Gina Ciliberto is a writer who lives in Minneapolis, Minn., by way of the Bronx. She writes about religion, social justice, food and travel. Her work has been published in Bon Appétit , National Catholic Reporter , HuffPost, ThinkProgress and YES Magazine , among others. She also works as the online communications and programming specialist for the Dominican Sisters of Hope.

In her free time, Gina enjoys fostering bulldogs and companioning small groups of Catholic Sisters and millennial seekers via Nuns and Nones. Follow her on Twitter @ginaciliberto.



Posts By This Author

In First Joint Statement, Top Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican Leaders Plead for Climate Action

by Gina Ciliberto 09-08-2021

Coat of arms of the Holy See and Vatican City, the Emblem of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I, and coat of arms for the Diocese of Canterbury. 

For the first time, the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion came together to issue a joint statement.

In “A Joint Message for the Protection of Creation,” Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, and Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury stressed that Christians need to take part in mitigating climate change. The statement urged individuals and public leaders to play their part in “choosing life” for the future of the planet, and warned of the urgency of environmental sustainability, its impact on poverty, and the importance of global cooperation.

Mutual Aid Is Changing the Way We Help Each Other

by Gina Ciliberto 08-26-2021

Mutual aid illustration via Shutterstock.

Mutual aid — unlike charity — is based on reciprocity. While everyone who participates doesn’t contribute the same way, each person offers something. Proponents of mutual aid often stress that their involvement is not based on giving from their own excess, but practicing solidarity with their community. Most mutual aid is regionally based, as specific as a neighborhood or broad as large cities.

What Does Catholic Sisters' Apology for Racism Mean?

by Gina Ciliberto 08-25-2021

Sister Elise García gives the presidential address at the Leadership Conference of Women Religious 2021 conference. Screenshot by Sojourners. 

Every year the Leadership Conference for Women Religious, an association made up of leaders of institutes for Catholic sisters in the United States, hosts an international assembly. This year, it opened with an apology.

Faith Advocates Express Concern About Biden’s Afghan Refugee Plan

by Gina Ciliberto 08-16-2021

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the crisis in Afghanistan during a speech in the East Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., August 16, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis

On Monday, as the Taliban took over many parts of Afghanistan, President Joe Biden announced the United States intends to “transport out thousands of American citizens and civilian personnel,” as well as Afghans who are eligible for Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) and their families.

Why Did a Nevada Pastor Bless Goats?

by Gina Ciliberto 08-12-2021

The blessed goats. Photo courtesy Chad Adamik

When wildfires raged across Nevada in July, Chad Adamik knew he needed goats.

Sending Your Prayers to God — and Facebook

by Gina Ciliberto 08-02-2021
A church sign stating that online Sunday services are being held via Facebook.

Praying on Facebook differs from praying in church: In a physical church, it’s understood that prayers will be kept confidential within the community. On Facebook, however, prayers are shared with other members of the Facebook group and the content of a prayer request becomes another source of data Facebook can use to send targeted advertisements. Though this practice is outlined in Facebook’s terms and conditions, tech experts question whether those who use the prayer feature are aware of this.

CDC: 1.5 Million Children Orphaned by COVID-19

by Gina Ciliberto 07-22-2021
A child looks at the “Naming the Lost Memorials” at The Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, N.Y., on June 10, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid.

A child looks at the “Naming the Lost Memorials” at The Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, N.Y., on June 10, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid.

According to a new report, 1.5 million children lost at least one primary caregiver to COVID-19 by the end of April 2021.

Children: The Hidden Pandemic 2021 — a joint report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States Agency for International Development, and World Without Orphans, in conjunction with other global child welfare experts — stated that, without immediate action, “the COVID-19 pandemic is destined to leave millions more children orphaned.”

Will U.S. Christians Atone for Church Boarding Schools? Indigenous Leaders Are Skeptical

by Gina Ciliberto 07-20-2021
Recently installed solar lights mark burial sites on Cowessess First Nation, where a search had found 751 unmarked graves from the former Marieval Indian Residential School near Grayson, Saskatchewan in Canada on July 6, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon VanRaes

Recently installed solar lights mark burial sites on Cowessess First Nation, where a search had found 751 unmarked graves from the former Marieval Indian Residential School near Grayson, Saskatchewan in Canada on July 6, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon VanRaes

For Indigenous communities, the existence of these schools and the abuse, neglect, and murder committed within them are not new; Indigenous communities have been aware of — and harmed by — boarding schools, many of them run by Christian groups, for generations. And though Indigenous people have ideas about how Christian communities can atone for their involvement in the schools, many are not sure Christians are willing to listen.

Why Clergy Are Suing Georgia Over New ‘Election Integrity’ Law

by Gina Ciliberto 07-01-2021

People gather during a stop on the Freedom Ride For Voting Rights at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. June 21, 2021. REUTERS/Dustin Chambers

Rev. Carl McCrae, bishop and founding pastor of Exousia Lighthouse International Christian Ministries in Lithonia, Georgia, remembers that his grandfather was one of the first people to vote in Georgia’s Montgomery County. Government officials attempted to prevent his grandfather from voting — until a white man vouched for him. Now, McCrae sees his ministry as continuing his grandfather’s fight for Black and brown Americans’ voting rights.

“I don't see a discontinuation between what I do in the pulpit on Sundays and what I do every day of the week,” McCrae told Sojourners. “That is to advocate for people of color and marginalized people as the systems that are rigged against them seek to destroy them.”

Supreme Court Rules for Catholic Group in LGBTQ Foster Care Case

by Gina Ciliberto, by Joshua Eaton 06-17-2021

The United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., May 17, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Thursday that Philadelphia violated Catholic Social Services’ religious freedom by not placing children with the agency after CSS refused to place foster children with married same-sex couples.

“The refusal of Philadelphia to contract with CSS for the provision of foster care services unless CSS agrees to certify same-sex couples as foster parents violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in a narrow decision.

When a Pipeline Is a Threat to Earth, Water, and Sacred Spaces

by Gina Ciliberto 06-16-2021

Activists and faith leaders father to protest the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project. Photo Courtesy Carla Aronsohn at Cultivate Strategies.

In 1855, the Ojibwe people signed a treaty in Washington, D.C., that retained extensive land use rights in the Great Lakes region for hunting, gathering, fishing, and worship rights for the community. Today, the Ojibwe, who live throughout Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ontario, Canada, still retain these 1855 treaty rights, which are separate from reservation land.

But the Line 3 Replacement Project is seeking to cut through the land, which activists say would directly violate those treaty rights.

Minnesota Churches Building Together in Year After Floyd's Murder

by Gina Ciliberto 06-03-2021

A view of George Floyd Square on the first anniversary of the death of George Floyd, in Minneapolis, May 25, 2021. REUTERS/Nicholas Pfosi

“This solidarity has the potential and the power to propel us into a new future as a community,” Rev. Ingrid Rasmussen, pastor at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, told Sojourners.

Do the New CDC Guidelines Mean a Return to In-person Worship?

by Gina Ciliberto 05-14-2021

Image via Shutterstock / Redaktion93

On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidelines telling people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine that they can now attend a full-capacity worship service and sing in an indoor chorus, among other activities.

While people “will still be required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation” the CDC guidelines now say that if “you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did before the pandemic...without wearing a mask or physically distancing.”

Biden Promised to Admit More Refugees. So Why Hasn’t He?

by Gina Ciliberto 05-03-2021

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks speaks during a brief appearance at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 25, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Throughout his presidential campaign, Joe Biden said he would restore America’s role as a “leader” in refugee resettlement. And despite a discouraging start on fulfilling that promise, faith leaders and other advocates for refugees are determined to hold him to his commitment.

Will Bishops Tell Biden Not to Take Communion Over Abortion?

by Gina Ciliberto 04-28-2021

Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory of Washington, D.C., has said that he would not deny Biden Communion; Rev. C. Kevin Gillespie, pastor of Biden’s home parish in Washington, Holy Trinity Catholic Church, agreed with that decision.

When Conspiracy Theories Come To Church

by Gina Ciliberto 04-28-2021
How to deprogram followers of Trumpism and other extremist cults.
Abstract illustrations of ears, hands, and a church building in a sinister red.

Illustration by Ibrahim Rayintakath

BEFORE 2020, REV. JOSH GELATT did not know much about QAnon. Gelatt had been lead pastor at Cascades Baptist Church in Jackson, Mich., since 2016. On occasion, he had heard congregants allege that “Democrats, liberals, and socialists are evil,” and that “they’re out to close churches and take away guns in the United States.” He had heard Christian nationalistic claims, such as “we are God’s chosen country.”

Gelatt, who does not identify as a Democrat or a Republican, was reasonably concerned. Then in spring 2020, Gelatt noticed what he called an “alarming twist” in his congregation.

After the murder of George Floyd in May, Cascades Baptist Church erupted with QAnon’s apocalyptic conspiracy theories, which the FBI has warned may lead some adherents to domestic terrorism. In the church and on social media, Gelatt witnessed members share false allegations that then-presidential candidate Joe Biden had “an island with an underground submarine where he receives his pedophile orders” and that there were “underground railroads between various cities run by Hollywood elites.” Congregants claimed that then-President Donald Trump was going to “seize power, execute the liberals, and expose pedophile rings.”

Despite Hate From Evangelicals, Katharine Hayhoe Sees Climate Hope

by Gina Ciliberto 04-20-2021

Katharine Hayhoe poses for a portrait. Courtesy photo. (Ashley Rodgers/Texas Tech University)

Hayhoe’s passion for climate science is based in her Christian faith. Hayhoe is an evangelical, which she defines as “someone who takes the Bible seriously.” For her, faith and science go hand in hand: The more that she learns about science, the more her “awe” and faith in God increases.

Christians Counter the Rise of Anti-Trans Legislation

by Gina Ciliberto 04-14-2021
Trans Christians and their allies see affirming gender expression as a “holy endeavor.”

A person holds up a flag to protest a proposal to narrow the definition of gender during a 2018 rally at City Hall in New York City. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

On April 6, the Arkansas State Legislature passed a bill that will make it a felony to provide gender-affirming healthcare to transgender people under the age of 18.

The legislature overrode a veto from Gov. Asa Hutchinson to pass HB 1570, also known as the Save Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) Act. The bill criminalizes prescribing puberty blockers, hormones, and gender-affirming surgery, and prohibits medical providers from referring patients to other providers for such treatment.

Biden Proclaims César Chávez Day to Honor the Labor Activist

by Gina Ciliberto 04-01-2021

A child looks at a photograph of César Chávez. Photo: lunita lu / CC BY-NC 2.0

In a White House proclamation, President Joe Biden declared March 31, 2021 as César Chávez Day. Biden called upon “all Americans to observe this day as a day of service and learning, with appropriate service, community, and education programs to honor César Chávez’s enduring legacy.”

Why Do Chaplains Have To Pay for Their Internships?

by Gina Ciliberto 03-30-2021

Earlier this month, after a tweet reignited a debate about the inequity of unpaid internships, one corner of the internet pointed out that clinical pastoral education, an unpaid internship that often costs tuition, is an overlooked part of the work-for-free problem.