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Nicole Sotelo :
16 article(s)

Nicole Sotelo writes from the Boston area.
November 19th, 2008
A financial advisor and a scripture professor offer advice on how to navigate the current economic crisis

Whether it is the rising cost of your weekly grocery bill, water cooler rumors about layoffs or the nightly news, everyone is reminded about the downturn in the economy on a daily basis. Last month, the Pope was quoted as saying, “We are now seeing, in the collapse of major banks, that money vanishes, it is nothing.” While that may be true on a spiritual level, money is an inescapable aspect in our daily lives. If money vanishes, so does our ability to feed, clothe and house ourselves.
For most of our generation, this is our first experience of a global financial crisis. What should the government do? What should we do as Christians? Busted Halo interviewed Timothy Sandoval, a professor of the Hebrew Bible…

December 18th, 2007
A Modern Pagan Talks about Solstice, Christmas and the Spiritual Search

“I hope I’ll get it as a gift for Solstice,” said Andrea Bunch at a recent party when talking about a bottle of wine she had laid eyes on. Solstice is December 21st, the shortest day of light in the year and it is celebrated by Pagans and NeoPagans around the world. Andrea, 31, is a teacher in Chicago, an accomplished musician with two albums, and a NeoPagan. Before you start thinking only about broomsticks and the Salem Witch Trials, think again; our interview with Bunch answers everything you ever wanted to know about Pagan spirituality but were afraid to ask.
BustedHalo: Were you raised with a particular faith or religion?…
Andrea Bunch: Not specifically, but [my family] went to a Unitarian church.

October 4th, 2006
The feast of St. Francis and the blessing of the animals

CNS Photo
Americans love their pets. More than 63 million households have one and the numbers are on the rise. We take our animal companions on walks, to the beach and on family trips. But have you ever taken your pet to church?
October 4th is the feast of St. Francis. On this day, Catholics across the globe carry their pets to church as part of the traditional blessing of the animals.
Franciscan Brother Joseph Wood notes “it is believed that it was not St. Francis, but Anthony of the Desert” who originally began the tradition of animal blessings in the first or second century in Italy. He said it was only centuries later that the Church changed the ritual to the feast of St. Francis.
Wild Thing
St. Francis was…

April 7th, 2006
An interview with CIA veteran Ray McGovern

Ray McGovern served God and country for 27 years as a member of the CIA by keeping his work secret. Today, along with a group of other Intelligence veterans, he tells the truth about the corruption of US Intelligence gathering to anyone who will listen.
When he graduated Fordham University during the height of the Cold War, he decided to put his degree in Russian studies to use with the CIA in the fight against the “godless Communism” of the USSR. His work called him to Moscow, Germany and back to the United States. Along the way he also studied at Harvard Business School and Georgetown University. In his later years of service, he was one of two men in charge of then Vice President George H.W. Bush’s…

January 4th, 2005
An anorexic/bulimic finds nourishment and healing in her faith

Having just binged and purged, Kelly Raths remembers “literally pulling my head out of a toilet so I could go do youth group and be this vivacious person that people depended on for their kids.” Kelly, a former youth minister at her Montana Methodist Church, has lived a sacred struggle with food and faith for 12 years.
Kelly recalls months when she would spend Friday night in the local hospital on suicide watch only to force herself back to church on Sunday for her work with the youth group. Church, a place where the Last Supper is celebrated and communities share fellowship over cakes and cookies, can be a devastating place for women who struggle with disordered eating, commonly known as “eating…

January 2nd, 2005
The Reiki ministry of Sister Claudine Picard, RSM

This time of year, we promise to strip inches off our waist, build muscle on our upper arms and paint our teeth white. But Sister Claudine Picard, a small woman with fairy-grandmother curls and gentle eyes has a different New Year’s resolution suggestion: attend to your “universal life energy,” otherwise known as Reiki.
After 55 years of ministry as a math teacher, AIDS counselor and parish pastoral associate, Sr. Claudine may seem like an unlikely advocate for a healing technique based on the existence of a “spiritually guided life force energy.” But this Catholic Religious Sister of Mercy has witnessed firsthand the benefits of this ancient hands-on healing ministry and…

October 1st, 2004
Religion Is in Fashion for Campaign '04

“I can assure you in my talks with God, He is not a registered member of the right wing of the Republican Party.”
– Presidential candidate Al Sharpton, a Pentecostal minister, during a December debate.
Religious speech is in vogue in politics. It also helps (check the statistics) if you are a tall, Caucasian male.
“We’re in a religion fad now,” said Alan Wolfe, director of the Boston College Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life in a recent edition of NCR. He reminds us that “nobody really remembers FDR’s religion, or George H.W. Bush’s for that matter, which is different from his son’s. The only time John Kennedy mentioned his religion…

September 10th, 2004
One young officer's view from the frontline in Iraq.

Still dusting the sand off recent memories of his 15-months in Iraq, 26 year-old First Lieutenant Jeff Hurd of the US Army’s Second Armored Cavalry Regiment, talks to BustedHalo about media coverage of the war, the embattled city of Najaf, the people of Iraq, God and steak.
BustedHalo: Over here in the states we get a certain view of what is going on over there. Can you give us your first-hand account of what is happening?
Jeff Hurd: What they’re covering is accurate, but they’re not covering a lot of it. Most of what you see is fighting and how many soldiers died today. There is a lot of public relations going on over there that the media isn’t covering from what I’ve seen so far…. Each…

August 7th, 2004
Young, Gay Catholics struggle to reconcile faith and sexual identity

Looking forward to a summer wedding, 28 year-old Ashley Dumas carried her wedding dress out of the closet and hung it on the door for all to see. Her partner, 26 year-old Jamie Levine, and their friends admired the gown for its simple linen cloth.
However, coming out of the proverbial closet has been anything but simple for this lesbian couple. Levine, a nursing student living in Massachusetts, remarked that “it is going to be a legal marriage now and it’s really stirred up my whole family.”
Levine’s family is not the only one that is “stirred up” about gay sexuality. The Catholic family as a whole also struggles with how to include its gay members within the faith tradition.…

July 18th, 2004
Amidst protest the Archdiocese of Boston attempts to close 65 parishes.

“This was nothing but a war zone,” said 30-year old Sixto Merced to a local Boston newspaper, “Church was the only place that you could go that was safe.” Sixto knows what it’s like to have a second chance at life after having survived the violent streets of his inner-city Roxbury neighborhood. St. Mary of the Angel’s youth group offered him a sense of belonging that kept him from joining the local gangs. In his neighborhood where many youth don’t graduate from high school, Sixto got his diploma and went on to become a neighborhood police officer. Now he and hundreds of other church members are back in the streets, this time struggling to save the life of the church that…

May 10th, 2004
Celibacy as Spiritual Practice

You may not envision being called into relationship with God through a classified ad.
Nevertheless, perhaps God is calling you to live the vocation of singlehood—that is, the vocation of celibacy, of intimate union with the Divine.
‘This is celibacy calling, will you accept the charges?’
Single male (at least in portraits) seeks committed relationship with a beloved. Likes music, long walks on the beach. Seeking friends first, maybe more? You: Single, young Catholic, playful, sense of humor, open to adventure.
As young Catholics we hear about the “calling”to religious life and the “calling” to marriage, but rarely do we hear about the calling to be single, or celibacy.…

February 19th, 2004
Sacramental Somersaults Show An Openness to Change

All marriage as moral danger?
“Nothing is so powerful in drawing the spirit of a man downwards as the caresses of a woman,” St. Augustine said in the fifth century. Like many spiritual thinkers of his time, St. Augustine did not believe in the sacredness of sexuality or of women—let alone marriage.
Today you might hear something similar said about the moral dangers of gay marriage drawing down the sacred spirit of heterosexual marriage in our society. However, since the Catholic Church has so thoroughly changed its opinions on heterosexual marriage since the time of St. Augustine, one speculates if the Church might one day adapt its teaching to welcome gay members to the sacrament of marriage.…

February 1st, 2004
A young Christian reflects on the tsunami and the death of a friend.

“I don’t have words to explain how I feel. Please pray, that’s all I can ask,” said the e-mail that my friend and classmate Devaka’s mother sent to loved ones after hearing about the death of their long-time friend, Tamara Mendis (pictured left), in the tsunami disaster.
Tamara had been traveling over the holidays with her 23 year-old daughter, Eranthie, from the United States back to her ancestral home in Sri Lanka. They were on a train north of Galle when the first wave swept across the coast.
“People inside the train started panicking and screaming and water started coming inside the train. And I was standing closer to the door and I was trying to close the door but the water…

January 24th, 2004
For the Spiritually Curious with a Limited Budget

I boarded a bus in Washington, DC, complete with wailing children, frustrated parents, and a man be-bopping to the loud music on his earphones for the entire four-hour trip to Atlantic City—where I would change buses to ride another two hours sitting next to Mr. Be-Bop himself.
When you don’t own a car, the bus becomes a regular form of transportation that doesn’t guarantee on-time departure or arrival, clean restrooms, or air conditioning. But it always guarantees an unexpected journey that leads me exactly where I want to be. This time, my destination was a spiritual retreat…budget style.
Choose Your Own Adventure
I’ve had my fair share of budget retreat experiences—everything…

January 13th, 2004
A Catholic's Foray into the World of Buddhist Meditation

My body screamed: “I’ve only had four hours of sleep!”
But at 6:30 in the morning, some inner yearning drew me from my flannel sheets into the snowy winter morning. Looking back at last winter, I am surprised that anything could get me out of bed when it was 20 degrees outside, but I am even more surprised that—as a life-long Catholic—I woke up at 6:30 every morning to encounter God at a Buddhist Meditation Center.
Jesus didn’t head to a meditation center to commune with God. But he did take time out of his busy ministry to pray or meditate and draw closer to God. Jesus spent 40 days with God in the desert at the beginning of his ministry when “the Spirit immediately drove him out into…

January 12th, 2004

Kim Schiel remembers swimming with her Catholic friends during college and noticing a row of scabs on the upper thigh of one of the females. This female was a member of Opus Dei, a Catholic organization that encouraged her to wear a cilice, or spiked chain, around her thigh once a week to cultivate discipline and suffer like Christ. Kim, now a mother and a family physician, says, “God gives us a healthy body so we can respect it, not abuse it. There are plenty other ways to cultivate discipline.”
Although Kim decided not to join Opus Dei, more than 80,000 other Catholics around the world have committed themselves to this organization as a way to live out their faith in Christ.
So what is Opus Dei?Opus Dei,…

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