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Megan Sweas

Writer, Editor, Student of Life

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Social Justice

Roads less traveled: An interview with Rick Steves

Edited interview published in U.S. Catholic, June 2011

As a tour guide, Rick Steves directs travelers to hotels, restaurants, and museums in Europe, but he points them to God in the developing world. Continue reading “Roads less traveled: An interview with Rick Steves”

Life on the line

Photo story published in U.S. Catholic, December 2010

Along with Karl W. Hoffmann’s photographs, an introduction and captions describe the many sides of border life—migrants’ hope, activists’ care, and residents’ concerns.

At the Kino Border Initiative on the Mexican side of the border in Nogales, Jesuit Father Peter Neeley prays with migrants deported from the United States. On Sundays he frequently presides at Mass on the U.S. side of the border, where many of the parishioners work for homeland security. “Most of them say that’s what you should do,” he says. “ ‘You’re doing what you’re supposed to do; we’re doing what we’re supposed to do.’ They don’t see a contradiction there.”

Fear, hope, tension, and solidarity all coexist in the midst of ordinary life at the border. …

PDF of “Life on the line”

Do your parish justice: An interview with Jack Jezreel

Edited interview published in U.S Catholic, June 2010

Jack JezreelThe most vibrant parishes focus as much on ministry to the poor as they do on ministry in the liturgy, says Jack Jezreel, the founder of JustFaith Ministries.

Read more on USCatholic.org

PDF of “Do your parish justice”

Can this market be saved? An interview with Daniel Finn

Edited interview published in U.S. Catholic, March 2009

Daniel FinnA Catholic view of the market just may be what’s needed to rescue our economy from its moral recession, says economist and theologian Daniel Finn.

Read more on USCatholic.org

PDF of “Can this market be saved?”

Catholic and feminist: You got a problem with that?

Published in U.S. Catholic, January 2009

Catholics ought to be loud and proud in the fight for women’s rights, argues a young feminist.

This is what a feminist looks likeI still remember the first time I heard a friend utter the words I considered near blasphemy: “I’m not a feminist.” I was shocked. We were bright junior high girls in the age of the Spice Girls’ “girl power,” and I, for one, had been raised a feminist by a 1960s feminist mother.

I wasn’t burning my training bras or hating men (they weren’t yet on my radar screen, anyway), but my feminism was ardently liberal and a huge reason I struggled with my faith. …

Read more on USCatholic.org

PDF of “Catholic and Feminist: You got a problem with that?”

Basic training

Photo story published in U.S. Catholic, November 2007

Catholic college students get schooled in peace and protest at the annual School of the Americas vigil.

Loyola students at SOA
Photo by Megan Sweas

“Close it down!” Patrick Eccles, a Loyola University Chicago chaplain, shouted to a group of 50 Loyola students about to embark on a trip to Columbus, Georgia to protest the U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA). “Close it down,” they replied weakly, seeming unsure of their voices, mission, and comrades.

Three days and 830 miles later, the students stood in a tight circle, arms around each other, waiting to return home. After praying together—for the victims of the SOA, for the efforts to close it, and for the community formed over the weekend&mdashthey repeated the call and response. “Close it down!” they yelled unabashedly this time, turning other protesters’ heads.

The moment was spontaneous—”a positive way to keep people together” when the bus was late—says Rachel Hart, a chaplain and trip organizer. Yet after a transformative weekend that was part spiritual retreat, part social action, and part community building, it was an appropriate “sending forth.”

“There was a community and a spirit of the group that didn’t just end in Georgia,” Hart says. …

Read more on USCatholic.org

PDF of “Basic training” (includes photography)

Marked for life

Published in U.S. Catholic, July 2007

Former full-time volunteers confess that their experiences change them for good.

Volunteer for good“This feels like a homecoming,” Beth Knobbe told a retreat group of both new and familiar faces-30 of her fellow alumni from Amate House, a Catholic lay volunteer program in Chicago. Knobbe actually lived with just a few of the retreatants when they were part of the program. Most of the alumni on the retreat were more recent Amate graduates, including eight who had just completed their service year in 2006, 10 years after Knobbe had finished hers. Still, Knobbe immediately felt connected to these young adults, who knew what the full-time volunteer experience was all about.

“All of us can admit that an experience like Amate changes us,” Knobbe said. “We use that wonderful phrase ‘ruined for life,’ which is to say, ‘you will never be the same.'” …

Read more on USCatholic.org

PDF of “Marked for life”

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