Brothers’ Banter is a podcast created and developed by two Catholic religious Brothers, Brother J.D. Macioce, FSC and Brother Rafael Rodriguez, FSC. The podcast features the ‘banter’ between the two De La Salle Christian Brothers engaging in conversation around religion, spirituality, current events, and all things Lasallian. The podcast premiered in October 2020 and is just shy of its 50th episode.
Below is an interview of Brother J.D.(JD will indicate his responses) and Brother Rafael (RR will indicate his responses).
Inspiration to Start
Were there any specific moments or experiences that led to the creation of your podcast?
JD: It really came out of COVID. We were sitting around Jeremy House (our community at the time) and felt like we were disconnected from students, from the people we serve, from other Brothers. We began kicking around the idea. It was toward the conclusion of our Postulancy, and we knew that Br. Rafael would be heading back to the West Coast for summer, and I’d be out East, we wouldn’t be back together until the Novitiate began. Once, the Novitiate began we asked for approval from our Novice Director and formators who approved the idea.
RR: At the time, we had the Brothers’ social media, Instagram, but there wasn’t a podcast with a Lasallian point of view, yet. Podcasts were all the hype- everybody was starting one and listening, and we thought we could find a niche among Lasallians and young people.
JD: We were asking ourselves what could we talk about? What is it that Lasallians, people of faith, want to learn and want to know about us, especially, as the Brothers who are often relatively unknown in the wider Church? How do we connect on a medium that is different, that young people- both students and colleagues- are comfortable with? Podcasts were really gaining popularity at that time.
We thought during the Novitiate there would be a lot of topics that we covered that would be interesting to share with a wider audience. The Novitiate gave us a space to reflect, and the podcast gave us an additional space to reflect on the content of our formation.
RR: Earlier this summer I was on an immersion trip with students and one of the moderators told me her first introduction to a young Brother was through our podcast.
Tell us about the conversational nature of the show and the title.
JD: It was a stroke of genius on my part. Having lived in community together for two years and most of it being during the pandemic, we spent a lot of time together, which has led not only to a positive relationship between us, but a comfort with talking with each other about just about anything. And that only comes after you get to know someone after a time together.
RR: For our Novitiate Director, the podcast never stopped. Once, our director was asked if he listened to our podcast, he said, no, he lived with it! (Laughter follows).
JD: We wanted it to be a personable conversation and we knew if it was going to just be the two of us, there were going to be plenty of jokes and jabs along the way. Banter- just seemed to be what our friendship is.
Surprises and Lessons Along the Way
What have been unexpected surprises or lessons learned?
JD: The first unexpected surprise, for both us, was when a young man who was discerning his vocation in Malta reached out- he said there aren’t many young Brothers in his part of the world, so he said it was very inspiring to have found our podcast.
The podcast service we use allows us to see where people are listening from. I remember being taken aback from where people are listening, places we didn’t have a presence, and people were listening. It was an unexpected surprise and moment of grace as well.
Grateful for the inspiration to make this and for the people who take time to listen to us and learn more about how our Lasallian charism is lived out through our point of views.
– Brother Rafael Rodriguez, FSC
RR: It was a humbling experience to know we were being listened to across the Atlantic and Pacific. There were countries that’d pop up and you’d be like ‘wow’ someone is listening. We went into it to have a good time, record it, and if our parent and immediate friends listened, we would have been happy. That it took a life of its own is incredible.
JD: That first episode we were very anxious. I think you can hear it in our voices. When I’m bored and want to torment myself, I go back and listen to that particular episode. I’m amazed at how we’ve grown and become comfortable with this, with sharing our conversations with others.
What have been significant episodes or interviews?
JD: The immense support we’ve gotten not only from our formators, but also from Brothers around the Region. We reached out to Brothers to spend some time with us. I remember interviewing Brother Lawrence Goyette, FSC, asking about the impetus behind him in founding the San Miguel School in Providence.
RR: Brother Kyle was the most memorable interview for me. He’s more reserved, so hearing his own vocation journey and after living with him, learning even more, it was a grace-filled moment. He’s an awesome Brother and an just awesome person.
JD: Another of the most notable guests was Brother Kenneth Curley. Having known him since I was in high school and along the way figuring out some of the similarities in our paths. To hear his perspective (and decades of experience) that I admired speak of struggles and challenges in discernment was eye-opening. We think others have it all figured out, but they too are flying by the seat of their pants. What they do have is an immense faith that everything works out and that I’m where I need to be, when I need to be there, doing what is needed of me. There is grace that come with that. I’ve yet to get there, but hope I’m fortunate enough to have that kind of grace in my life.
What are takeaways from your time creating Brothers’ Banter?
JD: One of the takeaways for me is the connectedness of the Institute. We are an internationally community and we’ve been privileged to see and experience it. The support we’ve received has been very heartfelt.
RR: Grateful for the inspiration to make this and for the people who take time to listen to us and learn more about how our Lasallian charism is lived out through our point of views.
JD: The first time my students found it here in Providence I could not for the life of me figure out where my own voice was coming from. And the next thing you know, I have a handful of students that choose to listen to it regularly because they enjoy it. I didn’t expect that kind of connection.
Follow Brothers Banter wherever you listen to podcasts
Discernment with De La Salle
What can the life of St. John Baptist De La Salle, founder of the Brothers, teach us about discerning God’s will in our own lives?
Novice Profile: Brother Rafael
Get to know Brother Rafael’s story from his first meeting the Brothers, to key moments in his discernment, and some fun facts.
Novice Profile: Brother J.D.
Learn about Brother J.D.’s background, his discernment journey, and some fun facts about his hobbies and interests.