Busted Halo

Vanessa Gonzalez Kraft tries to balance her traditional Mexican-American cultural heritage and Catholic identity, personified by her grandmother La Lupe, with her roles as a young wife and mother.

 
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April 4th, 2011
Church Hopping

church-hopping-flash3The more years that separate me from my time at Notre Dame, the more I realize how easy college made certain things in life.  Making friends was easy as I was surrounded by a great community of people with whom I had a lot in common; I never had to spend a lot of energy finding people with similar interests.  We also had Mass in our dorm, which meant we all went to Mass with our closest friends — it didn’t take a lot of extra work to be part of a spiritual community.  In fact, being a theology major and, in general, just being a Domer, it was never difficult to find tons of groups, retreats, events, or volunteer opportunities that guaranteed an awesome spiritual community.

Then I graduated and lived in a Catholic Worker house.  As a community we said daily prayers together, usually attended daily Mass, and were always having discussions about faith and Church teachings and how to live out the Gospel.  It too was a wonderful spiritual community.

Then came Austin — when I finally found out how hard it is to make friends in the “real world”.  There was no longer a guaranteed community…

March 26th, 2011
Apologizing for My Catholicism (or sometimes lack thereof)

apology-flashAs a sometime Catholic, I often find myself apologizing. Primarily, I find myself apologizing to those more devout than myself for my negligence. This comes up most often having dinner at my parents’ house with the priests from their parish, who ask the perfectly innocent questions of why they haven’t seen me in a while or where I go to church in my neighborhood.

The other side of the coin is having to apologize for having religious convictions at all. As someone in my twenties living in an urban area and in a so-called creative profession, it’s generally assumed by my acquaintances and associates that I am either an atheist or subscribe to some kind of a New Age-y religion (possibly with the intention of annoying my more conventional parents)…

March 23rd, 2011
What to do with your millions

What would you do with your millions of dollars? Give it away? Move into a mobile home? Make a documentary?

This past weekend I was inspired, to say the least, by two media productions. The first is Secret Millionaire on ABC. Have you seen it? The show’s premise is to embed a millionaire in an impoverished community to secretly seek out local heroes. Sounds kitchy, but I cried at least four times. When unassuming individuals, who work with little to no resources to help their community, were rewarded (with money) at the end of the show, they were brought to tears. It didn’t seem to matter if they were given pennies or a check for tens of thousands. They were just so happy that someone acknowledged them and that someone cared.

This show made me want to be a millionaire simply so that I can go around and reward deserving people, too. And if I had that money, that’s what I believe I would do.

That’s what Tom Shadyac did. In a different kind of way. You might be familiar with his films Ace Ventura and The Nutty Professor. But his humor fell short when a disease led him to a depression. He began to ask the questions: What is the purpose of life? What is wrong with this world? And what can we do about it?

He set out to create a documentary called I AM. I can’t even begin to describe the enormous lessons learned in this film. I mean, really. You MUST see this for yourself. It will change how you think. The even cooler thing is how it sets forth a very convincing case that science is still catching up to religion and spirituality.

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