About the show

The Heart of the Ark podcast is an initiative from the Office for Evangelization in the Archdiocese of Newark. We're coming to you to bring knowledge and courage as we voyage through this life as missionary disciples of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Hosted by Fr. John Gordon, Director of the Office for Evangelization and Secretary of Evangelization for the Archdiocese of Newark, and Jennifer Behnke, Associate Director of Evangelization, our aim is to help equip our listeners to better know, love and serve God.

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  • Episode 39: Ep 39: Alan Hommerding - "There are many gifts including yours. There are many gifts, not only yours."

    June 11th, 2024  |  43 mins 37 secs
    beauty, catholic, church, evangelization, goodness, ministry, mission, prayer, service, truth

    Jen speaks with Liturgical Composer, Hymn text writer and Senior editor at GIA Publications about the disciplines of writing and humility formed throughout a lifetime of ministry work. Alan once referred to himself rather dismissively as a "Catechist with a Rhyming dictionary", but has spent his career striving to bring the work of evangelization and mission to everything he does.

  • Episode 38: Teach a Sister, Touch the World - How Eucharistic devotion can transform the world.

    May 21st, 2024  |  35 mins 37 secs
    beauty, catholic, church, evangelization, goodness, ministry, mission, prayer, service, truth

    Jen speaks with Sister Marie Pauline Demek, SCC, President of Assumption College of Sisters in Denville, New Jersey about the work of Evangelization accomplished at ACS as springing from the founder of the Sisters of Christian Charity, Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt.

  • Episode 36: Ep: 36: Christ's love is perfect, mine is not - Planning your imperfect Lent

    February 7th, 2024  |  41 mins 1 sec
    alms, catholic, conversation, evangelization, faith, fasting, gospel, imperfect, jesus christ, lent, mercy, prayer, repentance

    This year, Christians observe Ash Wednesday as secular society celebrates Valentine's Day. The paradox of these two celebrations can help us understand the consolation of God's mercy. We give a brief history of the season of Lent, some biblical and liturgical considerations we will encounter, and the ways in which we can enter deeper into our journey toward an Easter of transformation.

  • Episode 35: Ep 35: Blessing your house with God's Love and Mercy - with Lisa Lawmaster Hess

    January 29th, 2024  |  54 mins 51 secs
    catholic, evangelization, family life, forgiveness, gospel, home, imperfection, jesus christ, love, mercy

    Jen interviews child psychologist, author, college professor and Catholic mom Lisa Lawmaster Hess about taking a Catholic view of organizing yourself and your family in love and mercy. Hess's book "Know Thyself: An Imperfectionist's guide to organizing your stuff" gives practical advice for accepting your own strengths and helping those who share your space work together to identify ways to make our homes places of functional sustainable organization by approaching each other in love and mercy.

  • Episode 34: Ep 34: Perfect Love Drives out Fear - Mercy House and Respect Life with Cheryl Riley

    January 16th, 2024  |  30 mins 15 secs

    Jen grabs a few moments with Cheryl Riley, director of the Office of Respect Life and Mercy House initiatives in the Archdiocese of Newark, in between her non-stop ministry to help women and families choose life. Cheryl's own healing came through Rachel's Vineyard retreats, which inform all of her work in ministry.

  • Episode 33: A Thrill of Hope for the weary world - Letting ourselves be loved as a child of God

    December 18th, 2023  |  27 mins 5 secs
    advent, carols, catholic, christmas, conversation, evangelization, gospel, holidays, jesus christ, ministry, prayer, repentance

    Fr. John and Jen sit down together again (finally!) for one last conversation of hope before Christmas.
    Fr. John gives us a surefire way to be renewed in hope and joy this Christmas by bringing our repentant hearts to the manger this year.
    Jen and Fr. John read from some of the carols of the season that give us strong theology for discipleship once we get past the well-known first verse.

  • Episode 32: Ep. 32 - Leading hope-filled lives: God and my vocation - with Fr. Gino de la Rama, and Fr. Patrick Seo

    December 1st, 2023  |  48 mins 58 secs
    advent, catholic, christmas, conversation, evangelization, family, gospel, holidays, jesus christ, prayer

    Jen has her first conversation with two guests, Fr. Gino de la Rama Vocations Director for the Archdiocese of Newark, and Fr. Patrick Seo, Associate Vocations Director, about how to keep the door open for the young people in your life to consider their calling whether it be to marriage, clergy or religious life.

  • Episode 31: Ep 31 - Prepare your thankful heart

    November 21st, 2023  |  20 mins 45 secs
    catholic, christmas, conversation, evangelization, family, gospel, holidays, jesus christ, prayer, thanksgiving

    Fr. John recently attended a prayer meeting with a reflection led by Fred Bunsa. In the midst of all of your holiday preparation this week, we offer a 20 minute practical guide to give the gift of hope to the people whom you spend time with at Thanksgiving.

  • Episode 30: Hope for the Holidays: Finding Light at the Darkest time of the year - with author Paul Jarzembowski

    November 8th, 2023  |  48 mins 18 secs
    advent, catholic, christmas, conversation, evangelization, family, gospel, holidays, jesus christ, prayer

    Jen interviews Paul Jarzembowski, author and Associate Director for the Laity, oversees USCCB engagement with lay ministry, ecclesial movements, youth, and young adults. Paul's book 'Hope for the Holidays' (Paulist Press 2023) offers practical advice for welcoming our holiday visitors back to church, using the secular narratives of the season to draw connections with the unchurched, and a personal and pastoral plan to work to accompany visitors to finding renewed hope in our Catholic church.

  • Episode 29: Ep 29: A monologue about dialogue - Relationship, trust and spreading the Gospel

    October 10th, 2023  |  24 mins 41 secs
    catholic, conversation, evangelization, gospel, jesus christ, kerygma

    Jen shares some thoughts about a year of conversations on the Heart of the Ark podcast, and the role of conversation and dialogue in Evangelization.

  • Episode 28: Ep 28: The Artists way and the Synodal Way with Eric Hunter

    October 10th, 2023  |  35 mins 22 secs
    catholic, conversation, evangelization, gospel, jesus christ, kerygma

    Jen speaks with Eric Hunter, pianist, teacher and composer, about the ways in which an artist's outlook and a disciple's outlook overlap. Eric is the composer of our theme, which has been expanded to a full work and has marked a big change in his compositional voice.

  • Episode 27: Ep 27: Music as Evangelizer, Liturgy as Catechist - with Richard J. Clark

    September 1st, 2023  |  54 mins 52 secs

    Jen is joined by Richard J. Clark, eclectic musician — composer, conductor, organist, pianist, and songwriter. He is the Director of Music of the Archdiocese of Boston and the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. He previously served for twenty-eight years at St. Cecilia Parish, Boston. At the age of twenty-three, he was appointed Director of Music in 1992 after serving as Organist since 1989. He has also served as Chapel Organist (Saint Mary’s Chapel) at Boston College from 2004-2020.