US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Upon this empty lot: Building a church

By Judith Dupré | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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Parishes building new churches struggle to find the right marriage of bricks and mortar to house the body of Christ.

On the last Sunday of every month, Father John Jamnicky gets on a scale. Within moments his weight loss is posted on a big chart in the fellowship room of his church. “At 65, I have probably lost and gained more weight than the whole parish combined!” says Jamnicky, laughing.


New homes for old church treasures

By Judith Dupré | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article
When building a new church, parishes can look to former churches for resources.

Pastoral juvenil in action: When young Latinos take the lead

By Agustin Gurza | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Your Faith
When young Latinos take the lead, church is anything but boring.

The venue for the live music concert is just across the river from downtown Los Angeles, but it is far from glamorous. Organized by a new youth and young adult ministry group, the Saturday afternoon event is scheduled in a dimly lit cafeteria of Dolores Mission Catholic Church in the gritty immigrant neighborhood of Boyle Heights.


When I was a stranger

By Heather Grennan Gary | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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Editors' note: Sounding Board is one person’s take on a many-sided subject and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of U.S. Catholic, its editors, or the Claretians.

. . . you sent me a box of envelopes. Surely we need to warm up the welcome at our parishes, lest we become St. Mary of the Cold Shoulder.

One place we can and should be reminded of what true hospitality is—and given a chance to practice it—is in our parish.

I learned this lesson the hard way when my husband and I moved with our young family to a new town several years back.


Follow the laity: Zeni Fox on the future of lay ministry

By A U.S. Catholic interview | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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Lay ministry is here to stay, says this theologian. But there are growing pains still to come.

When faced with the question “Who are the laity?” in the mid-19th century, John Henry Newman quipped, “Well, the church would look very foolish without them.”

Theologian and expert on lay ministry Zeni Fox describes laypeople as “the disciples of Jesus who share responsibility for the mission of the church.” Indeed, without the laity, who comprise more than 99 percent of the church, the church wouldn’t just look foolish, but its mission could not be realized.


Blast from the past? Lay ministry in the Catholic tradition

By A U.S. Catholic interview | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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Zeni Fox says that calling lay Catholics to ministry has its roots in the early church.

Where in the tradition do we find lay ministry?

According to the New Testament there were various people—in addition to the Twelve—who exercised leadership in the early church. Paul mentions more than a hundred people by name associated with him and his ministry. But it gets fuzzy because the priesthood as we understand it now is not in the New Testament. The only place it is mentioned is Hebrews, and it’s Christ who’s the high priest.


Words of wisdom: Survival tips for working in the church

By Heidi Schlumpf | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Your Faith

Find or be a mentor. Ministry associations are great, but informal groups work, too. “I’ve really found a lot of support in the older women who have paved the way for me,” says Tracy Rodenborn, a high school campus minister in Austin, Texas. Meanwhile, newbies can add an infusion of energy and idealism.


Femme fidele: How women who work for the church keep the faith

By Heidi Schlumpf | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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How women who work for the church keep the faith

It’s lunchtime at St. Clement Parish in Chicago, and although some of the city’s best restaurants are within walking distance, most of the staff members instead opt for microwaved leftovers and conversation with colleagues around the conference table. The building engineer and associate pastor stop by for a quick bite, but otherwise this makeshift lunchroom is Estrogen Central.

A large parish of 4,000 mostly middle- and upper-class families, St. Clement boasts 12 full-time, well-educated lay employees. Only two are men.


Survivor Stories: Seven lessons from the sex abuse crisis

By Diane Knight | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Your Faith
For more than a decade, stories in the media have highlighted the problem of clergy sexual abuse of minors.

Much of the recent focus has been on Europe, though there have also been some particularly horrific new stories in this country, such as the one of Father Lawrence Murphy and his abuse of as many as 200 deaf boys in the residential school he ran in Wisconsin.

Most of these stories focus on the acts of offending priests and the fact that they were moved from parish to parish, ministry to ministry, continuing to allow them access to vulnerable children and youth.


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