Faith in Focus

  • April 21, 2014

    Our family of five recently moved into a brick castle atop a hill owned by my husband’s host family. Dima, my husband, came to the United States as a child, without his parents, played hockey and attended school while living with a family that has since become his own, and mine. Their generosity extends into every aspect of our lives. Last spring, as we prepared for Pascha, the Orthodox celebration of Easter, they readied our Paschal basket with sausage and...

  • April 21, 2014

    St. Ignatius suggests that in prayer we contemplate Jesus appearing after his resurrection first to the Virgin Mary. He explains: “Though this is not mentioned explicitly in Scripture, it must be considered as stated when Scripture says that he appeared to many others.” The meditation that follows imagines how that encounter might have unfolded.

  • April 7, 2014

    Donna appears at the front door every so often, not exactly a friend but more than an acquaintance. A teacher of sorts, I suppose. Like the time she asked me to loan her $20 for an emergency, and I came to learn that it really was not a loan at all, but more like a gift, minus the generosity.

  • March 24, 2014

    It is 8 a.m., and I am at Graterford, a state prison in Pennsylvania, standing in front of Stan Rosenthal. At 5 feet 6 inches and 150 pounds, with a kindly, almost angelic face and dark brown eyes that light up like lightning bugs, Rosenthal hardly looks like a hardened criminal.

  • November 4, 2013

    The U.S. Postal Service announced in February that it would discontinue Saturday deliveries. When members of Congress strongly protested, the post office suspended its plans, but the reprieve may be short-lived. Polls show that most Americans approve of cutting Saturday delivery.

  • October 28, 2013

    When I first learned in college about natural family planning, I was surprised by how exotic and marginalized it was as a family planning method. There was a stereotype that NFP is only for the most devout Catholics who were willing to have big families. There was also a common belief among those in the women’s movement that fertility awareness and NFP did not allow adequate sexual freedom for women, and was thus seen as outdated and limiting compared with “...

  • March 17, 2014

    I’ll tell you an anointing story. A priest told it to me. He had been in a war. The war, he called it. We didn’t think there would ever be another war after that war, he said. Too bad we were wrong about that. That would have been a great thing to be right about.

  • March 3, 2014

    On Ash Wednesday, the children’s service at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church lasts only half an hour. We designed this service to use language that is accessible to young people, but it sacrifices none of the elements of traditional worship.

  • February 24, 2014

    Some years before my father died, he and my stepmother moved into a retirement community, one of the nicer chains bordering Chicago. To help them downsize from their condo of 24 years, I spent an afternoon with my father in his “office,” going through the contents of a desk as teetering as the old man himself.

  • February 17, 2014

    About 10 years ago a fellow Jesuit put me in touch with the person in charge of booking all the entertainers for one of the major cruise lines. Her job includes managing the singers, the dancers, the jugglers, the magicians—and the priests. While I had long admired the large cruise ships floating in New York harbor, I had never been on one until I took on some part-time work as a cruise ship chaplain.