Mark Piper, a Packers fan in an unholy land, is the director of Mercy Associates for the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas West Midwest Community. He resides in Chicago with his family and holds a master's in public policy from DePaul University and a bachelor's from Saint Xavier University; he is an alumus of Amate House, an AmeriCorps-approved year of service organization sponsored by the Chicago Archdiocese.

He writes for NCR's Young Voices blog. Sign up for our weekly email so you don't miss any new content.

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Get religion, lose weight -- sort of

Young Voices: With Pentecost recently celebrated, I've been thinking about charisms, particularly gifts of the Holy Spirit given to the faithful for the common good and the benefit of the church.

Alleluia for umpires: literalists in theological debate

Young Voices: When I was 6, our music liturgist asked us to practice singing the alleluia for Easter; the problem was it was still Lent, and our priest had told us we couldn't say that word.