April 5, 2021

The school where I teach spent the summer debating whether or not to attempt a hybrid teaching model or to go totally virtual. Although our decision to opt for the latter made me feel safer, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to forge meaningful connections with my students through the screen. Senior year is already a dramatic one for high schoolers, and I make it my goal every year to be intentional about accompanying them through that drama…. Read more

March 25, 2021

“I used to distract myself,” writes James Baldwin in his 1964 essay Nothing Personal, “some mornings before I got out of bed, by pressing the television remote control gadget from one channel to another. This may be the only way to watch TV: I certainly saw some remarkable sights.” Baldwin, renowned for his commentary on race and American culture, was not one to parse words. His sharp critiques of American culture scraped away at the hypocrisy and superficiality that covered… Read more

March 16, 2021

“The Pope said something about gay.” *cue media firestorm* As the author of Ecclesiastes reminds us, “there’s nothing new under the sun.”  We were reminded once again today of what the Church proclaimed in the 1986 “Halloween Letter”: that the Catholic Church affirms the dignity of all people, no matter how their erotic desire happens to manifest, and that we are called to orient our sexuality toward God, in a manner that conforms to his creative design. While the Popes… Read more

March 7, 2021

As a teacher at (what used to be) an all boys Benedictine high school, I’m often confronted with the common pitfalls of Gen Z males. I constantly have to remind them to take pride in their work and in the way they carry themselves, to stop goofing around and procrastinating. The more I engage with them in one on one conversations, I realize how much many of them lack discipline. For some, it’s due to the lack of a father… Read more

February 21, 2021

For reggaeton artist Ozuna, life is an “odyssey.” In a genre that tended to uphold bravado, domination, and hedonism as ideals, this metaphor distinguishes his image and artistic vision from those of earlier reggaetoneros. Ozuna is not alone, though–his lack of fear of bearing his vulnerability and the introspective tone of his lyrics reflects a growing trend within “musica urbana,” (which I wrote about at length in this article) which combines the traditional dem bow rhythm of reggaeton with the… Read more

January 31, 2021

A letter to my students at our Benedictine high school Picture this–you’re sitting in the middle of a class that you find to be even more boring than a phone with a dead battery. You keep checking the time, praying that it will all finish faster. “When is this going to end?” you think to yourself, as your head starts to droop onto the desk. Your teacher shakes you awake and tells you to pay attention. “For what?” you wonder…. Read more

January 22, 2021

“With God, there’s no one who can keep the phoenix from flying.”  Puerto Rican Reggaeton artist Nicky Jam’s popular biographical Netflix series centers on the symbol of the mythical bird who rises from the ashes. The show weaves together his life story from his tumultuous childhood in Massachusetts, to the beginning of his music career in Puerto Rico, to his struggle with substance abuse, and his eventual career comeback.  We first meet Nicky as he wakes up from sex with… Read more

January 7, 2021

Originally Published in Convivium Journal, available for purchase at Amazon My grandfather grasped the chant stand with both hands, the rest of his body vibrating along with the timbre of his voice. His soaring notes and roller coaster-like melismas painted a luscious, colorful backdrop against the stage set before me. It was Good Friday, the day in the Orthodox liturgical calendar I’ve always awaited anxiously, because of its sacredness and theatricality. As the priest bolted down the main aisle flinging… Read more

December 29, 2020

If there was any plus side to living through a global pandemic, it was finding the time to write. Whenever an idea for an article starts swirling around in my head, it drives me crazy until I find the time to pour it out onto a page. Writing has become my creative outlet. It’s a means for me to communicate my discoveries and experiences with others, and to provoke thought and generate dialogue. I decided to put together some of… Read more

December 26, 2020

Hulu’s Ramy is loosely based on the life of Ramy Youssef, who the show stars and was created by. Ramy is a first generation Egyptian-American growing up in a middle class New Jersey neighborhood. His parents, who are nominally Muslim, pamper their only son, who still lives at home as a young adult and is struggling to maintain a fulltime job. Though their expectations of him are lax, he knows that their one demand is that he settle down with a… Read more

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