November 28, 2016
I was 13 years old when I took my first steps inside the lobby of Cardinal O’Hara High School. It was just after the New Year, and returning students were already stationed at their desks. Peeking into the classrooms, I saw orderly, uniformed rows facing the crucifix, ready to chant in unison the Our Father and Hail Mary. There was no cue from the P.A. system to begin the prayers; there were no pamphlets to guide the recitation of those well-...
January 2, 2017
I began my journey of discernment in high school believing it was an easy and almost magical process. I saw it play out fruitfully in the lives of others, but as I entered the seminary in my senior year, my own discernment took on a dynamic that I was not eager to face. Discernment was often a challenging and frustratingly long process for me. While deciding on a vocation can be incredibly joyful and fulfilling, the path to this decision can be a challenging one to walk with God. Yet,...
September 26, 2016
I have always felt connected to water. I come from a line of recreational sailors and boaters, and the anchor has often served as a symbol of my life’s journey. Throughout this journey, there have been moments where I have been broken, and it is during these moments when I learned to ground myself in my spiritual anchor, God.
During my freshman year of college at the University of Michigan, the best advice I...
September 12, 2016
By the time Nov. 13 came around, I was well adjusted to the 10-and-a-half hour time difference between New York City, my hometown, and Bengaluru, one of the largest cities in South India, where I was pursuing a study-abroad program on international development. In addition to the time difference, the spotty internet connectivity and frequent power outages hampered my ability to communicate with my family and friends, let alone keep up with the 24-...
June 6-13, 2016
As a child I could never find God in his house. Sitting in Mass I felt like a machine that could not manage to function properly. I had all the right parts and pieces, but together they would not produce the desired outcome. Looking around, it seemed as if everyone else was automatically filled with God’s grace as soon at they walked in the church doors.
This was especially true of my mother. She found God at a young age and...
May 23-30, 2016
I grew up quietly. My mother was an unswerving volunteer at the Coptic Orthodox church, and I was a Sunday-school teacher throughout my teen years. Our parish priest was a great inspiration of mine. I believed in God and the four walls of my room and my parents and my friends. That was all I knew and that was all I needed and I was content. I learned Bible verses. I studied Coptic hymnology. I told myself I was going to become a deaconess....
May 16, 2016
On Nov. 30, 2012, fresh out of high school and ready for college, I read The Plain Dealer’s reports on the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams. Mr. Russell and Ms. Williams were two unarmed and periodically homeless individuals who were shot 137 times by Cleveland police officers.
During this time, I was introduced to the city’s protest culture. Demonstrators met every Friday in Cleveland’s Public Square. They...
April 4-11, 2016Scranton, Pa.: August 2014
It is two days before I leave for college, and you and I are on our final Monday outing of the summer. Three green glass candles nestle in the third row of candleholders in the Grotto of St. Ann’s Shrine in Scranton, Pa. I think the old woman who sits at the teacher-like desk in the corner to collect the offerings sets them out for you right before we arrive every Monday at 1 p.m. You give the old woman $15 as I scamper to the...
March 7, 2016
That Sunday afternoon, when we walked onto the worksite, there were foul smells, piles of junk and dangling weeds that covered the wood and ground of the structure that was our assigned “house.” After taking a second to look around, all I could think was, “How could someone live here?” When we walked toward the house, a lady came outside smiling to welcome us to her home. She introduced herself as Ms. J. and gave us a tour of her five-room house. The floors...
January 4-11, 2016
My faith journey began in a Tupperware container. I can’t say why, exactly, I was baptized in such an unusual vessel—perhaps the church was doing a lot of baptisms that day. But while my baptismal font may have been unconventional, my faith wouldn’t be the same without it.
I have been in Catholic school since my first day of prekindergarten at the Boston College Children’s Center. Ever since my 2-year-old self joined Ms....