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  Home > Materials & Resources > Make a Difference

  Taking Time to Make a Difference


Overview

Until his retirement in 2012, Paul Leingang (former Executive Director and Past President of CFM-USA) wrote a weekly column for CFM, "Taking the Time to Make a Difference". Over the years, the column won many awards, including a second place in 2009 from the Catholic Press Association of United States and Canada for excellence in spirituality. The citation read in part, "These articles are about things all lay people go through. It's nice to know someone is thinking about the same things." Take some time now to read one or more of Paul’s columns.

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2012

  • August 2012: Hope after violence: Learning to speak a common language
  • July 2012: Seeing with the eyes of a visitor
  • June 2012: What I learned from the maintenance man
  • March 2, 2012: Seeing the promise of new branches from old grapevines
  • February 24, 2012: What do you see on my forehead? Let me tell you what is on yours.
  • February 17, 2012: Plunging into the tumult of everyday life
  • January 27, 2012: Extra mittens: A winter story
  • January 20, 2012: An invitation to a family reunion: Are you going?
  • January 13, 2012: What we want to do and what we ought to do
  • January 6, 2012: Between light and shadow, fear and knowledge

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    2011

  • December 23, 2011: There was this guy walking along the road . . .
  • December 16, 2011: An experience of grandfather, father and son
  • December 9, 2011: Finding a path in the winter of things undone
  • December 2, 2011: Reading the story of humanity in a field, a stone, a windy hillside
  • November 25, 2011: What’s in a name? Who do we honor?
  • November 18, 2011: There oughta be a law
  • November 4, 2011: Lesson learned on a journey of misplaced trust
  • October 28, 2011: A birthday party and a train ride: A Study in contrasts
  • October 21, 2011: A calendar of family events, holy days and obligations
  • October 14, 2011: Enjoying the neighborhood informal distributions system
  • October 7, 2011: Respecting each other: Learning from the culture of others
  • September 30, 2011: Flashing lights and other encounters
  • September 23, 2011: A place, a time, to ‘gentle down’
  • September 16, 2011: Gathered together, then sent on our way
  • September 9, 2011: Finding hope on the anniversary of sorrow
  • September 2, 2011: Comfort and joy in commitment: How to make a difference
  • August 26, 2011: A view from the kitchen window, a glimpse of God’s world
  • August 19, 2011: The news of the day, and what it means
  • July 15, 2011: Packing for the destination, not the origin
  • July 8, 2011: Packing for a journey with good companions
  • June 10, 2011: A street, a shopping cart, a lesson given
  • June 3, 2011: Why it is not about beauty, bathing and gratitude
  • May 27, 2011: Searching for the words to describe a family experience
  • May 20, 2011: Of garden delights and other signs of God’s goodness
  • May 13, 2011: Someone to say the truth, someone to hear it
  • May 6, 2011: Signs and wonders, a day not ordinary
  • April 29, 2011: One foot at a time, or ‘Don’t just stand there!’
  • April 22, 2011: Fixing the world: It’s the Christian’s calling
  • April 15, 2011: Can you get there from here?
  • April 8, 2011: About sunny days and shelter from the storms
  • April 1, 2011: Neighbors old and new
  • March 25, 2011: Meager gifts? Or more than enough?
  • March 18, 2011: Some elementary observations, an ultimate question
  • March 11, 2011: Daily bread, a cultural introduction, a weapon for gain
  • March 4, 2011: It’s all in the family
  • February 25, 2011: Some thoughts on these remarkable times
  • February 18, 2011: Some thoughts, briefly in passing
  • February 11, 2011: An 11-week old gift from God
  • February 4, 2011: Some good directions: Left, right and straight ahead
  • January 28, 2011: Reflection on frustration, taking appropriate action
  • January 21, 2011: Saluting those who do mercy, make a difference
  • January 14, 2011: The not quite original sin
  • January 7, 2011: What I have seen and heard

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    2010

  • December 24, 2010: Looking ahead with a companion who cannot see
  • December 17, 2010: A family’s gift at Christmas time
  • December 10, 2010: Of violent tongues and quiet times
  • December 3, 2010: Some thoughts about families away from home
  • November 26, 2010: A station, a train, an early morning
  • November 19, 2010: An ordinary way to change the world
  • November 12, 2010: Old friends, a new effort to make a difference
  • November 5, 2010: A visit to a prison, without leaving home
  • October 29, 2010: Of neighborhood projects and national politics
  • October 22, 2010: People who take time to make a difference
  • October 15, 2010: Gratitude may not be enough, in justice
  • October 8, 2010: When I was little, when I was big . . .
  • October 1, 2010: A plunge into humanity
  • September 24, 2010: All about other people on the same streets and highways
  • September 17, 2010: Welcoming company into our home
  • September 10, 2010: A funny thing happened on the way to Ferdinand
  • September 3, 2010: When the center is torn away . . .
  • August 27, 2010: Something else in my life I’ll never finish
  • August 20, 2010: Give us this day our daily bread
  • August 13, 2010: Finding God’s grace at the other end of the pew
  • August 6, 2010: Reflections on the walls between us all
  • July 30, 2010: Connecting family and friends in difficult times
  • July 23, 2010: A rainy day in summer, a time of grace
  • July 16, 2010: A tale of two phone calls
  • July 9, 2010: A funny thing on the way to the playground
  • July 2, 2010: A woman, a revelation, a smile
  • June 25, 2010: On the blessing of family and community
  • June 18, 2010: What does it take to make a difference?
  • June 11, 2010: Looking into the face of another
  • June 4, 2010: Dreams and realities, and the need for reassurance
  • May 28, 2010: Of words and music and culture
  • May 21, 2010: About peace and justice and beauty
  • May 14, 2010: Continuing the work of creation
  • May 7, 2010: What is good in traffic is not good in Christian life
  • April 30, 2010: It’s not really about buying a patio set
  • April 23, 2010: Along the property line: Part II
  • April 16, 2010: Getting from here to there
  • April 9, 2010: An Easter question: What did you find . . . ?
  • April 2, 2010: Giving a gift, giving it away
  • March 26, 2010: When I was in prison...
  • March 19, 2010: Who is my neighbor?
  • March 12, 2010: About things that grow up and take control
  • March 5, 2010: Guidance in the fog, ahead of us, and after us
  • February 26, 2010: Time to ask directions, and to give them
  • February 19, 2010: Preparing for the coming of the kingdom
  • February 12, 2010: Relying on worldly things, and other foolishness
  • February 5, 2010: When the news is bad
  • January 29, 2010: Seeing a neighbor, through the eyes of a child
  • January 22, 2010: Thinking about the family of God, our family
  • January 15, 2010: Getting used to the cold, and other conditions
  • January 8, 2010: About gossip and truth and mercy

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    2009

  • December 25, 2009: Along the way through 2010
  • December 18, 2009: A gift on a cold December night
  • December 11, 2009: Our family and friends and neighbors
  • December 4, 2009: Thoughts about home, and who is welcome there
  • November 27, 2009: Looking into the face of a killer
  • November 20, 2009: About groceries and global hunger
  • November 13, 2009: Seeking justice (or maybe punishment)
  • November 6, 2009: Challenge today: Observe, judge, act
  • October 30, 2009: In appreciation for a storehouse of inspiration
  • October 23, 2009: About some saints who made a difference
  • October 16, 2009: Something to think about while you wait
  • October 9, 2009: A slightly irreverent reflection on food
  • October 2, 2009: In appreciation of beautiful places
  • September 25, 2009: Discovering a physical and spiritual reality
  • September 11, 2009: Where do you see yourself in this picture?
  • September 4, 2009: From action to thought, thought to action
  • August 28, 2009: A volunteer went out with an invitation...
  • August 21, 2009: In memory of Jim McGinnis, and St. Francis, too
  • August 14, 2009: Bread and water: punishment or redemption?
  • August 7, 2009: How do you decide if they are really needy?
  • July 31, 2009: ‘Love and a reasonable degree of structure’
  • July 24, 2009: An everyday story: Waiting till January for Christmas
  • July 17, 2009: Learning the power of the meek and humble
  • July 10, 2009: I wish more people would know what he did ...
  • July 3, 2009: A prayer: Lord, that I may see
  • June 26, 2009: Take some time to read the book of the universe
  • June 19, 2009: Acknowledging what is done on my behalf
  • June 12, 2009: What happens in public stays in public
  • June 5, 2009: Where you work: Sanctification or frustration?
  • May 29, 2009: Meditation on a bag of Cypress mulch
  • May 22, 2009: Church of the home, church of the car
  • May 15, 2009: An unexpected discovery in the search for the holy
  • May 8, 2009: Finding gateways into a deeper reality
  • May 1, 2009: What are you afraid of?
  • April 24, 2009: Taking the time for an ‘Easter laugh’
  • April 17, 2009: A mingling of past, present and future
  • April 10, 2009: An Easter reflection: Oh the humanity!
  • April 3, 2009: More than a game, a lesson for life
  • March 27, 2009: Some words to keep next to the telephone
  • March 13, 2009: Reflections on the life of a new project
  • March 6, 2009: Who moved my coat?
  • February 27, 2009: They call it "the season."
  • February 20, 2009: Safety, security, productivity and other promises
  • February 13, 2009: Wouldn’t that make a difference!
  • February 6, 2009: Standard lines, human responses
  • January 30, 2009: Lord, when did we see you without electricity?
  • January 23, 2009: Find the one who can make it happen
  • January 16, 2009: A perfect picture, with the help of family
  • January 9, 2009: What’s in the fine print of your public witness?

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    2008

  • December 26, 2008: Temptation at a stop light, overcome for a while
  • December 19, 2008: Of words and actions at Christmas time
  • December 12, 2008: What do you see from the windows of your house?
  • December 5, 2008: Reflection on the family home, what it means
  • November 28, 2008: A short course in salvation history
  • November 21, 2008: What are we doing ‘for the children?’
  • November 14, 2008: Time to put a penny in the old man’s hat
  • November 7, 2008: Can you see what I am trying to say?
  • October 31, 2008: When the band plays on, what do you hear?
  • October 24, 2008: Time to take a tour of your family life
  • October 17, 2008: Of bits and rudders and tongues
  • October 10, 2008: When food is only a commodity, life is lost
  • October 3, 2008: When politics and religion converge
  • September 26, 2008: What do you see at your front door?
  • September 19, 2008: A plea to answer the call of one who is waiting
  • September 12, 2008: It’s not the answer, it’s the assurance
  • September 5, 2008: A leaf, a tree, an altar, and the view from inside
  • August 29, 2008: Just go down this street, turn left...
  • August 22, 2008: About the work of human hands
  • August 15, 2008: Keep Kids Alive Drive 25®
  • August 8, 2008: Turning the cheek? or the tables in the temple?
  • August 1, 2008: Summer at the lake or in the heat of the city?
  • July 25, 2008: Food: A right, not merely a commodity
  • July 18, 2008: Taking a look at our role as innkeepers
  • July 11, 2008: A family story, holiness at home
  • July 4, 2008: The common thread: Connection with others
  • June 27, 2008: How cultures are connected
  • June 20, 2008: Having fun with people having fun
  • June 13, 2008: It was big, but not big enough
  • May 30, 2008: Of brothers and sisters and strangers, all part of the family
  • May 23, 2008: Ours to use, but not to own
  • May 16, 2008: A priceless gift: Admission into a family
  • May 9, 2008: When did we see you homeless?
  • May 2, 2008: Who is my neighbor, and where is the line?
  • April 25, 2008: About married life and separate places
  • April 18, 2008: So what, yeah but, why not
  • April 11, 2008: What’s new? What’s news?
  • April 4, 2008: Of field and farm and family
  • March 28, 2008: Just getting what they deserve
  • March 21, 2008: Some nun, some singer, some ordinary event
  • March 14, 2008: An exercise to help us see reality
  • March 7, 2008: A little Barabbas in all of us
  • February 29, 2008: Taking the time to get ‘inside’ the fiesta of faith
  • February 22, 2008: The reality of homelessness, possibility of hope
  • February 15, 2008: Some simple thoughts along the way
  • February 8, 2008: . . . a time to say hello
  • February 1, 2008: Proposing an addition to the works of mercy
  • January 25, 2008: Looking forward to Lent
  • January 18, 2008: When will I ever have the time to . . .
  • January 11, 2008: After the storm, and what it means for us

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    2007

  • December 28, 2007: ‘He did more than get them singing’
  • December 21, 2007: Words of power, words of justice
  • December 14, 2007: How will we know this is the one?
  • December 7, 2007: An Advent reflection: Light from light
  • November 30, 2007: . . . of fathers and begotten sons
  • November 23, 2007: A name above all names
  • November 16, 2007: . . . seen and unseen . . .
  • November 9, 2007: Heaven and earth, and you and me, too
  • November 2, 2007: In the house of my father and mother
  • October 26, 2007: I believe in one God
  • October 19, 2007: He’s looking at me!
  • October 12, 2007: Encouragement to put love into action
  • October 5, 2007: Doers, not hearers only
  • September 28, 2007: What is it that is overwhelming?
  • September 21, 2007: Not even a walking stick?
  • September 14, 2007: A day to support the family meal
  • September 7, 2007: Don’t let friendship slip away
  • August 31, 2007: You just never know . . .
  • August 24, 2007: So how is your day?
  • August 17, 2007: In the name of . . .
  • August 10, 2007: Of music and a great Amen
  • July 27, 2007: Watching us, and watching over us
  • July 20, 2007: What did he really say?
  • July 13, 2007: Wind and waves and what to watch for
  • July 6, 2007: That they all may be one . . .
  • June 29, 2007: Words that must be spoken
  • June 22, 2007: Who are these people?
  • June 8, 2007: Involvement and commitment
  • June 1, 2007: Seeing first the face of Jesus
  • May 25, 2007: What to watch and when to watch it
  • May 18, 2007: Meet, pray, write and send
  • May 11, 2007: When I was thirsty . . .
  • May 4, 2007: A tribute to Terry
  • April 27, 2007: An old idea with a new application
  • April 20, 2007: A neighbor, not a number
  • April 13, 2007: About things that are unfinished
  • April 6, 2007: Have you seen him yet?
  • March 30, 2007: Take the time to tell the difference
  • March 23, 2007: A small fire may be just enough
  • March 16, 2007: Down the hall, down the hill
  • March 9, 2007: A full adventure package
  • March 2, 2007: Following the followers? Or the leader?
  • February 23, 2007: Working toward a well-formed conscience
  • February 16, 2007: Another way to look at things
  • February 9, 2007: Taking the time to listen
  • February 2, 2007: Sharing the good news
  • January 26, 2007: They know who I am
  • January 19, 2007: When you need a good answer . . .
  • January 12, 2007: Guess who’s coming to lunch
  • January 5, 2007: What exactly does that mean for you?

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    2006

  • December 22, 2006: Of choirs and sleigh bells
  • December 15, 2006: A free gift for all
  • December 8, 2006: Time to take another look at the script
  • December 1, 2006: From magazines, bishops and bibles
  • November 24, 2006: We were towing the car . . .
  • November 17, 2006: Did you hear the story . . .?
  • November 10, 2006: Scraping old wallpaper away
  • November 3, 2006: Thoughts on life in between
  • October 27, 2006: A pilgrimage of everyday life
  • October 6, 2006: What we went to see . . .
  • September 29, 2006: Here I am Lord
  • September 22, 2006: Do you want to have power?
  • September 15, 2006: The beginning of a beautiful relationship
  • September 8, 2006: Ordinary witnesses of extraordinary value
  • September 1, 2006: Time to pay attention to each other
  • August 18, 2006: Of dreams and realities
  • August 11, 2006: Thoughts on crime and punishment
  • July 21, 2006: The footsteps of a saint
  • July 14, 2006: Time for a family meal
  • June 30, 2006: Helping families to stay connected
  • June 23, 2006: Winning, not everything, not even enough
  • June 16, 2006: Music, film and family connections
  • June 9, 2006: We are each other’s keepers
  • June 2, 2006: Keeping connected with family, faith
  • May 19, 2006: Transformation, celebration, affirmation
  • May 12, 2006: Then and now, and what to do about it
  • May 5, 2006: Through the eyes of one person
  • April 28, 2006: A lesson from the garden (tiller)
  • April 21, 2006: An invitation to the feast
  • April 14, 2006: A few words about Father Sam
  • April 7, 2006: More than tacos and sauerkraut
  • March 31, 2006: Traffic lights and other controls
  • March 24, 2006: Do what you have to do . . .
  • March 17, 2006: A man was walking along the river . . .
  • March 10, 2006:. . . to change a lightbulb
  • March 3, 2006: Our God is the God of runaway slaves
  • February 24, 2006: If the other really became my brother . . .
  • February 17, 2006: On the day after Valentine’s Day
  • February 10, 2006: Where in the world . . .
  • February 3, 2006: Truth, justice and fresh veggies
  • January 27, 2006: Leftover plywood — a view of creation
  • January 20, 2006: About truth in action
  • January 13, 2006: About hopes and healings
  • January 6, 2006: Maximum effort for minimum pay

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    2005

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    2004

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    2003

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    2002

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    2001

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    2000

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