Better Know A Parish: St. Paul the Apostle, Westerville, OH
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/
What is official liturgy?
Liturgy often changes to meet the needs of the faithful, says Father Mark Francis. Nowhere is this more evident than during the Christmas season.
For many Catholics, the word liturgy brings to mind processionals with incense and a crucifix, Eucharistic prayers, or the Communion Rite. Vestments, incense, and music may be floating around in our mental pictures as well. But what about other kinds of faith practices? Eucharistic adoration or devotions to patron saints? The blessing of the animals on the feast of St. Francis or the celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe? Are these celebrations also liturgical? Or are they merely popular reflections of our faith based on each parish’s individual nationality and culture?
We need coffee hour now more than ever
Catholics are responsible for building a community within our church. Parish coffee hour is the ideal place to start.
We move around a lot. Academics are sort of like military families in that way. Since our marriage began in 2008, my husband and I have attended six Catholic churches. Six times we have pushed ourselves into a community—often tightly knit—that didn’t always have room for us. Of those six church communities, exactly two of them regularly offered coffee and doughnuts after Mass. I am certain of this number. My son, who judges a church on its willingness to extend him the courtesy of a post-Mass doughnut, is sure of this number.
Pre-Cana needs an upgrade
Marriage prep programs should accommodate couples who don’t fit the traditional ideal.
A few weeks before my husband and I started a Catholic marriage prep program—what most people refer to as Pre-Cana—I started chemotherapy for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. My diagnosis shot us into a galaxy worlds beyond our Pre-Cana homework. While fielding numerous questions from canned worksheets about our future roles as parents (including the year we expected our first child to be born), we’d pore over the latest studies of Stage I Hodgkin’s treatments and fertility. As a result, our Pre-Cana experience was not the most enjoyable one.
Hats in church: A heady issue
Should women wear hats to church or not? Apparently the question still isn't settled in the minds of some Catholics.
When I started doing research for the I wrote in the May 2016 issue of U.S. Catholic, I was surprised to find out that the church never issued an edict on head covering until the 20th century. It wasn’t until 1917 that the very first Code of Canon Law introduced requirements—and even then in the Latin Rite only. Canon 1262 stated that women must wear “chapel veils” or other head coverings.
We're already here
Even in this modern age, the church is slow to acknowledge women’s abundant contributions to parish life.
On January 21st of this year, the Vatican announced a change to the Roman Missal, per the request of Pope Francis, that women would no longer officially be excluded from the foot washing ritual during Holy Thursday Mass.
A great many Catholics (myself included) responded, “Huh?”
I had no idea women weren’t invited.
Urban renewal was meant to usher in new, modern cities. But what were once vibrant Catholic communities are now parking lots and office parks.
In 1950s New Haven, Connecticut, the streets of the Oak Street neighborhood are filled with the fragrant smell of tomato sauce. Church bells ring, calling parishioners to Mass. The streets are lined with dozens of small grocery stores, drug stores, and cafés. It’s a working-class, dynamic community, and it feels like home.
Today, it’s impossible to find that scene in Oak Street. Instead, the neighborhood is home to parking lots, empty streets, and office buildings.
Stop celebrating the sacrament of departure
How can we change our approach to confirmation so that teens stop seeing the sacrament as a “graduation” from faith?
There’s an old joke about two pastors discussing the problem of bats in the attic of their respective churches. “I’ve tried everything,” Father Brown complains to Father Smith. “Exterminators, electric wires, traps, poison—everything—but I just can’t seem to get rid of them.” Father Smith smiles and says, “Don’t worry. I have found the perfect solution. I had the bishop come to confirm the bats . . . and they never returned!”
The exodus hits home
Is our Catholic parish structure inadequate for supporting the needs of adult Christians?
Recently, my sister celebrated her “re-baptism” as a member of the American Baptist church. Like me and her other siblings, she was baptized and confirmed Catholic, graduated from a Catholic grade school, and attended Catholic high school religious education. As an adult, she was a very active member of her parish. Over the years, she was involved in youth ministry, retreat leadership, and liturgy planning. She also belonged to a women’s spirituality circle, meeting regularly with other middle-aged adults seeking to grow in their understanding of faith and commitment to discipleship.
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