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Windows into a complex community

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BERKELEY, CALIF. -- Oscar would use only his first name. He’s undocumented, from Mexico, and even though he’s lived in the United States for 17 years, his life is a state of constant insecurity. No papers. He’s got to be careful.

He has command of English and a lot of ambition but his prospects remain limited. Without papers he can’t continue his education, and he can’t get a good job.

Faith's survivor on the walk of atonement

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[Editor's Note: On Aug. 24, Sister of St. Louis Mary Campbell, Douglas Kmiec, U.S. ambassador to Malta, and Msgr. John Sheridan, the retired pastor of a Malibu parish, were involved in a one-car accident. Campbell was killed instantly. Kmiec and Sheridan were injured, Sheridan critically.]

Thank you to so many who regularly read these thoughtful pages for your prayers after my recent tragic car accident.

Duo's music brings contagious cheer

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For an hour the clients of Empowerment in Denver didn’t have to think about their parole officers, unpaid bills, drug tests, applications for housing, or GED studies. As long as they were singing with the Okee Dokee Brothers, they were free, happy, smiling. People who’d made poor choices or been scorned by polite society, they simply clapped and sang, unworried about past mistakes. While the music played, they could believe in the promise of “I’ll Fly Away”: “a land where joy shall never end.”

Preaching care of the Earth with poetry

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LAFAYETTE, LA. -- Louisiana is not quite like other places in the United States. Its distinctive food, plentiful music and humid heat set it apart. It’s also the site of a relentless war over clean air and water. The state’s cancer rates outpace the national average. Eighty percent of the coastal erosion in the country happens there. Together with nearby Texas, it has the highest population of petroleum refining and chemical plants. Much of the devastation wrought by the recent BP oil gusher will continue to plague the state’s waterways and wetlands.

Estevez makes film as metaphor for life

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TORONTO -- Actor and director Emilio Estevez reluctantly went to Spain to tell a story about how faith, hope and walking are all part of the American way of overcoming hard times.

The movie has "no nudity. There are no explosions. There are no car chases," said Estevez. "It's about people. It's about this community of broken souls. And there's a ton of humor in it."

Estevez told The Catholic Register, a Canadian weekly, that his new film "The Way" is about American spirituality. The story follows four characters walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, or the Way of St. James, through Spain.

"Americans are searching for something. The Camino serves as the ultimate metaphor for life," said Estevez.

Mother Teresa stamp to be issued Sept. 5

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Nobel Peace Prize honoree Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta is now among the hallowed company of actress Katharine Hepburn, the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan, the Lunar Year, distinguished sailors, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Bill Mauldin, Cowboys of the Silver Screen, the celebrated singer Kate Smith, pioneering African-American filmmaker Oscar Micheaux, and the Negro Baseball League.

Nun killed, ambassador, priest injured in accident

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CALABASAS, Calif. (CNS) -- A Sister of St. Louis was killed and the retired pastor of a Malibu parish was severely injured when a car driven by Douglas Kmiec, U.S. ambassador to Malta, crashed into a drainage ditch in Southern California Aug. 25.

Sister Mary Campbell, 74, who was well known at Our Lady of Malibu Parish and taught at the parish school, was dead at the scene, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol said.

A story of what it means to be a pastor

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Mission Management

As the 2009-2010 “Year for Priests” concludes, it is worth asking a fundamental question: What does it mean to be a pastor? The life of Fr. Stanley Rother, an Oklahoma City archdiocesan priest (1935-81), provides a compelling answer to this question.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that the “the pastoral care of the parish is entrusted to a pastor as its own shepherd under the authority of the diocesan bishop.”

A plain and winsome portrayal of Christianity

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Something an actor never wants to hear is that an audience member made an association between his performance and hell.

One night about five years ago Max McLean had that very experience. He was performing his one-man play “Genesis” at the Playwrights Theater in Madison, N.J., when Jeffrey Fiske, then a theater professor at Drew University there, approached him after a show and said he saw McLean’s potential to be bad -- really bad. As in evil. As in one of literature’s most chilling villains, Screwtape.

Dan Dick and me

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A Remembrance and a Reflection

Daniel Eggleston Dick, a good old union man of 86 well lived years, died in the early afternoon of July 26 surrounded by his large family and a few close friends in Worcester, Mass. I was blessed to be among those gathered at Dan's bedside when he breathed his last.

I first met Dan in the summer of 1970 -- forty years ago this very summer. I had just graduated from a small Roman Catholic high school seminary in the foothills of the White Mountains in Enfield, N.H. I left there a decided conscientious objector to the Vietnam War and a budding Catholic hippie. Dan was leading an experimental summer class with the Rev. Carl Kline and others at the "Free University" being held at Worcester State College where I was taking up sociological studies in the fall and it was good to study with Dan that summer.

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August 15-28, 2014

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