We’re Still (Trying to Be) Holy in NZ; Funny Should Resume Next Week

Our Lady Undoer of Knots art

Our Lady Undoer of Knots


If you came expecting post-Easter humor, you’re a week too early.

This week, friends and neighbors, features the Eucharistic Convention, a major Catholic event that we’ve helped organize for years.

Before you flee in horror, check these people out.

Bob and Freda Narev – When Bob “Narewczewitz” was nine years old, “home” to him and his mother was the horrific Theresienstadt concentration camp in Poland. When they were liberated in 1945, Bob was one of only 150 children who made it out alive. Freda, from an Orthodox Jewish family, spent the last years of the war hiding on a farm, “living as a Catholic” to escape the Nazis. Bob and Freda somehow made it to New Zealand, met, raised a family and received the highest awards possible for service to the Jewish and general communities.

Roy Schoeman was born outside of New York City to Jewish parents who had survived the Holocaust. Roy received his Jewish education and formation under some of the most prominent Rabbis in contemporary American Jewry. He went to MIT and then Harvard Business School, where he received an MBA magna cum laude. He joined the Harvard faculty and quickly became a ‘rock star’ professor of marketing. He lost his faith, but then had several supernatural experiences (sort of falling into Heaven), and eventually converted to Catholicism. His first book for Ignatius Press, Salvation is from the Jews: The Role of Judaism in Salvation History, was a surprise best-seller.

Leah Libresco doesn’t have a Jewish connection, but her I.Q. might rival Roy’s. Leah was so famous for being an Ivy League atheist blogger that her conversion to Catholicism three years ago, after she graduated from Yale, was covered by CNN. Today, she works as an editorial assistant at The American Conservative by day, and by night writes for Patheos.com about theology, philosophy and math. The self-proclaimed “geeky convert who picks fights in good faith” also writes about myriad spiritual matters on her “Unequally Yoked” blog. Leah still remembers being shocked to meet “smart Christians” at Yale. “My idea of a Christian was the Young Earth Creationists, and now I was meeting people who not only were converts to Russian Orthodoxy and math majors, but they thought the beauty of mathematics was evidence for God.”

Claire Culwell didn’t have to dodge the Nazis or undergo a miraculous spiritual awakening. Just being alive is her miracle. Six years ago, Claire learned that her birth mother was forced to have an abortion at age 13. Claire’s twin was aborted, but she was “missed”. A month later, Claire was born, extremely premature. Although she was tiny and had several birth defects, she has grown up to be very BIG on life, and on her very own baby girl.

Perhaps the biggest miracle of all, is that the Eucharistic Convention has lasted 22 years in the very secular and Hobbity land of Middle Earth.

These events have been amazing spiritual retreats. You can’t swing a cat without hitting a miracle of some sort. Or a hobbit.

But we won’t get into that just now.

We will, however, explain that the image at the top (done in color pencil by the miraculous Missus) is “Our Lady Undoer of Knots”. Pope Francis is very big on this devotion.

So if you are in New Zealand this weekend, stop by. We’ll turn on the barbie, shout you a beer, and sneak you into the Convention.

Humor should return to Hogs next week, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, as Mom used to say.


Click here to read about a previous Convention speaker who was good mates with Mother Teresa. No kidding.

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