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Clarissa Aljentera :
7 article(s)

Clarissa Aljentera breathes in Chicago’s improv scene like fresh ocean air. Originally a newspaper journalist from California, she now works as the coordinator of adult faith formation and social media resources for the Office for Catechesis and Youth Ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Her writing has also appeared in America Magazine. Clarissa is also the author of The Parish Guide to Social Media, which is available on Amazon.
April 15th, 2014

It is easy to share the personal highlight reel of my life, but I will stutter if you ask me the last time I truly felt vulnerable. I enjoy being independent and do not ask for help from others unless I am put in a tough spot. The first time I purchased a car on my own my parents offered financial assistance, but instead of accepting their offer, I picked up extra jobs to save up. When I was in college, I paid for my own tuition with scholarships and by working part-time. Like many young adults, I take pride in my independence and find it jarring to be put in a position where I have to ask for help.
That all changed when I was in a car accident this winter. The wheels that carried me to work and social outings and on road trips were no more.…

September 9th, 2013
Tips for finding and getting involved in a new church home

Fall is often a time of new beginnings. You might be headed back to school or starting your freshman adventure. If you’ve recently graduated, you’re living on your own and settling in to a new work routine (or searching-for-work routine).
Our brains are in “back-to-school mode.” And generally, churches and campus ministries are following suit. They are rolling out the welcome mat and putting extra effort into inviting you back to church.
If you are new on campus or maybe looking for a church home after a move, take heart, you are not the only one on a spiritual quest. Here are a few suggestions to make your church search a little easier:

Look around your campus or neighborhood and see if there is a Catholic church…

August 1st, 2013

Warmer temperatures and longer days mean that summer exploration possibilities are endless. Adventure abounds each weekend with local festivals, picnics and trips to the lake. My inner child fondly recalls trips to the amusement park during the summer months. These particular adventures were rewards for good grades, or volunteering as a crossing guard or altar server all school year long.
As a teenager, my friends and I would get dropped off at the park and spend the entire day slurping down sugary drinks and riding rides. We would run from one ride to the next not thinking about the hours we waited in line to get our 90-second adrenaline fix. At the end of the day we would be exhausted, and our parents would ferry…

April 9th, 2013

Moving twice in my 30s has been difficult and wonderful all at the same time. The two moves resulted in new friends and new hobbies. They also came with fear and apprehension as I began again. Each move was to a different part of the country for the same reason: a fresh start.
The moving itself was quite unsettling and like many who move, the sooner I discovered routine, the smoother the transition would be. I turned to the practice of going to Sunday mass — something that has always grounded me. There was a familiarity in the ritual of mass. Finding a community to worship with regularly became as important as restocking my refrigerator. And both had to be done over and over.
It is like a modern tale of “Goldilocks…

August 27th, 2012

It is a constant struggle to try to find God and peace of mind in a city of almost 3 million people. Living in Chicago for two years has meant discovering unique ways to escape the rumbling elevated trains outside my apartment window and the bustle of foot traffic along Michigan Avenue heading to work.
I rely on public transportation to take me from point A to point B to point C and back to point A. When I lived in California I owned a car and getting away from the noise was much simpler. Finding God oftentimes meant taking a short drive with the windows open, blasting Coldplay through the car speakers, and gazing at the Pacific Ocean mile after endless mile. I inhaled fresh air and hit pause on my life during those drives. There…

May 18th, 2012

Let’s face it. We live in a loud world. Not the kind of loud that breaks the stillness of a bucolic spring day. This loudness emits upward through our iPhones and electronic tablets. It is the glowing screen showing off a friend’s party or Nicholas Kristoff’s Twitter feed announcing his latest column in The New York Times on Anheuser-Busch and Indian Reservations. Or how about the split second it will take to check in to that trendy lounge wine bar where your friends are headed.
We are easily tempted by the social networks that purport to connect us to friends near and far. Not only has it become a need to connect with people via Facebook, Foursquare, or Twitter but it comes seconds after we greet our friends with…

April 17th, 2012
Appreciating faith’s unscripted moments

These days, my spiritual life unfolds like it might on an improv stage. Both improv and spirituality have organic qualities, great depth and playfulness, too. And looking at my faith life through the lens of improv comedy helps me reclaim unscripted moments in new ways.
I began attending improv classes in Chicago as a new hobby. Some of the most basic rules of improv are that you have to listen, you have to be able to become a “yes and” person, and you celebrate your mistakes. In both my prayer life and improv, there are moments of uncertainty and a little bit of fear of what will unfold. I must listen to God, trust in what will unfold before me, and sometimes celebrate my mistakes.
I’m not Second City worthy yet or…

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