Author - Francis X. Hezel, SJ

1
Immunization Against Microbes and the Hard Knocks of Life
2
Reflections on Two Years Stateside
3
We Used to Be Just Odd… Now We?re All Sick
4
Easter 2012: He is Risen…Or Is He?
5
The Century of the Pacific
6
Doing Time
7
What Do You Do with a Failed State?
8
A Little Time in the Desert

Immunization Against Microbes and the Hard Knocks of Life

Those hand sanitizers that I wrote about a few months ago are still on the credence table in our church here at Oceanside to keep parishioners safe from germs.? But there is plenty of other evidence germophobia is here in the US to stay.? Last night a woman from the parish told me that some families are taking their kids to see allergy specialists at the first sneeze during the pollen season. I wish I?d had that option years ago when my eyes watered so much with rose fever that I could barely see the book in my hand. Some parents seem to live in fear that Read More

Reflections on Two Years Stateside

Let?s just call this blog posting an update.? Since my time here in the US is coming to an end, let me offer a few thoughts on what these past two years here have given me.? They?ve been very different years?last year at America Magazine and this one at a parish.? Each has played to one of the two facets of ministry that has been especially important to me in the past: speaking to public issues, and personal care for the needy. Read More

Easter 2012: He is Risen…Or Is He?

Long ago when I was ordained a priest, I promised myself that I would never say anything in a homily that I didn?t fully believe.? So for my Easter Sunday homily here at Oceanside, NY, I fell back on a message I?ve used before.? It?s less about pulling Easter bunnies out of hats, or finding that golden Easter egg in the hunt.? It?s more about the problems that the Easter promise presents for anyone who gives a second thought to the world around Read More

The Century of the Pacific

Did you say the ?Century of the Pacific??? What century was that?

Was it perhaps the sixteenth, when Spanish caravels discovered the sea route to Asia and its fabled wealth?? When their navigators began naming the little specks of land they happened upon along the way and sprinkling them on the European maps of that great watery void for the first time?

Or was it the seventeenth, when Read More

Doing Time

When a person entered the walled town he might be greeted by the sight of heads impaled on stakes or a decaying corpse swinging from a tree. Centuries ago, long before there was a United States of America, European kingdoms had their macabre ways of posting warnings that crime was not tolerated there.? Beware, all you who think that you can plunder and kill and plot against rulers, for this will be your fate. Read More

What Do You Do with a Failed State?

First, you find out what the term means.? Unfortunately, the Fund for Peace, an NGO that each year publishes the Index of Failed States, doesn?t seem to offer much help.? It offers a list of symptoms?civil strife, hunger, poor economic performance despite sometimes rich resources, breakdown in government services, widespread corruption, and a steady flow of refugees heading for the border.? But at bottom all these are just consequences of the core problem: a national government that is too weak and ineffective to rule. Read More

A Little Time in the Desert

Not in the spiritual desert, but in Nevada–the home of rattlesnakes, cactus juice and casinos aplenty.? In response to a request to look through the papers of Chuck Helstrom, a former TT police head who died a few months ago, I spent a few days in Las Vegas with friends.? Browsing through his files was a flip through 20 years of island history during the 1970s and 80s: heroin drug busts on Saipan, investigations into the practice of ?crazy eight? handcuffing in Chuuk, death threats against certain congressmen for voting the wrong way, intrigues among the HiCom staff, and so much more. I?d almost forgotten how thrilling those days were.? How many times since then have police been sent into a village at dawn and kicked down doors to get men wanted by the law? Read More