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Bearing Witness to the Gospel


I’m so proud of my husband…

Originally posted on United States Catholic Mission Association:

“Faces of Mission” is a bi-weekly blog series produced by the United States Catholic Mission Association highlighting our membership and all their work in and for mission. This week we feature Roberto Bacalski, Program Coordinator at the Diocese of Arlington Office of Mission. Roberto Bacalski attended the USCMA Annual Conference on October 24 – 26, 2014 which was held this year in the Diocese of Arlington.

Called to Mission

Roberto Bacalski, Program Coordinator at the Diocese of Arlington Office of Mission

Roberto Bacalski, Program Coordinator at the Diocese of Arlington Office of Mission

As a young actor in Los Angeles, Roberto Bacalski was living the life he had always wanted.

Then a “seemingly random chain of events” began which led him to a new lifestyle, one in which he would dedicate his life to mission.

He married and moved across the country from Los Angeles to Arlington, Virginia, where he took a job as a restaurant manager. But he soon found himself…

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Interview: ‘Poor Teeth’ Writer Sarah Smarsh on Class and Journalism


Love this interview on writing, sources, and authenticity.

Originally posted on Longreads Blog:

Julia Wick | Longreads | November 7, 2014 | 11 minutes (2,674 words)

“I am bone of the bone of them that live in trailer homes.” That’s the first line of Sarah Smarsh’s essay “Poor Teeth,” which appeared on Aeon earlier this month. Like much of Smarsh’s work, “Poor Teeth” is a story about inequity in America. It is also a story about teeth, hers and her grandmother’s and also the millions of Americans who lack dental coverage.

Smarsh has written for Harper’s, Guernica and The Morning News, among other outlets. Her perspective is very much shaped by her personal experiences: She grew up in a family where most didn’t graduate from high school, and she later chaired the faculty-staff Diversity Initiative as a professor at Washburn University in Topeka. I spoke with her about her own path to journalism and how the media cover issues of class. 

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Marriage as Conversion


One newlywed writes: “Bearing the beams of love” has taken on a whole new meaning for me.
That seems so true; I love this mediation on Marriage as Conversion.

Originally posted on A Call to Joy:


As newlyweds, J. and I are often asked the question, “So, how is married life?!” Struggling with this question calls to mind the same feelings as when I returned home from studying abroad, came back after a year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, or re-entered life after a short-term immersion program in El Salvador.  I usually find  myself saying something in between “So great!” and “Umm…how much time do you have?”

On the one hand, it feels impossible to capture the intimate mix of joy and sacrifice, of both lighthearted and difficult conversations, of learning how to balance my own needs with J.’s in a new way. On the other hand, for an external processor like me, it feels impossible not to try to verbalize my experience of this new transition.  If I truly believe that marriage is a vocation – from Latin, to call – what does it mean in the day-to-day when it will take a lifetime to realize…

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HOMILY: The Feast That Never Ends


Celebrate faith…..

Originally posted on Leaven in the World:

Fr. Brian Zumbrum’s homilies and reflections are posted weekly at Leaven in the World. To see the archive of all his posts, just click hereSalesian Sermons

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time | October 11/12, 2014

PROTIP: Before reading on, be sure to take a look at the Sunday readings here. This homily focuses on the first reading.

One of the things that I miss most about my grandmother is meals at her house.

When I think back to all of the many visits that we shared over the years, I smile at how they always followed a predictable pattern.

First, everyone would come bearing their gifts.  Coolers laden with “pop” and water, bottles of wine and bags of chocolate, bags of chips and tubs of dip.  Soon the fridge and counter were overflowing.

About midday, the cooking would begin.  Each family who came had their specialty.  We would have…

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HOMILY: Fill Me Up, Lord


It was a long week… But, as ever, the Word sustained me.
Can’t wait to read the next homily from Fr. Brian.

Originally posted on Leaven in the World:

Fr. Brian Zumbrum’s homilies and reflections are posted weekly at Leaven in the World prior to a given Sunday. To see the archive of all his posts, just click hereSalesian Sermons

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time | August 2/3, 2014

PROTIP: Before reading on, be sure to take a look at the Sunday readings here. This homily focuses on the Gospel reading.

Have you ever had one of those days when you are just running on empty?  You find yourself going, “I can’t do this anymore.”

Earlier this weekend, I had one of those moments.

It was in the middle of our end-of-summer program BBQ.  I had just finished four weeks of programming with our students that had me putting in 12+ hour days.  And I knew that I had an entire weekend ahead of me in which I needed to write 300 pages for our reaccredidation process.


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Scheduling an Event? Find a Date/Time that Works for Everyone!


I love Doodle — and this is a great explanation of how to use it.

Originally posted on Learning and Living in the Online World:

It can be difficult to find a date and time that works for everyone when you’re trying to schedule an event. Whether it’s a meeting for work, a weekend getaway with friends, or your next big family reunion, there’s almost always someone who can’t make it.

That’s the trouble with picking a single date and time. If there’s a conflict with someone’s schedule, you just have go ahead without them—or find another day that works. From there, things can get really tricky … now so-and-so can make it, but another person can’t. It’s enough to make you want to cancel the whole thing.

That’s when tools like Doodle can come in handy. In short, Doodle is a polling app that helps you find the best time for your event before you send out any invitations. Just use their free service to loop in everyone involved. You enter your availability; they enter theirs…

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An Evening Meditation on Maya Angelou

MayaMaya Angelou wrote about her life in several books, but we also read her heart in her expressive face. She knew the power of her voice and had pride in her many accomplishments. I was awakened to Angelou’s powerful gift when she read the inaugural poem On the Pulse of the Morning in 1993. That was the first and last time I ever bought an entire poem as a book; I read it and re-read it and sometimes it still feels new to me when I read it again. What strikes me the most when I read about Maya Angelou’s life is her fortitude. She never, never gave up. In a wonderful public interview with George Plimpton for the Paris Review, she said, “There is, I hope, a thesis in my work: we may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.”

Over many coming days, there will be a great many lists of powerful quotes and tributes to this amazing artist. Tonight I would like to leave you with just three. They might not make anyone else’s top ten, but they leapt out at me. The quote on the top picture is a stanza from On the Pulse of the Morning; I believe it is worth a great deal of thought. And action. I chose that picture from the inauguration because it reminds me of that wonderful moment. The Washington Post obituary contains a fabulous gem from a speech at a conference called Families Alive at Weber State University. There are plenty of rainbows jumping out of clouds these days, but this celestial picture adds an unexpected layer to the text: MayaRainbow When I read the full transcript of the speech after I made this graphic, I discovered that the lead-in to the first line completely fits: “We know that rainbows, stars, all sorts of illuminations, comets and suns, are always in the firmament. But clouds get so low and dark that you can’t see the illumination.” I may have to make another graphic to work that in, but it’s getting late. Instead I’ll give you a quote that goes beyond pictures, from the Paris Review interview:

I’m working at trying to be a Christian and that’s serious business. It’s like trying to be a good Jew, a good Muslim, a good Buddhist, a good Shintoist, a good Zoroastrian, a good friend, a good lover, a good mother, a good buddy—it’s serious business. It’s not something where you think, Oh, I’ve got it done. I did it all day, hotdiggety. The truth is, all day long you try to do it, try to be it, and then in the evening if you’re honest and have a little courage you look at yourself and say, Hmm. I only blew it eighty-six times. Not bad. I’m trying to be a Christian and the Bible helps me to remind myself what I’m about.

Peace be with you.


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