Built on the Rock

Built on the Rock Radio

Third Thursday Monthly: 8 – 8:30 a.m.

Hosted by Fr. Britto M. Berchmans and Sandra Labouvie, this 30-minute show will attempt to help listeners fashion their marriages and romantic relationships using the best insights of marriage experts, leading people to build their relationships solidly on the Rock that is Christ. The show uses wisdom from psychology, the well-tested insights of experts, real life experiences of couples and the well-considered observations of priests. There are healthy doses of humor, and at all times all our discussions are firmly rooted in our faith.


Thursday, December 1, 2016
Thomas Merton once wrote “No man or woman gets into heaven by himself or herself. We bring others in with us, or we are brought in by others.” We believed this quote described the relationship between George and Suzanne Kirkland, whom we interviewed in our last show. In this episode we reviewed in depth the discussion we had with this Catholic married couple. By being open to the working of the Holy Spirit in their lives, Suzanne brought George into full communion with the Catholic Church and George brought Suzanne into a deeper relationship with Christ. Their relationship with Christ continues to strengthen their relationship with each other and with the Catholic community of their parish. Speaking in plain language, George commented “I get joy from making her happy.” What a perfect description of a marriage that is built on the rock of Jesus' teachings of self surrender.


Thursday, November 3, 2016
There is an old expression that “God draws straight with crooked lines”. This can mean that our path to the Lord can take us in many different and unexpected directions until our faith life brings us into a fulfilling relationship with God. In this show, we interviewed George and Suzanne Kirkland who shared the different directions their lives took until they met and fell in love. It was then that Suzanne’s re-awakening of her faith brought George into a relationship with Christ and full communion with the Catholic Church. George explained that even though his path of conversion was based on an intellectual and rational approach, he nonetheless has become a passionate believer in the real presence of Christ and the power of the Word of God contained in the Scriptures. Together this couple contributes to the faith life of their parish.


Thursday, October 6, 2016
During the Rite of Marriage, the priest questions the couple to be married about their intention to be faithful to each other using these words: “Are you prepared, as you follow the path of Marriage, to love and honor each other for as long as you both shall live?” All couples in a Catholic marriage must strive to honor that promise. However, our society offers many temptations, and implicit approval of, infidelity. In this program we discussed fidelity in a marriage and ways to insure that infidelity does not happen in a marriage built on the rock of Christ’s teachings. Listen as Fr Britto provides five practical tips that will help couples uphold their vows “to be faithful to (each other) in good times and in bad… all the days of (our) lives.”


Thursday, September 1, 2016
In this program we reflected on the interview with Bob and Charlene Shaw from the previous show. The lessons we learned from this faith-filled couple were that husbands and wives need to be interdependent in a healthy marriage, that parents must fully realize the importance of being role models of the faith to their children and that “marriage is not 50/50, it is 100/100.” Couples who wish to build their marriages on the rock that is Jesus Christ would do well to follow the example of the Shaws.


Thursday, August 4, 2016
It has been said that love is “actively willing the good of the other.” In this episode we interviewed Bob and Charlene Shaw, a Catholic couple who have taken their love of God, and lessons learned in their family life, and turned it outward to a life of service and charity to the Church. Bob Shaw stated “Our foundation of existence is our belief in God. We’ve been blessed and we feel those blessings come from above. That’s why we give back.” Hear their relationship story that began in the Newman Center of Northwestern University and grew into a life of service to the Church both within their own parish as well as to the larger Archdiocese. The Shaws typify a marriage “Built on the Rock.”


Thursday, June 2, 2016
In “Amoris Laetitia – The Joy of Love”, Pope Francis writes that “Marital joy can be experienced even amid sorrow” (126). In this episode, we reflected on our experience of interviewing Diana and Joe Garvey on our previous show. This was a couple that gives witness to the Christian ideal that love never gives up. Both Diana and Joe had lost their spouses and, in sharing their grief with each other, their friendship grew into a marital love. We discussed this couple’s continuing respect for their previous partners while giving themselves permission to love each other and the process of still blending their new families and the “giving birth” to a call to parish ministry. The story of Diana and Joe is a Resurrection story: that through pain and grief, new life can emerge if you have “faith in God and faith in yourself (Joe Garvey)”.


Thursday, May 12, 2016
As Christians, we spend the Easter season reflecting on the mystery of the Resurrection and reminding ourselves that we believe in a God of “Second Chances”. When a husband and wife profess in their wedding vows that that they shall be together “all the days of our lives”, they never anticipate an untimely death that ends the marriage sooner than they would want. But that does not mean they have forever lost the graces and blessings of marriage. In this episode we interviewed Joe and Diana Garvey, a couple who lost their first spouses due to untimely deaths but then found each other. They shared how their relationship developed from a friendship between two people who could simply share their grief to a love that found its fulfillment in marriage. They also shared how their journey through grief became a calling to a bereavement ministry that they now experience together. They also provided tips on the practical aspects of merging two existing families into one new family.


Thursday, March 3, 2016
The focus of this show was exploring the relationship between mercy and forgiveness, particularly as it relates to marriage and family relationships. We are in the Year of Mercy that was declared by Pope Francis and through our Lenten journey we should be learning that showing mercy demands a stretching of the heart and an enlargement of love, empathy and grace. Forgiveness releases one from a past hurt or victimization and leads one to an experience of a Resurrection moment. We discussed the steps of forgiveness which include prayer, empathy, the grace of forgiveness and letting go of the ego, the commitment to forgive and the ability to hold onto the forgiveness. “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” All families need to practice the challenge of forgiveness.


Thursday, February 11, 2016
In this show we reflected on and discussed the importance of parents being “intentional” in the passing on of the Catholic faith. Building on the previous interview with Tim and Kristin O’Regan, we addressed the need for parents to not only be the role models of the faith but to also assume the obligation and responsibility for ingraining the faith into their family. We affirmed the O’Regan’s decision to always be “open to life” and the way they celebrate family life with their 6 children. We discussed Kristin’s comment that “my job (as wife and mother) is to get my family to heaven.” What would be a better job description for Catholic parents than that?


Thursday, January 7, 2016
For parents, raising children has many blessings and many challenges. One of the biggest challenges is to insure that they are “in the world but not of the world.” In this program we interviewed Tim and Kristin O’Regan, parents of 6 children, who are striving to be role models of our faith for their family. Kristin speaks about her primary responsibility of “getting her children in to heaven” and not always being their friend. As advocates of natural family planning, Tim and Kristin have tried to insure that they would follow God’s divine plan for their family. As parents of what might be considered a “counter-cultural”, large family, the O’Regans speak to God, faith and family as their priorities in life.


Thursday, December 3, 2015
In healthy marriages, couples look at themselves as “partners”. The derivation of that word is to be “part of.” Marriage partners are an intrinsic part of each others’ lives. In this program, we examined more closely some “success factors” that were offered by Terri Schmidt, the guest from our previous show. Specifically we discussed factors such as being emotionally connected, intellectually well matched and compatible in the approach to handling finances. In addition, we addressed the importance of compatibility in spirituality, the sense of humor and the couple’s approach to intimacy. Although nothing is guaranteed in our relationships, these ingredients would seem to create a recipe for a long-term, happy and emotionally healthy marriage.


Thursday, November 12, 2015
St. John Paul II declared that “the future of the world and the Church passes through the family.” And yet, families today must struggle against the tides of stress, “busyness” and commercialism. At no time is this more prevalent than during the holiday season. For this reason, we interviewed Terri Schmidt, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, who spoke about the challenges and risks to family life that she encounters in her private practice. In particular, she spoke about the importance for couples to be spiritually compatible, emotionally connected and sharing a healthy sense of humor. Pope Francis calls the family “the basic cell of society”. We must strive to keep it healthy.


Thursday, October 1, 2015
With the pressures and strains that are put on family life in our current culture, parents need to find role models for creating faith-filled, spiritually healthy families. In this episode we offered the image of the Holy Family as an excellent model for Christian family life. The young Jesus can teach us about sacrifice through obedience. Mary is the purest representation of prayerfulness and trust in the Lord. Joseph shows us the power of simple humility and service to the family. We concluded with Pope Francis’ suggestions for creating families of holiness: be families of love, forgiveness, care and prayer.


Thursday, September 3, 2015
In John 15:12-13, Jesus says “This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” In this episode we discussed the reality of self sacrifice, which is an essential element of a marriage that is built on the teachings of Jesus Christ. In the midst of a culture that proclaims “me first”, a Catholic family is built on love for another. Often this involves surrendering our ego and embracing the humility necessary to surrender to the needs of our spouse and our family. Sacrifice, which Pope St John Paul II described as “mutuality”, requires mutual respect , a vulnerability that allows letting go of control for the greater good of the family and the constant effort to love as Christ loves.


Thursday, August 6, 2015
The Catholic Church believes that the Sacrament of Matrimony contains three essential attributes: it is permanent, fruitful and faithful. In this episode, we discussed the threat to healthy, sacramental marriages that is posed by infidelity. Saint Pope John Paul II, in his catechesis on the theology of the body, emphasized that there is a “moral goodness” in marriage which is its faithfulness. Yet, in our culture, there is constant temptation to personally fulfill our every need, often at the expense of others. We forget that Thomas Aquinas said that “love is actively willing the good of the other” not of self. As God is always faithful to us, we need to strive for a covenant of fidelity in marriage. Suggestions were given to ensure that our marriages will be always faithful.


Thursday, July 2, 2015
In this episode, we discuss at length the interview from the previous show with Jennifer and James Brooks. This couple is giving living witness to the call of our faith to be servants for Christ. It was noted that this show aired just prior to Independence Day. In reality, our faith calls us to be dependent on God and interdependent on one another. We examined the importance of learning to balance our call to discipleship with the realities of work, family and marriage relationships. Jennifer and James shared how they cope with this added stress in their lives. They also described the transformative effect in their family after committing to the passion for serving. Jesus made it clear when he said “I have given you a model to follow, so as I have done for you, you should also do.” The Brooks family has learned to place their trust and dependence on God.


Thursday, June 4, 2015
In a recent tweet, Pope Francis wrote “The witness that comes from charity, which is to worship God and serve others, is what makes the Church grow.” In this program we interviewed a couple who are bearing witness to the command to love and serve God by loving and serving others. Jennifer and James Brooks shared their story of how their faith is the guiding force for their lives. In particular, Jennifer spoke about her discernment of a call to establish a ministry of service to others in her parish. In answering that call she began “The Servants of St Francis”, an organization dedicated to serving others both within the parish as well as outside of its boundaries. She gave examples of the large number of volunteers and services projects that have grown from this ministry. James and Jennifer also talked about how they protect their marriage while living their very busy and challenging lifestyle.


Thursday, May 14, 2015
In this episode we recognized the great challenge that is everyday married life. Divorce rates are still high even among Catholic couples seemingly well prepared for married life. We identified three principal threats to a successful marriage: choosing the right person, lack of commitment and lack of effort. We then addressed two approaches that might help sustain and strengthen marriage. First, couples need to give their marriage PEPP (Primacy, Empowerment, Protection and Prayer). Second, couples should learn to communicate with each other the way they pray to God: Praise, Contrition, Thanksgiving and Petition.


Thursday, April 2, 2015
In the encyclical Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis writes “Parents are called…not only to bring children into the world, but also to bring them to God.” In this program we discussed our interview with Matt and Barb Spiewak, a couple who is striving to bring their six children to a life of faith. We learned that Matt and Barb were both seeking a partner who was Catholic. Upon meeting and falling in love, they committed to making Jesus Christ the center of their lives. They have been trying to live out that commitment in their time together as family whether on vacation, during mealtime or weekly Mass. Matt and Barb freely admit that their life and their children are not perfect but they see their blessings. Blessings that have come from their commitment to each other and to Christ.


Thursday, March 5, 2015
On this program we interviewed Dr. Matthew and Barbara Spiewak, parents of six children, two of whom have special needs. They shared the challenges of their efforts to balance his medical career with their desire to have a family that is built on a strong Catholic faith. Their commitment to adoration has been a source of strength for them. You will smile when you hear their attempts at the family Rosary time as well as their “date nights” at the kitchen table when the children are in bed. The Spiewak’s give witness to Psalm 127: “Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build.”


Thursday, February 12, 2015
This program concluded the extended discussion on conflict management in marriage by focusing on forgiveness. In the prayer that Jesus taught us, we are instructed to “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” The wisdom of the book Five Steps to Forgiveness by Dr. Everett Worthington was discussed. The program concluded with the understanding that the infinite mercy and love of God empowers us to “let go of our ego” and to forgive others.


Thursday, January 1, 2015
This program was the third installment on the shows dealing with conflict management for married couples. Every couple faces the challenge of conflicts and disagreements. The secret to success is to understand some rules for fighting fairly and with love and respect for each other. It has been said “Don’t waste a good fight by not leaning from it.” Eight rules for fighting were discussed. Talking about your feelings not your spouse’s faults, sticking to one topic, listening with all your powers and remembering that you are on the same team were some of the suggestions. Using physical abuse to resolve conflicts is never tolerated or accepted. Additional resources were also provided.


Thursday, December 4, 2014
In continuing our discussion about the importance of healthy conflict resolution in marital relationships, we specifically addressed six warning signs of unhealthy communication habits that can lead to continuing strife in a marriage. The concept of a “harsh start-up” is usually a precursor to conflict. In addition, criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling are considered the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” for marital relationships. Finally, the concept of “failed repair attempts” was discussed. Couples who see these behaviors in their marriage should work to break this cycle of negativity.


Thursday, November 13, 2014
On this show we examined the interview we conducted with Tony and Mary Stallone. We felt that this couple gave positive witness to the way couples can grow in their relationship by learning to disagree in an agreeable way. Even though the Stallones got off to a rocky start in their marriage, their commitment to their faith in God and in each other, their sense of true partnership and their ability to see the humor in their life situations strengthened the bonds of the marriage. We began to examine the research of Dr John Gottman and discussed the first of four behaviors which signal unhealthy marriage relationships. Our next show will continue exploring this research and discuss the remaining three signs.


Thursday, October 2, 2014
Few, if any, marriage relationships avoid moments of conflict between husband and wife. In fact, the secret is not to avoid conflict but to learn how to manage it and build a healthier relationship because of it. In this show we interviewed Tony and Mary Stallone, a couple who has been happily married for 33 years. One of the secrets of their marriage is the way they have learned to argue and resolve their conflicts. This couple shared their experiences and offered their suggestions for how to fight fairly and lovingly and maintain a sense of humor in the process.

A Call to Greater Faith

Thursday, September 4, 2014
On this show, we elaborated on our interview with Kirke and Missy Machon. After 33 years of a successful and happy “mixed marriage”, Kirke decided to come into full communion with the Catholic Church through the RCIA. Just as Kirke was encouraged by the gentle promptings of his father-in-law, so Jesus calls us to be evangelizers. We also discussed Missy’s “re-Confirmation” of her adult Catholic faith and how Kirke embraced the Eucharist and the Social Ministry of the Church. Their journey of faith strengthened their marriage. Their story reminds us that parents are the first and best teachers of the faith for their children.


Thursday, August 7, 2014
On this program, we interviewed Kirke and Missy Machon, a couple who recently took a faith journey which resulted in Kirke coming into full communion with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil. Kirke was raised Presbyterian and Missy was raised Catholic. For the first 32 years of their marriage they practiced separate religions until Kirke discerned a call to learn more about Catholicism. In this show, Kirke and Missy describe what this journey was like for both of them in the past, how it impacted them during the RCIA process and how their marriage has been changed by this conversion.


Thursday, July 3, 2014
This show addresses one of the fundamental differences between men and women: the manner in which they communicate. Communication for men is based on the need for respect and power. Women, on the other hand, are motivated by a need for connection. When women communicate they are sharing intimacy, emotions and seek a sense of connection. This show contains suggestions as to how one may strengthen a marriage relationship by understanding these differences. For, without love, a wife acts without respect and without respect, a husband reacts without love.

Good Grief

Friday, June 6, 2014
In this show, we reflected on our interview with Jim McCambridge, a faith-filled Catholic husband and father who tragically lost his wife, Maureen, a short five days after she contracted strep throat. Central to this discussion was an exploration of the subject of grief. We grieve because we have lost something we love and treasure. But we need to journey through our grief knowing that God is with us at all times. “Blessed are they who mourn for they shall be comforted” (Mt 5:4). We also addressed positive ways to deal with grief always knowing that the miracle of the Resurrection gives us hope.

Surviving the Storms of Life

Thursday, May 1, 2014
The Easter message is that pain, hardship and even death itself do not triumph. The Risen Christ has overcome all the darkness of life. Our suffering can be redemptive and transformative if it leads us closer to Jesus. In this episode we interviewed Jim McCambridge, a faith-filled husband who suffered and endured the loss of his spouse, Maureen. Jim gives witness to where God was during this time and where he is even now. His testimony gives married couples an example of what it means to have your "house built on the rock" of Christ and how it can survive the storms of life (Mt 7: 24-25).

The Role of Parents

Thursday, April 3, 2014
In this episode we discussed the role of parenting in healthy families that are built on the teachings of Christ. We looked at statistics that identified the increasing number of cohabitating couples and unmarried couples raising children. This is an alarming societal trend. We then discussed the role of parents as "gardeners" who can nurture and protect their children but realize that that they belong to God and "bloom" in God's time. Parenting is a most difficult responsibility and requires God's grace.

Building on the Rock

Thursday, March 6, 2014
In this show, we discussed our reflections on the previous interview conducted with Mary and Matt Englert. Mary and Matt are a newly married couple who are striving to build their marriage and relationship on the teachings of Christ. We were impressed with the importance of faith and family in their lives. In particular, the witness of faith that their parents provided them strengthened Mary and Matt in their decision not to cohabitate before the wedding. We also affirmed the role of prayer, communication, commitment and selflessness in this couple's effort to sustain a marriage that is for life.

Getting Off to a Good Start

Thursday, February 13, 2014
In this show, we interviewed Matt and Mary Englert, a young couple who have been married for only 7 months. This couple gave compelling witness to a marriage built on the rock that is Jesus Christ. From the role that prayer played in bringing them together to their their faith-inspired decision not to co-habitate before their marriage, this couple uses their faith in God and love for each other guide them through their relationship and the early stages of their married life.

The Holy Family A Role Model

Thursday, January 2, 2014
In this show we discussed how married couples can use the Holy Family of Nazareth as a role model for family life. The significant lessons that we can learn from Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus arise not so much from their "perfection" as from their "holiness". Our families are holy when we all strive to stand open to the will of God. Joseph and Mary did all in their power to provide a safe haven for God made man. We should strive to do the same.

Spouses and Partners Continued

Thursday, December 5, 2013
On this show, we discussed the importance of a healthy partnership as an essential ingredient for a happy marriage. Based on our previous conversation with Dan and Mary Hogan, a happily married couple who are also successful co-workers, we touched on respect, communication and trust. We identified the need for space in the relationship as well as the importance of role modeling in creating healthy families built on the rock of Christ's teachings.

Spouses and Partners

Thursday, November 14, 2013
We often hear that spouses cannot work together. The couple that we interviewed in this show, Dan and Mary Hogan, prove that opinion wrong. Married for three decades, they clearly define roles and maintain a healthy marriage and an effective working relationship. The secret is always the readiness to communicate and compromise.

The Role of Children in Marriage

Thursday, October 3, 2013
On this show, we discussed the role of children in marriage from the interview with Karen and Chuck Maloney, the parents of five children. Children transform a marriage from “selfish” to “selfless”. Children are a blessing and a gift from God and parents’ efforts to make them God- centered truly builds that marriage on the Rock. The primary goal of parenting is to get our children to heaven. The sacrifice parents make in raising their children is also their reward.

Faith and Family Relationships

Thursday, September 5, 2013
The Archdiocese of Chicago has identified this year as The Year of Strong Catholic Parents. Faith filled parents create faith filled families. We were pleased to welcome Karen and Chuck Maloney, who strive on a daily basis to give witness to their faith while raising a family of five children. Our discussion included how these parents balance family responsibilities with attention their their relationship as husband and wife. Through their faith, family rituals and relationships, this couple is striving to raise "God first" children in a "me first" culture.

Reflecting on Marriage Commitments

Thursday, August 1, 2013
Our conversation with Bob and Chris Maszka was rich with spiritual insight and focused on three basic points: perseverance, prayer and sacrifice. To make a marriage last fifty years takes a lot of hard work. To persevere one has to practice a lot of patience and make many sacrifices. Perseverance is possible only when God becomes the center of the marriage relationship. Such a marriage is truly built on the Rock.

Marriage Commitments

Thursday, July 4, 2013
As we celebrate the Fourth of July, our minds turn to our independence. We are proud of our heritage as Americans because our republic is 236 years old. This show talks about marriage commitments that last a long time. We are in conversation with Bob and Christine Maszka who are celebrating fifty years of marital bliss. Their secrets to marriage longevity include: sacrifice, love, faith in the Lord, and a deep devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.

Sense of Humor in Marriage

Friday, June 7, 2013
In this show Fr Britto was joined by Deacon Bob Bulger who replaces Sandy Labouvie as co-host. Following our usual practice, we unpacked the insights shared by our guests at last month’s show: Paul and Chris Minasian. They basically called for a healthy dose of humor in marriage so that the spouses do not take themselves too seriously. The health of a relationship, they pointed out, can be gauged by the willingness of the partners to laugh together.

Don't Take Yourself Too Seriously!

Thursday, May 2, 2013
On this show, we had the pleasure of interviewing Paul and Chris Minaszian who shared with us how they are able to consistently infuse humor into their marriage relationship and their parenting. They try not to take themselves too seriously, and in the process, they are able to put problems in the perspective. We also said a sad goodbye to our cohost Sandy Labouvie, who will be taking a brief hiatus from our program. We wish her a speedy return to Built on the Rock!

Reflecting on Marriage as Partnership

Thursday, April 4, 2013
In this show, we discuss at length some of the great insights that were offered by our guests Deacon Bob and Kathy Bulger. Our focus was on marriage as partnership, and what an amazing example these two are! Among the great insights they shared with us, one that stood out was how they incorporated the Paschal Mystery into the ups and downs of married life. Just as Christ had to die and then rise again, marriage too sometimes goes through those death moments which always end in resurrection when they stand the test of time.

Marriage as Partnership

Thursday, March 7, 2013
In this segment of Built on the Rock, we were blessed to interview Deacon Bob and Kathy Bulger about their insights on marriage as a partnership. Bob and Kathy have been married for 39 years, and have raised two daughters. Throughout their years of marriage, they have learned that by tapping into each others' strengths, and supporting each other in their experiences, they have been able to keep a healthy partnership alive in their marriage. We will unpack their insights in our April show.

Affirmation and Appreciation in Marriage

Thursday, February 14, 2013
Unpacking our prior show's conversation with John and Shannon O'Brien, we delve deeper into the role that affirmation and appreciation play in healthy marriages and relationships. Learning what your spouse needs is the first step in affirming them. It is critical that spouses learn each other's "Love Languages."

Affirmation and Appreciation

Thursday, January 3, 2013
In this segment, the co-hosts, Fr Britto Berchmans and Sandy Labouvie, interview another great couple, John and Shannon O'Brien. The objective of the interview is to discuss the role of affirmation and appreciation in keeping a marriage healthy. John and Shannon have been married for 15 years and as the discussion demonstrates, have learned to appreciate and affirm each other all the time. They communicate in the particular "love language" that the other needs.

Reflecting Upon Prayer and Sprituality in Marriage and Family Life

Thursday, December 6, 2012
In our first show, we interviewed Andrew and Colleen Billing who shared with us many insights on how they've successfully built their 20-year marriage, keeping Christ at its center. Reflecting upon the insights they shared, we will provide listeners with very tangible steps that they too can incorporate into their marriages and relationships that will help root them firmly on the rock that is Christ Himself.

Prayer and Sprituality in Marriage and Family Life

Thursday, November 1, 2012
The first show focuses on the role of prayer and spirituality in marriage and family life. We interviewed a couple, Andrew and Colleen Billing, who have been married for twenty years. Their insights into the centrality of prayer can be helpful for many couples and those ideas will be the focus of our December show.


Monday, May 21, 2012
Demetra Willis spoke with us and shared her investment opportunities for listeners and a few wise words for listeners looking an opportunity to grow financially and spiritually
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