Like millions of Catholic college students, Ryan Fecteau is excited to return to campus this week. His junior year at the The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., is filled with promise. Fecteau is a political science major whose focus on politics extends past the classroom. An aspiring policymaker, he was recently elected to the position of city commissioner in his hometown of Biddleford, Maine. On campus, he is speaker of the university's Student Association, communications director of CUA College Democrats and executive director of CUAllies.
My home state of Wisconsin cannot stay out of the electoral politics headlines. The latest is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney naming Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate. Ryan hails from Janesville and currently serves in the U.S. Congress for Wisconsin's 1st District.
Empowering women to be storytellers and writers is an act of peacemaking. Hilda Twongyeirwe, editor of I Dare to Say: African Women Share Their Stories of Hope and Survival, eloquently creates a mosaic of the struggle and dreams of Ugandan women. The collection of stories in I Dare to Say creates a community that gives power back to the victims. Knowing that real change is possible pivots individuals from victims to change agents. Stories of women getting connected to lawyers, doctors and nonprofit organizations offer hope. People around the world are aware and accompanying storytellers in their struggles: Legal aid for Nankunda Mbarara in "Quest for Freedom" and Nakato becoming a health advocate as an AIDS victim in "The Second Twin" give a sense of purpose and identity for the women.
At its best, modern art asks us to confront the meaning of art itself: what belongs in museums, what doesn't and whether art's power over us is well-earned. Such is the case with "Annual Light" (1966), a work by Alighiero Boetti currently on display as part of a retrospective of the artist at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Boetti's light is a wooden box with a bare bulb inside it; it is said to illuminate for 11 seconds at random once a year. Reportedly, no one has ever seen the work light up.
My favorite saint is St. Ignatius of Loyola, whose feast day is July 31. Born into a Spanish family in the Basque country in the northern part of Spain, Inigo had a conversion experience during his convalescence after a cannonball shattered his knee in a battle at Pamplona. His imagination, courage, valor and striving toward excellence has caught my attention and informs my spirituality. In fact, it is these same traits that offer insight and direction to the Society of Jesus and all their ministries and works throughout the world.
After three months at sea, four Carmelite sisters stepped onto shore in Maryland 222 years ago this month, prepared to establish the first order of nuns in the 13 colonies.
This week, when news broke that the Episcopal Church voted to approve services blessing same-sex relationships, I had a couple of thoughts. First, “Hooray!” And then -- *record scratch* -- “Wait. They got to vote on marriage equality?”
I sat with a mixture of awe and disgust as I read a Huffington Post article about obesity in the Latino community. The opening sentence, "Feel bad telling your gordito that he can only have one helping of flan?", was so brazenly derogatory that I could barely believe a major publication would be willing to attach its name to it.
Prior to the revisions to the Roman Rite last year, English-speaking Catholics proceeded the Eucharist by praying that God might deliver us from evil, grant us peace, keep us from sin and "protect us from all anxiety." These, one might argue, are the necessary prerequisites to receiving the sacrament with singleness of heart: protection from sin and evil, peace and freedom from anxiety.