The National Catholic Review

Faith in Focus

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  • June 6-13, 2016

    I walked with my 12-year-old nephew that balmy June afternoon through the manicured green Georgian campus of the The Gilman School in Baltimore. My sister had already rushed ahead to find us seats; my brother-in-law was parking the car; and my young companion’s older brother and soon-to-be-Hoya was long gone to assemble with his fellows for the graduation ceremony. I supported Matthew as he limped along because of a tense Achilles tendon. Dressed in my best...

  • May 16, 2016

    I recently reconnected with a friend I had not seen in over a decade, since our oldest children were toddlers. When I asked what she was doing, she replied, “I’m just at home.” It turns out she is “just at home” raising three children, volunteering for multiple organizations and taking care of an ailing and widowed mother in a city four hours away. Her answer is surprisingly common. Often these days, if you ask someone what they do, and if they are not at the pinnacle of a revered...

  • May 23-30, 2016

    “In the year 2525 if man is still alive…” went the old song. Adapting it to Michigan today, the refrain would be: “In the year 2025, if Flint is still alive....” I certainly think that Flint is going to still be around a decade from now, but the key question is: “What will it—and other similarly distressed cities—look like?”

    In the life of a city, a decade can matter a lot. I was born in Detroit in February 1957, and it had a distinct look and flavor to it then...

  • May 9, 2016

    These days, when my family arrives at 9:30 a.m. Sunday Mass (usually fast-walking in just as our celebrant starts up the aisle), my husband and I can be relatively secure in the knowledge that we will make it through the service without incident. This was not always the case, and one Sunday morning, not long ago, those more capricious days were brought back to me.

    The woman in front of my family was heavily pregnant with her...

  • May 9, 2016

    In high school, I did not even know what a Jesuit was. One thing I did know: a fancy and expensive Jesuit school like Loyola Marymount University in California surely could not be for students like me. With its manicured lawns and breathtaking ocean views, I just knew students like me were not destined for life on the L.M.U. bluff. How could we ever afford it? As it turns out, I was wrong. Fortuitously, a mix of academic and need-based scholarships...

  • May 2, 2016

    The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people. – Martin Luther Kin g Jr .

    It has been just over two years since the abduction of close to 300 teenage schoolgirls in the town of Chibok, in northern Nigeria, by the radical Islamic group called Boko Haram. This horrible event and the nightmare associated with it continue to draw media attention and condemnation both in Nigeria and...

  • April 25, 2016

    Each time I visit her, my friend Mae says she had another dream about my son. She lives in the nursing home I visit on Sunday afternoons with the community of Sant’Egidio.

    “Come and take a walk with me,” Mae says my son tells her in the dream, putting his hand in hers and leading her outside, her bad leg somehow good again. Or he comes to her bedside and rests his head on her chest. “I love you, Mae,” he says in the dream,...

  • April 18, 2016

    My living in Section 8 housing was an accident. Hired late in summer, I had hoped to be situated close to the school before I started teaching. Only two miles from school I found a complex of older brick apartment buildings set among trees and hills, in a mostly suburban area. While the place was not ideal, the rents ran below 30 percent of my income—affordable. I toured the model apartment with the agent but was unable to see inside the unit I would inhabit...

  • March 28, 2016

    The Christos, for a skinny guy, sure was interested in good things to eat: he is constantly talking about bread and wine and oil and grain and seeds and vineyards, and he turns a hundred-some gallons of water into excellent wine, and he turns two fish (probably sardines) and five loaves of barley bread into so much food that 12 baskets of bread shards remain after 5,000 people have eaten, and he grills fish (probably St. Peter’s fish, or tilapia) and bread...

  • March 28, 2016

    When I retired after a career as a lawyer and a judge, I found myself confronting questions of identity and choice. Overnight, I went from feeling respected to feeling practically invisible. Who am I? What should I do? Facing these questions led me back to principles of Ignatian spirituality that I had first encountered in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius many years earlier. These reflections, in turn, convinced me that St. Ignatius has much to say to...