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October 16th, 2002
Falling in Love and Serving the Poor in Latin America

When I first looked into her eyes, I fell harder for her than for anyone I had previously met. She had the most beautiful brown eyes, perfectly complementing her gorgeous smile and adorable features. I found myself constantly wanting to be near her, hold her, appreciate her company. I never expected such ridiculous circumstances to occur. I never imagined that I would travel thousands of miles, leaving my friends and family behind, to fall head-over-heels for a two year old.
Alison, however, embodied everything that made Nicaragua so captivating for me. I left the comforts of Xavier University in Cincinnati during January of my junior year completely clueless of what I had done. From the moment I stepped into…

October 1st, 2002
Ten Spots They'll Never Find Our Secure and Undisclosed Vice President

Any cop will tell you it’s the guilty who run at the scene of a crime.
Believe that and you’ll find Vice President Dick Cheney’s disappearances during recent terrorist alerts puzzling. During last month’s “code orange” terrorist alert Cheney was once again whisked off to what the White House calls “secure and undisclosed” locations, thus leaving the press (and the largely unprotected public) curious as bees.
But not to fret. Following is a list of “secure and undisclosed” locations where no one will ever think to look for Dick Cheney:
1. In Kosovo cleaning toilets for the Halliburton Company. The Dallas-based company Cheney headed for five…

October 1st, 2002
The Legacies of Two Men Who Died Young

My friend Dave Connors was 25 when he died of complications from heart surgery. For as long as I knew Dave, he was hampered by physical ailments, but I never sensed he was in any serious danger—even when his condition became grave. Dave was one of those even-tempered people who never got too high or too low.
Dave almost died when he was 22. He had a defibrillator (much like the one Vice-President Cheney has) attached to his heart and it gave him a few more good years. That was a wake up call for me. Suddenly my friend, my young friend, could die.
Until his life was threatened by his illness, I had wasted a real opportunity to get to know Dave. It didn’t seem possible that someone my own age could die. Fortunately for me,…

September 30th, 2002
Wherever You Go, Longing for Somewhere Else

I cried in the frozen foods aisle last night.
I lived with my parents in Cincinnati for two years while I finished my master’s degree and could not wait to leave. This is not to say I don’t respect and love my parents, both fine people in their own rights, or that I don’t love and respect Cincinnati, the Bengals not withstanding. However, when you and nearly everyone you know has grown up within a fifteen-mile radius of where their great-great-grandparents first stepped off the flatboat, at some point you begin to seek out other, less bowling-alley-intensive vistas.
I was in Florida working for NASA within four months of graduation. People schlep school buses and Radio Shack warrantees for entire…

September 28th, 2002
An Old Movie Scopes Out War's Impact on the Soul

What do a vintage Warner Brothers cartoon, a classic war movie, and a caution about how we see ourselves have to do with one another? They are my way of trying to untangle the flag-waving emotions of our day by raising some fundamental questions. Are we going to war with Iraq? The question a Christian needs to ask is: should we?
Arriba, arriba across the lines Let’s look at the vintage cartoon. In the story Speedy Gonzales (the very fast mouse) is recruited by an army commander; his mission is to deliver an important message across enemy lines (the cat). As the brave mouse accepts, we see the numbers on the wall indicating his fallen brothers. Speedy finally delivers the letter, which turns out to be a birthday card,…

September 26th, 2002
Simple Reasons I Chose the Jesuit Volunteers

At the end of the first semester of my senior year at college, during the month of December, 2001, I was visiting with Tom, my Jesuit Scholastic friend who, on occasion, dropped by Gonzaga University where I was attending college. We were at the corner diner on Sharp and Hamilton having milkshakes and catching up on the past year.
Tom introduced the subject of JVC into the conversation. I knew about the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) from former members speaking at Masses, had spent time with the Spokane Jesuit Volunteers, and had been urged by Tom to join JVC on previous visits. My answer was prepared. I had briefly thought about participating in JVC, but dismissed the idea after coming to the conclusion that I had already…

September 26th, 2002

The movie Barbershop is a nightmare for people like the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Black leaders have taunted the creators of Barbershop for remarks that disparage the reputation of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jesse Jackson, and Rosa Parks by “Eddie,” the character played by Cedric the Entertainer . The sad thing is that while the character of Eddie is somewhat of a social misfit, he has more class and dignity than many of those who are shouting him down. This could have been the creator’s intent all along.
Eddie is the symbol of dignity in this movie (believe it or not). While he doesn’t speak clearly, has an “old-school afro,” and seems to be the “teller of tall tales,” Eddie…

September 22nd, 2002

The leader of our organization (Jesus) always was a savvy marketer, a marketing God, if you will. He knew his audience, he knew how to reach them, and he wasn’t afraid to go up against the competition to gain His fair share of the market (in His case, of course, he relentlessly pursued heart, mind, and soul, as well).
In the days when he roamed the earth in the flesh, he made the most of the media that was available to him: the spoken word. It’s amazing to realize that He got us where we are today by simply starting with his voice. If there were a Word-of-Mouth Hall of Fame, he would certainly have his tunic hanging up in the rafters, as a symbol of his greatness when it came to delivering his message to his audience.…

September 17th, 2002
Springsteen Finds Music for Our 9/11 Grief in "The Rising"

<img src=”http://www.bustedhalo.com/pictures/homePhoto.jpg” alt=”” border=”0″ class=”picright”>
<blockquote>”Coffee cups on the counter / jackets on the chair
Papers on the doorstep / but you’re not there
Everything is everything / Everything is everything
But you’re missing.”
—”You’re Missing”</blockquote>
Though the biggest fan of the Boss in my family is my 62-year-old mother, I still came to Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising” predisposed to like it. I was not disappointed.
What is it with this guy? His voice always sounds like he just woke up. Song…

September 17th, 2002

A priest and a rabbi walk into a bar.
The rabbi buys the first round, but the priest is not stingy either and buys the next. They spend a few hours telling priest and rabbi jokes, and then compare notes on pastoral problems. At closing time, they bid one another good night. The good rabbi heads off to his family, the good father to his rectory. Nobody tried to convert anybody else.
It’s no joke.
On August 12, a joint Catholic-Jewish statement hit the presses, “Reflections on Covenant and Mission ,” which declared to all the world that, in the words of Rabbi Gilbert Rosenthal, “neither faith group believes that we should missionize among the other in order to save souls via conversion. Quite…

September 14th, 2002
9-11

Marion’s off this week. So I’d like to dedicate this week’s column to my college friend, Susan Cullen, and her soul mate, Thomas Cullen.
Tom Cullen was killed in the September 11th disaster. He was a member of an elite rescue squad in New York City.
Tom always wanted to be a firefighter. I think that’s all he ever wanted to be. I remember our freshman year at Fordham University when we met. There was a rash of fires set in our dorm by a mysterious person whom we could never seem to catch. One night the building was evacuated because of one of these fires. I remember standing in the courtyard and the resident assistant read a roll of names to make sure everyone had gotten out. Not everyone was present.…

September 14th, 2002
Why I Am a Catholic by Garry Wills

Garry Wills was shocked. After the publication of his best-selling book Papal Sin , which documents recent papal shortcomings, Wills not only received the expected letters from angry Catholics demanding he leave the Church, but he also received letters from confused Catholics interested in how to remain faithful despite a flawed Church authority. Readers, it seemed, weren’t content with the Vatican but worried about being critical. Could they be critical? They asked for Wills’ insight.
Why I Am A Catholic is Wills’ response. It’s a three-pronged discussion that acts as both a memoir and follow up to Papal Sin . Wills reminisces about his Catholic upbringing, offers a papal history…

September 11th, 2002
A Sampling of Saints for the 9/11 Anniversary

Saint Francis of Assisi is up for bid on eBay . Several of him, actually. There’s Saint Francis in terra cotta or hand-painted ceramic, and also a lovely and practical Saint Francis birdfeeder . And he’s not alone. All over the internet you can get same-day shipping of pretty much any saint you want. Medals, statues, pictures—just a click and a credit card away.
Maybe I’ll get myself one of those saints. Maybe Saint Lucy , a patron of writers. She might be a comfort, perched serenely on top of my computer monitor. Really, I wouldn’t mind her face peering down at me. I like that about being Catholic, getting to have all those famously holy people around. It was actually the impending anniversary…

September 11th, 2002
Choosing Not to Be at Work 9/11

I will not be going into work on September 11th.
I did not work in the Towers, or anywhere in the World Trade Center complex. I do not work for the FDNY or NYPD, and neither does anyone in my family. Neither my wife nor I directly knew anyone who died on September 11th last year.
All in all, my wife and I were very lucky last year. So why am I taking off work on the first anniversary of the terrorist attack? Because even though none of the above scenarios apply to me, I was nonetheless closely affected by the events of that day, and still am.
You see my office is about a mile or so north of the WTC site. I watched it all unfold from the relative safety of my office—the
explosions, the fire, the debris, and eventually the collapse of…

September 11th, 2002
A 9/11 Holiday Is Not What We Need

A year ago September 11, Lisa Beamer was a media nobody�practically a stigma in today’s American Idol Real World Funniest Home Videos Bachelor Dating Contest Survivor world. Of all the people whose lives were changed on that day, perhaps hers was changed the most.
Lisa Beamer, who has since been publicly applauded by the President, the Congress, and the media, is Todd Beamer’s wife… Todd Beamer, a United Airlines Flight 93 passenger who recited the Our Father along with a cell phone operator and then said “Let’s roll” to his fellow passengers as they overpowered their captors, protecting sacred national monuments, saving lives. The terrorists in control of the plane,…

September 11th, 2002
Reaching Out Since 9/11

We’ve noticed that many people seem to want to form connections since the tragedy of September 11th last year. Even in everyday encounters when we’re running errands, people want to talk more. Folks have more time for each other, rather than the usual self-involved way we used to run around and do the ordinary, mundane chores of life.
The horrific events of September 11th have provided a wake-up call for many people in regard to the attitudes they have toward other people.
September 11th provided us with one lasting question: w hat types of people do we want to spend our valuable time with?
Marion: I’ve found that I can sense when someone has a vengeful streak in them, or has a bad attitude, or is simply…

September 11th, 2002
Taking to the Skies and Trusting in God

“Turbo props are ok. They won’t hijack a turbo prop,” my ex-boyfriend insisted as I squirmed and looked for more reasons not to fly to my upcoming family reunion four states away. “There’s not enough fuel on a turbo prop,” he continued, “they need a lot of fuel.”
I haven’t flown in a year and I can’t believe that deliberating about whether or not my plane is a good one to hijack and fly into things with is what travel has come to. I used to love flying. Especially flying cross country. I’d stare out the window (I always got a window seat) and watch the rolling eastern green hills pass into the rigid squares and rectangles that bespoke the Midwestern…

September 10th, 2002
More Guts Than Blood in Red Dragon

I once had a roommate who disapproved of me watching the X-Files. You know, because of all the murdering, and that creepy music. She would glide past the TV Sunday nights gently tsk-tsking, and recite a Bible verse, or at least part of one, about God “not giving us a spirit of fear” (Romans 8:15 ). Meaning that choosing to be afraid was wrong, even when only pretend, and for fun.
I guess I shouldn’t have seen Red Dragon then, what with its cannibalism and blood spatter. Actually, and good for it, this Silence of the Lambs “prequel” spares us the gratuitous violence as it tells that tale we’ve heard before: the haunted FBI agent tracks a cutely nicknamed serial killer, with help…

September 10th, 2002
You're Not Alone

During times of crisis, things can get overwhelming if you try to do it all yourself. At different times we’ve tried to remind one another of that.
Mike: Since my mom has been sick, I’ve been overwhelmed with hospital visits, calls to the doctor, hospital bureaucracy, and still trying to be a husband and maintain my job responsibilities. There have been a lot of obstacles to overcome, especially in trying to make sure my mom is getting the proper care that she needs. I have been running myself ragged.
Marion:… When Mike feels this way, I immediately remind him that I’m here to help. That he doesn’t need to do everything himself. I’ve made phone calls to try to alleviate some of the hospital

September 10th, 2002
You're Not Alone

During times of crisis, things can get overwhelming if you try to do it all yourself. At different times we’ve tried to remind one another of that.
Mike: Since my mom has been sick, I’ve been overwhelmed with hospital visits, calls to the doctor, hospital bureaucracy, and still trying to be a husband and maintain my job responsibilities. There have been a lot of obstacles to overcome, especially in trying to make sure my mom is getting the proper care that she needs. I have been running myself ragged.
Marion: When Mike feels this way, I immediately remind him that I’m here to help. That he doesn’t need to do everything himself. I’ve made phone calls to try to alleviate some of the hospital…

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