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December 9th, 2009
A forgotten incident in the life of St. Francis speaks volumes today

As the former city editor and senior religion writer for Newsday, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Paul Moses is well aware of what it takes to get the facts right on an important story. But when the story you’re researching is 800 years old, things can get pretty complicated. In the wake of September 11, Moses discovered a little-known episode in St. Francis of Assissi’s life in which he attempted to end the crusades by crossing enemy lines to gain an audience with the Sultan of Egypt.
In The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam, and Francis of Assisi’s Mission of Peace…, Moses — now a professor of journalism at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate School —

December 2nd, 2009
A sneak attack on my conscience while at the mall

There was something very Miracle on 34th Street… about Peoria’s new mall. Opening just before the holidays, the “open-air lifestyle center” promised to recreate the feel of shopping downtown. Separate strips of stores, like city blocks, angled about a plaza and a kids’ play park. Department store anchors mixed with eateries and boutiques, selling everything from three-piece suits to little girls’ camis, from bone china to Corelle ware, from gourmet coffee to chili dogs. You could even come out at night for dinner and a movie. Just like downtown.
I was visiting family after living five years in a small town in Louisiana, where I learned what downtown is. Downtown is Bertrand’s

December 1st, 2009
Can you spare three minutes to truly make a difference?

Consider this your invitation to join thousands of students already participating in American Idol for charities. It’ll take just a few minutes to vote, it’s absolutely free and it’s just a few mouse-clicks away to help save lives.
A close friend of mine, Dr. Patrick Lee, has dedicated his professional life to providing healthcare services and fundamental rights to the poor in developing nations. Currently, he serves as the Director of Chronic Diseases for Tiyatien Health in Liberia.
After two decades of civil war, more than 40 percent of Liberians suffer from major depression and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Up to 5 percent suffer from epilepsy. This fall, he and his organization…

November 17th, 2009
"This is music that I've created."

In this video, Walter talks about his love for creating music.
In video 4, Walter talks about how soccer has helped him cope with his immigration issues.
In video 3, Walter talks about the difficulties of facing an uncertain future.
In video 2, Walter talks more about how he did not know he was undocumented until he was applying for college.
In video 1, Walter explains how he was caught by ICE and detained for twenty day.…

November 11th, 2009
"Soccer is a way to escape."

In this video, Walter talks about how soccer has helped him cope with his immigration issues.
In video 3, Walter talks about the difficulties of facing an uncertain future.
In video 2, Walter talks more about how he did not know he was undocumented until he was applying for college.
In video 1, Walter explains how he was caught by ICE and detained for twenty day.…

November 9th, 2009
A reluctant Catholic goes to seminary

As a Paulist seminarian Tom Gibbons has spent the past three years immersed in the academic study required of any man who will be ordained a Roman Catholic priest. During that time, Gibbons has written a lot about the experience, and his new blog, Kicking and Screaming… is an intimate look at the questions and doubts he’s struggled with over the past few years while studying for the priesthood, as well some of the answers he’s come up with along the way.
Now at the halfway point in his formation process, Tom’s blog will also be a window into what his life is like now that he’s outside the seminary classrooms doing hands-on ministry work at a parish in Austin, Texas. Gibbons’ blend of honesty

November 4th, 2009
A follow-up as the debate enters its final stage

Thousands of you read, responded to and shared my August piece about the health care debate and Catholicism. We are now in the final phase of the Congressional process and some things are clearer than they were then. Catholic Church leaders wanted undocumented immigrants included in the bill. They are not. Sadly, the Church stands almost alone among organizations in this country in its concern for the undocumented. They wanted universal coverage, and to the surprise of many, it looks like it will happen.
But, though the House bill does not fund or encourage abortion services, the bishops and most Catholics wanted specific language keeping abortion out of the bill entirely, and making it impossible for a future…

November 3rd, 2009
"My family has been trying to fix the issue."

In this video, Walter talks about the difficulties of facing an uncertain future.
In video 2, Walter talks more about how he did not know he was undocumented until he was applying for college.
In video 1, Walter explains how he was caught by ICE and detained for twenty day.…

October 20th, 2009
"I have no desire to be in this country."

In this final episode, Prerna talks about the repercussions of leaving Fiji and why she continues to stay and work in the U.S.
In video six, Prerna discusses the fallout with her family, community and school as a result of her new relationship.
In video five, Prerna discusses her first love while growing up in Fiji.
In video four, Prerna talks about her experience biking from Los Angeles to Berkeley, CA.
In video three, Prerna’s family is trying to avoid foreclosure on their home.
In video two, Prerna becomes an activist, a blogger and a volunteer.
In video one, we learn how Prerna, Fijian student, who was applying for residential paperwork, became the only undocumented member of her family.…

October 20th, 2009
"I was so numb that I couldn't even cry."

In this sixth video, Prerna discusses the fallout with her family, community and school as a result of her new relationship.
In video five, Prerna discusses her first love while growing up in Fiji.
In video four, Prerna talks about her experience biking from Los Angeles to Berkeley, CA.
In video three, Prerna’s family is trying to avoid foreclosure on their home.
In video two, Prerna becomes an activist, a blogger and a volunteer.
In video one, we learn how Prerna, Fijian student, who was applying for residential paperwork, became the only undocumented member of her family.…

October 16th, 2009
A Catholic Relief Services worker in Indonesia

I’m an information officer for Catholic Relief Services in Asia. This past month, we’ve had our hands full keeping up with the string of natural disasters that has hit the region. From my home base in Cambodia, I was sent to the Philippines to cover our response to severe flooding; then an earthquake hit Sumatra — one of the islands that make up Indonesia, so I caught a plane to Padang, the city closet to the quake’s epicenter.
I was new to extreme quake damage — its dangers and surprises. The first week of any emergency is usually the toughest; I’ve recorded my impressions of the experience.

Day One
The first sign of trouble is at the airport in Padang, Indonesia: there’s no water…

October 15th, 2009
"We fell in love with each other."

In this fifth video, Prerna discusses her first love while growing up in Fiji.
In video four, Prerna talks about her experience biking from Los Angeles to Berkeley, CA.
In video three, Prerna’s family is trying to avoid foreclosure on their home.
In video two, Prerna becomes an activist, a blogger and a volunteer.
In video one, we learn how Prerna, Fijian student, who was applying for residential paperwork, became the only undocumented member of her family.…

October 6th, 2009
The Biblical Thanksgiving

Each fall, Jews celebrate the holiday of Sukkot, named after the “huts” the Jewish people lived in during their 40 years in the wilderness. Sukkot begins on the night of the largest full moon of the year, the harvest moon. This year it began at sundown on Friday, October 2, and runs through October 10. As a celebration of the year’s largest harvest, Sukkot reminds us to give thanks. The American Pilgrims understood this biblical significance of Sukkot, and made it the basis for Thanksgiving.
Tradition calls us to “live” for a week in a sukkah (sukkot… is the plural form) — a hut, open to the sky, with some leaves for a roof. (Eating meals there can qualify for “living,”

October 6th, 2009
"You can't spell dream without drama"

In this fourth video, Prerna talks about her experience biking from Los Angeles to Berkeley, CA.
In video three, Prerna’s family is trying to avoid foreclosure on their home.
In video two, Prerna becomes an activist, a blogger and a volunteer.
In video one, we learn how Prerna, Fijian student, who was applying for residential paperwork, became the only undocumented member of her family.…

October 1st, 2009
A Catholic dog stirs imagination and caring in western North Carolina

A seeing eye puppy in training at church

My dog Lily is a therapy dog, meaning that she is trained to bring companionship to the lonely, comfort to the sorrowful and joy to the depressed, just for that moment. Together, we visit nursing homes, hospitals and other institutions where people may benefit from Lily’s presence.

Lily got a lot of her early training to be a therapy dog by going to weekday Mass with me as a puppy. Our little mountain parish in western North Carolina is small and everyone enjoys her presence. Lily learned how to greet friends nicely; how to wait to greet them until she was instructed to do so; how to sit quietly by my side; and how to stay while I went to communion. She doesn’t go on Sundays, just weekdays.

We leave Mass and go directly to the nursing home where we take communion to a few residents, and she visits everyone. Mass puts her in the right frame of mind and behavior for the visit — and I always said she carried an extra bit of grace with her. She’s been working about eight years.

We are always greeted enthusiastically at the nursing home — though with some odd misunderstandings. Our area is largely Baptist, and the presence of a Catholic dog can stir the imagination.

September 30th, 2009
Winning the battle over childhood obesity

It may have been the most incriminating moment of my childhood.
The culprit: one chubby eight-year-old (me).
The accomplice: a sympathetic classmate-slash-junk-food smuggler.
The goods: a bag of Doritos.
The teacher caught me — and the entire class’s attention — when she asked me to stop eating and turn to face her. “Krissy,” she said. “Your parents and your doctor don’t want you eating that.” Then, her words wailed in my ears like sirens:
“You’re on a diet.”
I dropped my head and rolled up the bag as the class stared in shock. Just like that, I was busted. Orange-handed.
My grandfather had just died. He and I had been super-close and without…

September 28th, 2009
"I'm just one person, of so many more."

An undocumented student becomes an activist, a blogger and a volunteer.…

September 26th, 2009
Recycle your electronic gadgets and Busted Halo as well

Busted Halo® provides a community — both online and on Sirius XM satellite radio — where seekers can explore the spiritual questions they have, as well as share and grow in their faith. One thing that is pretty clear about this generation of spiritual seekers is that we don’t believe spirituality is just about going to church on Sunday; it’s about living your beliefs in your everyday life. Pope Benedict himself recognized this when he declared the theme for World Peace Day 2010 to be: “If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Safeguard Creation.”
Protecting the environment is one of the many ways you can act on your faith. Securing the planet for future generations is no small…

September 22nd, 2009
"Saying goodbye"

In this fourth and final video, 24 hours before their move to Mexico, Nicole and the kids say goodbye.
In video one, Nicole explained how her husband was barred from returning to the United States. Because of this, she is planning on moving with her kids to Mexico.
In video two, Nicole talks about the difficulties she’s facing uprooting her four kids and moving to a foreign country.
In video three, Nicole and the kids begin the process of leaving their home for Mexico.…

September 16th, 2009
"My kids don't understand"

Nicole and the kids begin the process of leaving their home for Mexico.
In video one, Nicole explained how her husband was barred from returning to the United States. Because of this, she is planning on moving with her kids to Mexico.
In video two, Nicole talks about the difficulties she’s facing uprooting her four kids and moving to a foreign country.…

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