The Rosary Hour Podcast Newsletter
The Rosary Hour Podcast Newsletter
When I ‘grow up’ I want to be … an Expert in Humanity! Echoing Saint Pope John Paul II’s call to those who seek to know the human heart.

When I ‘grow up’ I want to be … an Expert in Humanity! Echoing Saint Pope John Paul II’s call to those who seek to know the human heart.

Audio Podcast #1 with Dr. Josephine Lombardi, St. Augustine's Seminary and Fr. Charles Nahm [PODCAST LENGTH: 46 minutes 59 seconds | Posted Oct. 22, 2023, 20h15PM, EST]


Love is patient, is kind: love envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed-up; Is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)1

We need heralds of the Gospel who are experts in humanity, who know in depth the hearts of the men of today, who participate in their joys and hopes, concerns and sorrows, and at the same time are persons in love with God.” 

-- St John Paul II, Address to the Symposium of the Council of the European Bishops’ Conference, October 11, 1985, n. 13.

“[We need people with] an understanding of the importance of the family and the domestic church and the need for proper formation and love and consistent early nurturing” -- Dr. Josephine Lombardi

“[The Rosary] is powerful weapon/tool to become better Christians and to imitate Jesus Christ through the intercession of Our Lady”

-- Fr. Nahm


22 October 2023

Dear friends in Christ:

Today we present to our growing newsletter subscribers the very first full audio podcast version of a Live Record discussion we thought was timely for this Sunday evening as we remember Karol Józef Wojtyła (born May 18, 1920, Wadowice, Poland and departed April 2, 2005), St. Pope John Paul II. Below is a link to his writings.

Dr. Tina Bailey has composed an introduction to this podcast below. We’ll post the separate segments as videos on the Digital Café when they are ready. Please enjoy this audio version and pray the Rosary every day.


The Rosary Hour Podcast Team


The Rosary Hour Podcast enjoyed visiting with theologian Dr. Josephine Lombardi2 at our Digital Café to talk about her book Experts in Humanity as well as Marian movements & pilgrimage. She enriches our series of conversations about Mary and the Rosary with her great wisdom and seminary teaching experience.  We were also joined in this discussion by Fr. Charles Nahm (PhD), a priest of the Opus Dei, and a great supporter of our podcast mission, who reflected on his experiences. 

What is an ‘Expert in Humanity’, anyway?  

Dr. Lombardi reminds us that St. Pope John Paul II called for not just theologians but ‘experts in humanity’, who seek to know the human heart, and the human experiences of our time – and that can be any or all of us as we seek to understand the spiritual, human and scientific factors that shape us.   A related course on pastoral counselling is also offered at the seminary.

The first half of the book is inspired by this entreaty to attend to our shared humanity. Lombardi reminds us that it is not self-centred to pursue self-knowledge and the ‘life skills’ needed to navigate challenges, conflicts and social structures – all the dimensions of how we function as humans in the world!  Formation includes the preparation to be ‘free in life’, with fewer emotional burdens.

“Some children are set up to be less free in life because they didn’t receive that formation…” resulting in conscience not developing as well as it should, and potentially creating behavioural or emotional struggles.

Understanding factors affecting the human heart can help us to allow God’s grace and healing. A final chapter on Grace as the greatest influence shows us that “even if we’ve been set up to be less free in life, God’s grace, love can make up for deficits in our early family of origin.”

How does grace emerge as the most important influence?

“Grace, simply put, is a free unmerited gift of supernatural strengthening and power”

-- Dr. Josephine Lombardi

Dr. Lombardi clarifies in our conversation the workings of God’s Love vs. His Grace, emphasizing that, “God is Love, and God’s love is everlasting, unconditional; we can never not be in a state of love because God is love and loves us…”  She goes on to explain that, “Grace, this free unmerited gift of supernatural strengthening and power, is given to us …when we receive the Sacraments, …when we receive the Eucharist,… and when we strive to do God’s will.”

“The Lord is with you”

We are given free will in which to respond to God and the great mystery of His Grace.  Yet, in times of difficulty, we are not alone.  Dr. Lombardi reminds us that when we strive to cooperate with God, we are strengthened by His power.  And Mary’s importance as a conduit of this strengthening and power is evident as the Angel Gabriel greets her with, “Hail, Full of Grace.”

In our talk, Dr. Lombardi references two great saints who teach us about God’s Grace.  St. Augustine states that, “Grace perfects our will”; in other words, with God’s grace we can be fruitful with our actions.  Similarly, St. Thomas Aquinas assures us that, “Grace perfects nature” such that no matter our early circumstances, we can be shaped according to His will. 

This is an important thread in Dr. Lombardi’s book, demonstrating that regardless of background, or inherited nature, formation of an active conscience and active will, and surrender to God’s Grace, is the greater force in how we develop.

Understanding Self and Others

Especially when the future of Humanity feels fragile, in times of environmental, social, political, or health crises, the understanding of self and others seems even more urgent.

There is a useful analogy in Experts in Humanity of a ‘spiritual cataract’, an area where our vision is clouded.  We achieve clarity by examining within, but without fear or despair, because God is with us to guide our spiritual evolution.

“God in His mercy and gentleness… will reveal those aspects of ourselves that we are ready to conquer… He knows our level of endurance and our emotional spiritual stamina” -- Dr. Josephine Lombardi

And if we are still hesitant to contemplate our own heart, to prepare ourselves to tend the hearts of others, we might consider that this process is inevitable.  We will encounter a full awareness of our actions, our sinfulness at the time of death – seeing All with our Creator through eyes of reason, mercy, truth.  Dr. Lombardi’s work joins in a call to action.  Why wait for afterlife to start this process of purgation, why not start now?  With her gentle theological and research-focused guidance, we are better prepared to undertake a journey of the heart, to grow in self-knowledge to better serve humanity.  When we are ready to see ourselves truthfully, we can then learn to accept God’s forgiveness, and to forgive ourselves as well.  

 “I want to know what it feels like to be in my presence.”

-- Dr. Josephine Lombardi

As we embark on a new School year, or experience any new beginning or milestone, we can reflect on Lombardi’s reminder that we are always, like St. Paul, becoming a ‘new creation’; we are not meant to be static in our spirituality or humanity.  It is God’s grace that guides us, she notes: 

“With God’s Grace, with every day, I can become the person He’s called me to be.”

Put on your armor!.

Dr. Lombardi also teaches a unit on the Cardinal virtues, as well as the supernatural virtues of Faith Hope & Charity which arm us for the challenges of our journey.  In our conversation, she explains these important habits and emphasizes that we can ask for the ‘helmet of salvation’ (hope) to protect our minds and the ‘breastplate’ of Faith and Charity to protect our hearts.  We are in need of contemplation and reliance on these ‘tools’ given that negativity and despair are such easy habits to fall into instead!

Fr. Nahm also speaks to the importance of practicing theological virtues (Faith Hope & Charity), which enable us to practice all related human virtues; and when faced with our limitations, to rely on with God’s grace, for He knows both our brokenness and our efforts to become better.  We must want to be changed, and then God sends the Grace we need.

Take up your Rosary!

The Rosary is also often described as a weapon in the battle against evil, and is among the precious ‘tools’ to aid us in aligning our journey with Mary and Jesus.

The Rosary is one of Dr. Lombari and Father Nahm’s favourite prayers.  She offers a useful strategy for meditating on the mysteries in connection to the crosses people are carrying today.  The Rosary helps to enter into Mary & Jesus’ experience and to remember they are with us in our struggles.

“I find that helps me to connect not only to Our Lady and our Lord and connect to the mysteries of our faith… to connect humanity to the mysteries of our faith; Our Lord is close to us, He is with us while we suffer.”

-- Dr. Josephine Lombardi

Fr. Nahm reminds us that St John Paul II said that “[praying] The Rosary is to contemplate the face of Jesus in the eyes of Our Lady”.  Like Father Nahm, we can take up our Rosary with the entreaty to Our Mother “to help me to enter into the contemplation of the mysteries and to contemplate Jesus as you have.”  He explains that in praying Rosary that way, we can be transformed and become more Christ-like, which is the purpose of Christian life on earth.  

“[The Rosary] is powerful weapon/tool to become better Christians and to imitate Jesus Christ through the intercession of Our Lady”

-- Fr. Nahm

Marian Study & Devotion

Dr. Lombardi also notes the strong devotion to Our Lady at the seminary, where all seminarians are required to take a seminar in Mariology; then another seminar on Patristic philosophy on Mary; a theology unit on Mary; and additional course on Mariology open to both seminarians and lay students.

Dr. Lombardi is also a documentary filmmaker, and her film, Our First Lady and Her Successors, was supported as a sabbatical project. Here is our link to some of that project here.

Spiritual Direction & Our Lady (PART 1 of 2)

Fr. Nahm in his pastoral involvement emphasizes how devotion to Our Lady becomes part of spiritual direction, often as part of an instinctive desire we have to turn to Mary which can be guided and strengthened.  We can trust all our needs to Our Lady!  There are many saints he acknowledges, but “she is the one that is the best intercessor for all our needs… we reach Jesus always through Mary.”

Our discussion also includes a useful explanation of spiritual direction; of which many Catholics may not be fully aware.  Much as the apostles had constant spiritual direction from Jesus and the Holy Spirit, we have access to His guidance through human intercessors. 

“What is Spiritual Direction? it is Jesus through the holy spirit guiding those souls to be better formed… all baptized Christians have the right to ask for spiritual direction”  

-- Fr. Nahm

In this discussion, Fr. Nahm reminds us that Spiritual Direction is not a privilege or luxury, but a resource that all of us can access to aid in our spiritual growth.  When we are ready to let ourselves be guided, Spiritual Direction is delivered through ‘human instruments’; not only priests but others with certain formation.  He explains that

“God uses human beings as an instrument to communicate his own …message individualized to the person’s own growth ; it is the act of the Holy Spirit himself; in other words we invoke the Holy Spirit as the sanctifier, the paraclete.”

Although digital recordings or books cannot replace individual spiritual counselling, the voices of Christian authors can help guide our journey.  Dr. Lombardi’s book, and others on our ‘virtual bookshelf’, as well as the thoughtful discussions we’ve had with all of our guests have enriched our team’s learning and we are privileged to share their wisdom more widely.

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Guest Biographies

Dr. Josephine Lombardi has held many roles in ministry, chaplaincy & education.  She is currently an Associate Professor at St. Augustine’s Seminary.  She is the series Theologian for the Religious Education elementary school resource for Catholic School Boards in Ontario, Alberta & Saskatchewan, in Canada.  And not least, she is an author and a documentary filmmaker, and today we’ll be talking a little about one of her books, Experts in Humanity, as well as The Experts in Humanity Project, and her film, The First Lady & Her Successors

Lovely to have you back with us at the Rosary Hour Podcast!

Father Charles Nahm is a spiritual director and a great friend of The Rosary Hour Podcast. He is a priest of the Opus Dei in the spirituality of Josemaría Escrivá. He works with many communities in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 

Interview team:

Tina is a wellness educator with a background in health research.  She loves sharing her passion for books, creative projects and the natural world with her 3 children. 

Zosia & Amelia, junior RHP members & members of the Children’s Rosary, supported this interview with questions for our guests about their holiday traditions.





Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition

The Rosary Hour Podcast Newsletter
The Rosary Hour Podcast Newsletter
This podcast explores the message of the most Holy Rosary so to encourage others to respond to the call of the Mother of God to pray the Rosary every day for peace in our hearts and peace in the world. Our guests have contributed to helping our listeners to rediscover the "why" behind our prayers, and also contemplate the Mysteries of the Rosary in the context of our daily lives.