New Commission

This month a new commission I am a part of–The Commission for Affective Maturity, Order of Friars Minor–just had our first meeting. It is a very international and interdisciplinary group, with five people across four continents. Needless to say, it was impossible to find a convenient time for everyone to meet (it was 6am my time!). But, time zone challenges aside, we are excited to be taking on some very important work.

The Order of Friars Minor has commissioned us to write a document on affective maturity. It will be roughly a two year process, and will result in a valuable and practical document. The final document (as we envision it at this stage) will assess socio-emotional maturity as well as provide guidance to help people further mature. I am very pleased to join the following practitioners and scholars in this endeavor:

  • Br. Darko Tepert, a Franciscan and Scripture scholar from Rome (chair)
  • Ms. Ann Yeong, an expert in spiritual formation from Singapore
  • Br. Daniel Alejandro Fleitas Zeni, a Franciscan and psychologist from Argentina
  • Br. Alessandro Ciamei, a Franciscan and therapist from Rome

It is still early in our project, but in our multilingual and multicultural context, we are generating some good ideas… even at 6am!

First Christmas Post (Hopefully a New Tradition!)

So the point of this website is to keep all of my work in one organized space. Before this post, I have limited this website to that. This morning I woke up and was very happy to find an email from my alma mater; it contained a Christmas reflection from one of my favorite bishops. I thought to myself, “Should I share this… breaking with the tradition of” I realized that I could reframe this not as breaking tradition, but instead starting a new one! So, to begin the first of our twelve days of Christmas, I’ll share some items for you to reflect on and perhaps incorporate into your twelve days of celebrating the in-breaking of God into our world. Here’s this reflection, plus a few things (both new and old) that have informed my Advent or will be a part of my Christmas:

Christmas Highlights, 2022

Excerpt from Bishop John Stowe’s reflection on today’s gospel (Lk 2:15-20):

The humble site of a stable with a homeless couple and a newborn is quite a contrast from the heavenly spectacle of angels singing in the night sky.  Angel choirs seem appropriate for announcing the coming of the Messiah, but was it a letdown to encounter such an ordinary-looking baby, wrapped in rags and surrounded by beasts?  Did they expect the Messiah to look so much like them?  To be as poor as they were?  Was their encounter a disappointment or did they get a glimpse of the kind of Messiah Jesus is, one who is in solidarity with the lowly and the outcast?  Mary said that the mighty would be toppled from their thrones and the lowly would be exalted.  Here was the depiction of lowliness.

Waiting in Joyful Hope: Daily Advent Prayer from the Jesuit School of Theology (December 25, 2022)


“Jose y Maria” by Everett Patterson

Movie: The Nativity Story (2005)

Children’s Book: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

Christmas Song (Spiritual): O Holy Night

Christmas Song (Secular):Twelve Days of Christmas” by Straight No Chaser

Short/Episode: “Santa ’85” in Amazing Stories

Organization: Alderson Hospitality House

Consumable: Trader Joe’s Decaf Candy Cane Green Tea

Merry Christmas!

Article on OLG and a new OFM province

Just wanted to let you know that my new article in The Way, “Our Lady of Guadalupe: What’s in a Name?” is out. It explores the significance of Our Lady of Guadalupe and shows what an apt patroness this is for our the new province emerging from six of the current OFM provinces in the United States. The four points of overlap of Our Lady and the Franciscan charism I lift up are: 1) she gathers and includes everyone, 2) she wants a deep encounter with us, 3) she is tender toward the most vulnerable, and 4) she opts for the poor. Happy feast day on the 12th!

Newly-Elected Secretary for ASR

Here I am, booking my flight and room for the upcoming SSSR/RRA conference and I realized that I never posted that I was elected secretary for the Association for the Sociology of Religion! I first became acquainted with ASR in 2014 when it came to San Francisco while I was in grad school and I was one of the student workers at the registration desk. Soon I became involved in the membership committee, too (perfect job for my extroverted tendencies). Come 2022, I got to enjoy my first meeting (this past August) as part of the executive council. Looking forward to continued service!

Catholic Insights: Fostering Ten Pit Bull Puppies

After an intense, beautiful, challenging, amazing experience of fostering a mama dog and her litter, I share my reflections on the experience in “Catholic Tales: Insights from Fostering a Pit Bull and Her 10 Puppies” in the National Catholic Reporter. It focuses on the themes of surrender, happiness, and discernment. “Catholic Tales” comes complete with photos and you have to check out the 23-second video that is linked in the article… the ten puppies charge me and lick like crazy. Let me know if you want to adopt Zod; we still have him!

UPDATE: Zod has gone to his forever home!

2022 Catholic Media Award!

Excited to share that my article in The Way of St. Francis, “Entering Lent from a Hermitage,” received a Catholic Media Award! It was awarded second place in the “Best Essay – Religious Order Magazines” category. The comments left by the awards committee are below:

Just a really smooth personable writer, with a very, very timely column. Great concepts – QuaranTeens and Blursday, being in Covid quarantine as a spiritual hermitage. Graceful writer, who really turns nice phrases with ease.

Journeying Together…

What a time! It was hope-filled, hard work, inspiring, exhausting, and so much more. I met so many great people and I think we all walked away seeing things differently than when we arrived. As Fr. Frank Cancro said in his homily, “The journey was part of the gift.” I’ll link to any pages that come up later that have resources (including my talk) from the gathering. But for now I’ll share the photo of my working group; Fr. Frank was also our facilitator and–because he is a minister for circuses–he gifted us with these noses. A good way to celebrate together to conclude our steadfast work. Don’t forget, the proceedings report is just below.

Intercultural Report Released

I’m excited to share the report on Journeying Together with you! Journeying Together is a multi-year effort to better understand the experiences of race and ethnicity among youth and young adults in the Catholic Church and society more broadly. I was on the editorial team and, wow, it’s been a really amazing gift to be a part of these efforts. This report will be the working document for the 350 youth, young adults and their ministers who will gather in Chicago this June; I’m very honored to be on the opening plenary there, too.

Here’s to one more step in creating a more just, inclusive and beautiful Church and world.

Named Laudato Si’ Fellow

Thank you to the Frances G. Harpst Center for Catholic Thought and Culture (CCTC) at the University of San Diego for recognizing me and several others as Laudato Si’ Fellows. I’m looking forward to the award reception this evening as well as to meeting the other fellows who are involved in important climate change work. Thank you, CCTC, for encouraging work in this critical issue!