carolyn woo

OUR GLOBAL FAMILY | Going beyond administration

While preparing for the Convocation of Catholic Leaders, I paused on a statement describing a design principle for the event. In calling for missionary discipleship, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the participant guidebook cites Pope Francis' caution that "'mere administration' can no longer be enough."

As I had held administrative posts for almost a quarter of a century with 20 years in Catholic ministries, I took this as one of those learning moments to stop and think.

OUR GLOBAL FAMILY | Single but not alone

As Mother's Day approaches, fresh in my memory are recent encounters with two single mothers. First is my hairstylist who works two jobs, in the morning as an elementary school aide and then at the salon. Her polite greeting could not hide her apparent fatigue.

Another is a woman, recently widowed, with a third child about to enter college. The family finances had been drained by the long illness of her beloved husband. She felt utterly alone.

OUR GLOBAL FAMILY | Preparation for the test

I felt a sense of colossal relief after my doctoral defense, noting that I would never have to take a test again. But of course, bigger tests awaited.

Christ was frequently tested: In the desert by the devil, by the Pharisees who were threatened and envious, by the apostles who resisted a way without worldly glory and by His own doubts before the crucifixion when Jesus wondered whether His Father had abandoned Him.

GUEST COLUMNIST | Retirement: An invitation for something more

I recently finished my five-year term of service at Catholic Relief Services and now write in my status as "me" and not whatever titles I have held since starting my professional career in 1979. Yes, this is the big step: retirement.

Retirement is definitely about letting go. A friend told me that retirement was very difficult for him. After giving notice to his board, he found himself depressed and carrying a great deal of anxiety and hostility toward nothing in particular and everything in general. He eventually sought help from a counselor.

OUR GLOBAL FAMILY | Rethinking Thanksgiving after the Year of Mercy

This year, Thanksgiving week starts right after the formal conclusion of the Year of Mercy. How do we incorporate what we have gained from the prayers, talks, readings and reflections that most of us took part in during the year to shape the way we think about and celebrate Thanksgiving?

So much of our Thanksgiving pivots around what fills us with satisfaction and a sense of sufficiency. Like most people, my gratitude is tightly wrapped around all the good things or blessings in my life.

OUR GLOBAL FAMILY | Stark statistics and hopeful responses

To address the bishops of the U.S. mission dioceses on the topic "Economic Structures and Poverty," I spent a month poring over 300 pages of articles and reports, and I ended up reconnecting myself to some stark statistics and opening my eyes to some needed responses by us as a society.

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