US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Better Know A Parish: Church of the Madonna, Fort Lee, NJ

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Parish name: Madonna Parish

Location (City, State): Fort Lee, NJ

Year founded: 1858

Diocese: Newark

Pastor: Rev Bruce Janiga

Number of parishioners: 1281 families

Parish website: madonnachurch.org


Better Know A Parish: St. Paul the Apostle, Westerville, OH

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Parish name: St. Paul the Apostle

Location (City, State): Westerville, Ohio

Year founded: 1913

Diocese: Diocese of Columbus

Pastor: Rev. Charles F. Klinger

Number of parishioners: 4100+ registered families

Parish website: http://stpaulcatholicchurch.org/


Can a pastor make everyone happy in a multicultural parish?

It’s difficult to ensure parishioners from different cultures all feel welcome.

By Father Bill Barman | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Your Faith

A wet knot on a pair of sneakers is hard to untie—even harder when they’re on your feet. As the pastor of a multigenerational, multicultural, and multilingual (Spanish, Vietnamese, and English) parish, I at times feel responsible for untying a lot of wet knots. 


Do young people run your diocese?

Young qualified Catholics don’t need to earn their stripes before taking on church leadership roles.

By Nicole Perone | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Your Faith

Most people don’t dream of working for the institutional church; it’s not high on the list for childhood career days or suggestions of what to be when one grows up. But I’m not most people.


The communion conundrum for Catholics with celiac disease

Catholics with celiac disease struggle for inclusion in the church's one body.

By Jean P. Kelly | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Your Faith

My three teenage daughters and I sat on jackets on the sidewalk. We were part of a much larger human jigsaw puzzle, one that morphed every few minutes from sitting to standing to kneeling on the sandpapery concrete in front of a Subway in downtown Philadelphia. 

We couldn’t see the altar except on the jumbotron, but no one hesitated saying the response: “Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” 


Not another youth center: A parish devotes resources to the senior community

The Cathedral of St. Peter used affordable senior housing to meet the needs of the marginalized right on their block.

By Jay Bouchard | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Justice

Sixty-nine-year-old John Eckford is always ready to welcome a guest to his one-bedroom apartment. On the table next to his front door are displayed two small bottles of London dry gin and strawberry daiquiri mix. Eckford describes his home as “a bachelor pad.” It features two white leather couches, a flat screen television, and matching red cookware.


Would you leave your parish because of the priest?

Parishioners and their priest must work together to create a vibrant parish community.

By Rosie McCarty | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Your Faith

When I was growing up, my family belonged to a vibrant, close-knit parish community. It was a parish with a lot of history—my dad grew up there, and many other families had also been members for decades. My siblings and I were baptized there, made our first communions there, and dutifully attended Sunday school there week after week. 


Crying babies have a place in the pew

How can parents pass on the faith if they’re sequestered during Mass?

By Rachel Mans McKenny | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Your Faith

The host is raised upstairs, at least I imagine it is. I’m not in the sanctuary. Instead, I’m in a basement room, where the wires in the ceiling lead to a speaker box in the corner of the room. From that box sounds the blessing of the simple bread and the feast of the body and blood of Christ. The boy sitting at the table below the box holds out his Lego sculpture, and his mother says, “Isaiah, are you showing her your dinosaur?”


For Catholics with special needs, a religious education that includes

The church is a place where all are welcomed and where everyone belongs.

By Jennifer Szweda Jordan | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Your Faith

When Wendy Zimmerman wanted to join her boyfriend, Eddie Knack, for Sunday Mass, it took some doing.

Zimmerman has an intellectual disability that precludes her from driving and living fully independently. So over four weeks, a staff member from Zimmerman’s group home attended church with the couple. Each time the worker explained to Zimmerman where to exit in an emergency and where the restroom is so that Zimmerman would feel safe and comfortable. 

Now Zimmerman and Knack attend Mass on their own. They sit right up front.


How (and how not) to address racism in the church

A pastoral letter from the U.S. bishops won’t solve racism. Becoming an intercultural church might.

By A U.S. Catholic interview | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Justice Your Faith

In 1979 the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a pastoral letter on racism entitled “Brothers and Sisters to Us.” It was significant because it was the strongest statement by the U.S. bishops declaring racism a sin. However, a problematic title to this otherwise dynamic document seemed to perpetuate exactly this racial “us” versus “them” the document itself was trying to alleviate. Just who is “us”? critics asked, pointing out how the title implied that the American church’s membership and leadership was of European descent.


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