Megan Sweas

Writer, Editor, Student of Life



Will a Thriving Singles Scene Renew American Catholicism?

Published by Religion Dispatches, Center for Religion and Civic Culture, February 12, 2016

As the choir rehearses before St. Monica’s Sunday evening Mass, two blond women in skinny jeans slide into a pew in the rear of the church and chat quietly. A few pews back a woman wearing a mid-thigh length dress and a long sweater genuflects before beginning to pray. Before long, the church is filled with attractive people under 40.

St. Monica Catholic Community is a destination parish for young adults in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles with a reputation for being the place where young, attractive Catholics go to seek somebody special—and I don’t mean Jesus.

Continue reading “Will a Thriving Singles Scene Renew American Catholicism?”

Young Catholics drawn to Pope Francis. Church life and dogma? Not so much

Published by Religion News Service, September 24, 2015

LOS ANGELES (RNS) When Regina Bunye catches sight of Pope Francis in Philadelphia on Saturday (Sept. 26), it won’t be her first glimpse of the pontiff. Last year, she took part in a pilgrimage to Rome, where she got within 20 feet of Francis, who waved to her group.

“It’s kind of like seeing a rock star up close,” said Bunye, 36. “He is just a connection away from St. Peter and then Jesus … and he’s an incredible man.”

Like Bunye, the young adults descending on Philadelphia this week may be Francis’ biggest fans. Continue reading “Young Catholics drawn to Pope Francis. Church life and dogma? Not so much”

Spanish Speakers Learn Hinduism at Hollywood Vedanta Society

Published on, February 18, 2011

Vedanta Center ClassThe small group studying the Bhagavad Gita at the Vedanta Society in Hollywood dissected just one four-line verse during their Sunday afternoon course, and much of the discussion centered on one word.

To Antoni Subirats, “clemencia,” as the Sanskrit word was translated into Spanish, implied a formal pardon from a king or a soldier. It was not a quality easy emulated today, in his opinion. The English translation, however, used “forbearance.” He turned to his follow classmates—two Indian Americans, a Mexican American, a Filipino man, and the Argentinean nun running the class—to explain what the English word meant.

“If we stick to the literal meaning of the word, we don’t go forward,” Indrajit Sarkar said, turning the conversation to forgiveness. The Gita is about a battle, he explained, but it can be applied to our spiritual lives as well. “I’m fighting a battle every day in my life.”

Sunday at 11 a.m. is known as the most segregated hour of the week, as races and language groups separate for their own religious services. Sister Jayanti’s bilingual Bhagavad Gita class, however, is a unique experiment in integrating the practice of Hinduism in the United States. The philosophically oriented Vedanta is both a help and a hindrance in that effort, but the Argentinean nun has founded that working across the lingual divide is a spiritual exercise in itself. …


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”

I’ll be green for Christmas

Published in U.S. Catholic, December 2010

Cover December 2010Let’s not only be green when summer’s here but also during the most wonderful time of the year.

The anticipation was over, the gifts all opened, and nothing left to do except take it all in. Even when I was little, it was one of my favorite moments of Christmas. I’d sit with my loot sorted next to me and survey the living room while peeling the customary orange from my stocking. Red, green, and patterned wrapping paper covered the floor, and the cats, high on new catnip, would be attacking a bow under the tree.

I loved getting the orange, along with an apple and nuts (and chocolate, of course) in my stocking. It felt so Little House on the Prairie, as if these were exotic fruits, a special treat savored in the middle of the winter and not an ordinary purchase at the grocery store. I imagined Pa trekking home from town with brown paper packages—one each for Ma and us girls—getting caught in the blizzard and having to eat our special Christmas treat to survive. Ah, those were the days!

It’s not that I wanted to give up the Nintendo, books, and whatever other toys I got for this frontier fantasy. But at some age I started to see the effect of all my gifts. Eventually my moment of Christmas bliss was over, and we would have to stuff trash bag after trash bag with packages and shiny wrapping paper. According to, Americans produce 25 percent more waste from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, amounting to 25 million tons of extra trash.

Is this any way to celebrate Christ’s birth? …


PDF of “I’ll be green for Christmas”

Religious by nature: An interview with Keith Warner

Edited interview published in U.S. Catholic, April 2010

Keith Warner

Keith Warner, a Franciscan environmental activist, recycles some ancient traditions for modern use.


PDF of “Religious by nature”

I’m Nobody

Perhaps the only poem that I can still recite from memory is Emily Dickinson’s “I’m Nobody.” I learned it in junior high and it stuck with me:

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us?
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know! Continue reading “I’m Nobody”

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