top of page

Columns with The Monitor (2014, 2017-2020)

Below is a collection of Rambling Spirit columns I wrote for The Monitor, the newspaper of the Diocese of Trenton.

The Rambling Spirit column shares everyday practical wisdom while daring to explore the mysteries of the Catholic Faith. Through the column, I aim to capture what it’s like to be a young Catholic in today’s world, and debunk the common belief that young Catholics have to leave their religion in order to explore the world and complete their elusive soul search.



Wonder greater than the universe

"The stars filled the night sky, as my brother-in-law and I reflected on the sheer size of the universe."

2/21/2019  Rambling Spirit Column: What we teach says much about us

“Some years ago – never mind how long precisely,” I attended a board of education meeting as a journalist, covering a story about the use of R-rated films in class lessons at a local high school....


7/26/2018  Rambling Spirit Column: Debt, God's mercy and the divine pedagogy

A priest wants to buy a car for a friend who has been down on his luck, but can’t for one ridiculous reason. A new father needs to buy a home because his one bedroom apartment is too small for his growing family, but the same barrier prevents him. Countless young men and women have bought things they never needed in attempt to dodge the same predicament: no credit. Not bad credit. Just no credit....


7/1/2018  Rambling Spirit Column: Why it's so hard to find a good story

Have you ever walked out of a movie theater or finished a novel wondering, “What happened to good storytelling?”

Movies full of special effects and famous actors, and novels full of profanity, sex and shallow suspense seem to cover up the reality that most of today’s popular storytellers aren’t that good at telling good stories anymore.


5/2/2018  Rambling Spirit Column: Restoring hope in history

There are two popular ways of looking at human history, as far as I know. Either it is linear like a highway headed to a destination, or it’s cyclical like the seasons and has no ultimate end....


4/5/2018  Rambling Spirit Column: Renouncing relativism, the philosophy of self

We are in a philosophical crisis, and it is caused by too much self-interest. This leads to us thinking a great deal about one another as well, which sounds good until we realize that our impetus for doing so comes from the same dangerous philosophy of self.

We are so interested in not offending one another that we avoid speaking truth due to its tendency to often offend people. God, being truth, subsequently falls into a very inconvenient corner of our conversations....


3/8/2018  Rambling Spirit Column: True friendship the key to having a relationship with God

My friend Jerry loves to work out. He knows all the best exercise routines and has made staying in shape into an admirable hobby of his. He also loves his Catholic faith, and somewhere along his spiritual journey, he noticed that he was spending a lot more time exercising than he was with God. His faith life suffered as a result....


12/13/2017  Rambling Spirit Column: Shroud of Turin sheds light on historical facts of Christianity

The streets of Manhattan had a rigorous ambiance that Monday evening. People were rushing home from work, robustly conversing on their cell phones in expensive suits, loading trucks and delivering food on bikes....


11/2/2017  Rambling Spirit Column: Why George R.R. Martin is not the 'American Tolkien'

Before the popular HBO series “Game of Thrones” aired, George R.R. Martin was mostly known by just fantasy book geeks. Despite this esoteric reputation, the literary source of the HBO series – “A Song of Ice and Fire” – inspired Time Magazine to call the series’ Bayonne-native author the “American Tolkien.”


5/4/2017  Rambling Spirit Column: Good deeds sometimes need a lifestyle reality check

When I was 23, I was restless, so I moved to Philadelphia with the determination to start an intentional Catholic young adult community with some friends. It is a chapter of my life I don’t talk about too often because we kind of failed at what we tried to do. In the eight years since, however, I have noticed how that failure was just what I needed at the time....


4/6/2017 Rambling Spirit Column: Multimedia an opportunity to evangelize with what inspires you

We often think of “mission territory” as those cultures in areas of the world yet to be evangelized and catechized, but it goes far beyond places on a map....


11/6/2014  Why believing in God is reasonable

Irony can be humbling, because it shows us how life is the exact opposite of what we expected. More often than not, the supernatural is the same way.


10/8/2014  How to look at our jobs differently

Work can be tough. Often, it is draining, daunting and hectic. Sometimes it is monotonous, other times it might be frustrating and time-consuming. Yet, it is still good.


9/11/2014  It's what we do with wealth that counts

If we look at the advice Jesus gives regarding wealth, it may seem like he is calling everyone to denounce all possessions: “Sell what belongs to you.”(Matt. 19:21) and “store up treasures in heaven” (Matt. 6:20) because “Where a man’s heart is, there his treasure is also” (Matt. 6:21).


8/21/2014  Remembering what's right in front of us

The family, local community and land that I am a part of are what bring me back to what matters...


8/2/2014  When words are more than words

Words are all I’ve ever written, read, or spoken. Yet when I need them most, they often flee. ...


7/23/2014  RAMBLING SPIRIT -- Our history: Built on lives of everyday Christians

I firmly believe that the most assuring thing about being Catholic is how normal we are. Yes, there have been many saints who have lived exceptionally holy lives, but most of us Catholics are masters of the mundane parts of life, fulfilling routine tasks with patience and humility.


7/4/2014  How do free will and God's plan work together?

If God has a plan for me, what’s the point in having free will? This is a question that comes up every now and then among friends when we’re talking about choosing a path in life, and trying to make sense of our deepest desires.


6/23/2014  Remembering how our relationship with God began

“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5).

With these words God calls Jeremiah and appoints him a prophet to the nations. Keeping in mind that we are all called to be prophets, our journey begins where Jeremiah’s does – with a calling to greatness.


6/9/2014  Rambling Spirit: A Catholic map for the wanderer

“Not all those who wander are lost.”

In J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf uses these words to describe Strider, the suspicious ranger in the corner at the Inn of the Prancing Pony. As a young “roaming Catholic,” I find reassurance in the wizard’s words, because they point to the reality that there is freedom in adherence to the truth; and once someone has found the truth his journey has only begun....

bottom of page