Busted Halo
Features : Religion & Spirituality
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 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

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 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 1st, 2002
Lessons from Desolate Places

Empty, desolate and dry. Although these are the words most commonly thought of when describing the desert, they only tell a small portion of the story.
For much of the world the desert is a surreal place, conjuring images of a wasteland. At first glance, California desert locales—the Mojave, Death Valley, Joshua Tree —may seem empty or even void of interest, but upon closer examination they are anything but that. Although I might extol the beauty and grace of the desert, this would only be a distraction from its true purpose. Besides, rating beauty is a question of taste, and I would no more ask you to visit the desert in search of beauty then visit Antarctica in search of cold. Rather, it is emptiness and desolation…

August 10th, 2002
Your Summer Romance Could Be Divine

Men and women of a certain age were simply unable to reach maturity without attending some social event that featured the soundtrack from the movie Grease, particularly that portion in which the phenomenon of the summer romantic fling is celebrated (or, more specifically, as the song goes: “Oh, those su-um-mer nigh-igh-ights…….”). This was John Travolta’s—and, quite possibly, America’s—finest hour.
I’m not precisely sure what it is about summer that makes us more apt to release our phone numbers to the opposite sex; perhaps we’re simply trying to avoid the loser status of the one-seat line at the roller coaster.
What I do know is that you can also…

July 18th, 2002

You feel for Moses. He walks through the desert for forty years leading his Jewish people to the Promised Land, and in the end, he never gets to live there.
Move the scene a few thousand years later. Susan B. Anthony, a Quaker, led the struggle to secure voting rights for U.S. women. For some 37 years�from 1869 to 1906�Anthony appeared before every Congress to ask for passage of a suffrage amendment. In 1872, she and three of her sisters were arrested for voting. Anthony was frequently scorned, arrested, and hung in effigy. She died in 1906 at the age of 86 never having voted legally.
In 1920 Tennessee became the 36th and final state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment, also known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment.…

June 29th, 2002

I’ve been listening to the stories of young immigrants lately.
To me they sound to me a lot like the classic tales of the spiritual journey of life. Not so religious really, but they are all about awakening.
L. arrived here five years ago from Iran, the young wife of a physician husband taking up his medical residency. Before two years had elapsed she and her husband had divorced, not exactly what anyone had scripted for this adventure. Yet she calls the divorce “the best thing I ever did.” She decided not to go home to Tehran. Maybe it has something to do with the opportunities she has here as a woman in this more secular and open culture. Yet still she misses her home and family and sometimes thinks about…

June 2nd, 2002

This Saturday I went back to my old apartment and finished packing my things to move them to my new apartment. Clothes, books, file folders, even an old computer. But there was something, actually someone, I left behind — my husband.
I’ve made an agonizing but clear decision to separate from my husband after 11 years of marriage, the last five particularly rocky and difficult. We’re two good people, one with more years of Catholic education than the fingers on her two hands, who just couldn’t make the relationship work.
Our early days were filled with joy, the joy of listening, of singing together, telling stories and laughing late into the night. We did car trips really well and enjoyed…

June 1st, 2002
Back to the Rosary

I’ve never found the rosary particularly helpful to my prayer.
Truth be told, most of the time when I pray, I use my own words. Having learned that prayer is conversation with God, I need not only to speak to God but also to listen intently. I need to sense where God is guiding me in my life, where God is working in my life.
There are those times when it all feels like bunk. I feel like I’m talking to the wall, to myself, like God isn’t around. I end up feeling empty inside, alone. Is God deaf? Maybe my wife who’s a sign language interpreter would have better luck signing my prayers?
But I’ve had moments of great clarity during prayer too. I’ve had things explained to me a thousand times…

May 1st, 2002

“I’ll be right here.”
- E.T. to Elliot before blasting off for home
“Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
-Jesus to his disciples, before blasting off for heaven
So E.T. is twenty years old. That face. Those eyes. It seems like he hasn’t aged a bit. In fact, with his new facelift, he’s even more spry than ever. If this Web site was www.nra.org, the site for the National Rifle Association, we might be discussing how wrong it was for the director, Steven Spielberg, to digitally turn some of the guns in the film into walkie-talkies (he was concerned it wasn’t suitable for the kiddies, although, interestingly enough, he did think it was okay to have Elliot,…

May 1st, 2002
Winging It: Meditations of a Young Adult (Orbis Books)

A country is a piece of land surrounded on all sides by boundaries, usually unnatural. -JOSEPH HELLER
I just received an invitation to a wedding in India from a woman I stayed with in Calcutta nearly seven years ago. Her youngest son is getting married, and she said it would mean a lot if I could come.
I chuckle aloud as I open the envelope, because I can’t help but remember that episode from Seinfeld when Elaine is invited to her friend’s wedding in India. She shows up to spite the friend she thinks doesn’t really want her there and discovers that the groom is her former lover.
The image of Elaine, drunk, with the nose ring, reminds me of the photo I took with two petite Indian woman. Towering over them…

April 28th, 2002
Tangerines and Transformations

Volunteering to teach confirmation classes at my mid-town Los Angeles parish is challenging work. Let’s face it, most teens sign up for the two year, twice-a-month program, because it’s SUPER important to their parents, while hardly registering as something to care about for themselves.
First ingredient: Vitamin J
So my pastor and I started out with a disadvantage only good teen snacks could remedy-Tostitos, Fritos, Cheetos, cookies, hot chocolate, Snapple, sodas, tangerines (requested), spring water (also requested). These are the paths to a young person’s soul.
Okay, maybe more than snacks are involved. It helps that teens are intensely social and eventually figure out who likes…

April 12th, 2002
A College Student's Spiritual Journey from Minnesota to Thailand

Ever since growing up in Frazee, Minnesota, a small town with a population of 1,700 people, and living next to two Lao families, I had a dream of going to the Thailand/Laos. (Similarly, both peoples actually stem from the same group of people called the Tai Yay.) The two Lao families lived next door from when I was six until I was thirteen when they had to move away. During this time,
I was best friends with the children of both families. I spent my days at their houses, ate with them, watched Thai and Lao movies and concerts, joined in on their traditional ceremonies, and they would teach me a Lao word a day. That was the start of my love for the Thai/Lao language and culture. Ever since then, my Thai/Lao roots have kept popping…

April 6th, 2002
Past Pain Becomes Present Strength

He walked into the diner with his blue windbreaker and disheveled gray hair. His clothes were rumpled and his glasses were slightly askew. In short, he was a mess.
He sat in the booth directly behind us. The odor that emanated from him was bleach mixed with body sweat. It was impossible for us to finish our meal with the unappetizing stench.
I took a good look at the man. He looked to be in his seventies, balding, a bit weird. It was at that moment that I realized how much he reminded me of my dad.
The connection

While I know my dad can easily take care of himself, my uneducated Irish immigrant father has a few eccentricities that have embarrassed me over the years. I shudder sometimes when he launches into a story that everyone…

March 28th, 2002
Young People and the Catholic Peace Movement Today

As images of war fill a greater share of the nation’s TV news, many Catholics are tuning in to organizations like Pax Christi USA to uphold the doctrine of nonviolence. A peace movement of over 14,000 members and 140 U.S. Catholic bishops, Pax Christi USA is considered a crucial component of the global peace movement.
So how is Pax Christi USA organizing its efforts in response to current events?
Following is the first of a two-part interview with Johnny Zokovitch, program associate and youth outreach coordinator for the national organization.
Edward Ortiz: How do the rising numbers of young people currently signing up for the military affect your nonviolence outreach programs?
Johnny Zokovitch: While…

January 16th, 2002
An Infinity of Little Hours: The Trial of Faith of Five Young Men in the Western World's Most Austere Monastic Order

What would it be like to see the face of God with your own eyes?
In the year 1084 St. Bruno of Cologne and six companions climbed a mountain in the French Alps with the goal of doing exactly that: achieving union with God in their own lifetime. Despite the intense cold, they built huts for themselves at the very top of the mountain and took up lives of solitude, contemplation and prayer. In doing so, they founded the Carthusian order, the most austere monastic order in the Western world.
Nearly 900 years later, Paddy O’Connell, a young Irishman not yet thirty, pulls the bell rope outside the gatehouse of the imposing Carthusian monastery in Parkminster, England, and asks admittance. Hans Klein, an East German,…

January 10th, 2002
JC's Girls' unusual evangelization to the sex industry

“We got some other girls together and we went out to our first strip club.”
It may sound like the beginnings of a wild bachelorlette party but in fact it is elementary school teacher Tanya Huerter’s recollection of the first step she and two other women from Southern California took toward creating an outreach to the adult entertainment industry.
Huerter along with Lori Albee and Heather Veitch are the founders of JC’s Girls a ministry whose mission is to “seek to share God’s message of hope and forgiveness by reaching out in a nonjudgmental way to those who are in the sex industry.” The trio, who is affiliated with Sandals Church in Riverside, Ca, explodes any stereotype…

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