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‘They That Hope’ podcast delivers humor, encouragement

STEUBENVILLE — The Rev. Dave Pivonka, TOR, and Bob Rice of Franciscan University of Steubenville have joined forces on “They That Hope,” a new weekly podcast launched that launched Sept. 30.

The co-hosts want to help listeners find “humor and hope in a crazy world” and to understand that “God is still present in the world and the Church is still holy and beautiful,” said Pivonka, president of the university.

Drawing on more than 20 years of friendship and decades of experience in Catholic ministry, he and Rice talk about sports, movies, politics, the church, and their own lives, trying to find Christ in all things, even in the messiness of today’s culture.

In their first episode, “A Jar of Roses,” they discuss the friendship between Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the meaning of Christian hope, what can be learned from the calling of St. Matthew — and determine that Pivonka doesn’t know what a vase is.

Their second episode, “Let the Friar Fall,” touches on the Amy Coney Barrett nomination, high school football and how Franciscans celebrate St. Francis.

“The podcast is a conversation between two friends who love being Catholic and see hope and humor in the world that we want to share with others,” said Rice, the director of the university’s master of arts in catechetics and evangelization program.

Rice said the podcast’s title comes from Isaiah 40:31: “They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on eagles’ wings; They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.”

“Our goal is to renew our listeners’ strength so they can go back into a crazy world more confident of God’s love for them and more hopeful about what he is doing in their lives,” Rice explained.

“They That Hope” is available now at franciscan.edu/presidents-office/#podcast and on most major podcast apps.

Pivonka was elected the seventh president of the university in 2019. An international speaker, he directed Franciscan Pathways, hosting “The Wild Goose” video series on the Holy Spirit, a documentary on St. Francis of Assisi and “Metanoia,” a 2019 video series on conversion. He also has written six books, including “Hiking the Camino: Five Hundred Miles With Jesus,” “Breath of God: Living a Life Led by the Holy Spirit” and “Sign of Contradiction.”

Rice is a professor of catechetics at the university and well-known speaker and musician who leads worship for thousands of people every year, mostly through the Steubenville Adult and Youth Conferences. His books include “A 40-Day Spiritual Workout for Catholics.” He recently helped create the university’s music ministry minor program.

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