 2012. Even though of the Jewish faith, Miller has been a staunch supporter of the Cleveland Diocese and Bishop Anthony Pilla. It was published in the May-June issue of the Buckeye Bulletin:

“Why would newspapers carry on a vendetta on one of the most important institutions that we have today in the United States, namely the Catholic Church?

Do you know – the Catholic Church educates 2.6 million students everyday at the cost to your Church of 10 billion dollars, and a savings on the other hand to the American taxpayer of 18 billion dollars. Your graduates go on to graduate studies at the rate of 92%, all at a cost to you. To the rest of the Americans it’s free.

The Church has 230 colleges and universities in the U.S. with an enrollment of 700,000 students. The Catholic Church has a non-profit hospital system of 637 hospitals, which account for hospital treatment of 1 out of every 5 people – not just Catholics – in the United States today.

But the press is vindictive and trying to totally denigrate in every way the Catholic Church in this country. They have blamed the disease of pedophilia on the Catholic Church, which is as irresponsible as blaming adultery on the institution of marriage. Let me give you some figures that you as Catholics should know and remember. For example, 12% of the 300 Protestant clergy surveyed admitted to sexual intercourse with a parishioner; 38% acknowledged other inappropriate sexual contact in a study by the United Methodist Church, 41.8 % of clergywomen reported unwanted sexual behavior; 17% of laywomen have been sexually harassed. Meanwhile, 1.7% of the Catholic clergy has been found guilty of pedophilia. 10% of the Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia. This is not a Catholic Problem.

A study of American priests showed that most are happy in the priesthood and find it even better than they had expected, and that most, if given the choice, would choose to be priests again in face of all this obnoxious PR the church has been receiving.

The Catholic Church is bleeding from self-inflicted wounds. The agony that Catholics have felt and suffered is not necessarily the fault of the Church. You have been hurt by a small number of wayward priests that have probably been totally weeded out by now.

Walk with your shoulders high and you head higher. Be a proud member of the most important non-governmental agency in the United States. Then remember what Jeremiah said: “Stand by the roads, and look and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk in it, and find rest for your souls”. Be proud to speak up for your faith with pride and reverence and learn what your Church does for all other religions. Be proud that you’re a Catholic.”


We played two of our favorite artists’ songs on the show. First was a song by an Arizona attorney, BILLY TARASCIO — and yes we’ve featured her voice talents often since she guested on our show a while back. The song we played a portion of was the upbeat THANK YOU from Billy’s album, SEND ME. You can find Billie’s music at:

We also played a song from another favorite and one-time guest on Catholic Vitamins. She’s ALICIA HERNON, Catholic wife, mother (of 8 children, I believe it is) and a wonderful liturgical music leader and singer. From her album BELOVED, we played CONQUER ME at the end of the show. Alicia’s music is found at:

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